EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants quarterback Eli Manning made up for three first-half interceptions that put his team down by 11 by throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and guiding New York to a game-winning score with 31 seconds left in a 41-34 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium.
Manning finished the game with 510 passing yards -- the franchise's second best single game performance behind Phil Simms' mark of 513 set on Oct. 13, 1985 -- and three touchdowns.
"He hung in there," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin of Manning. "He made a couple bad plays, yet didn't get discouraged. He kept hanging in and believing and looking for his spots and he got a few and took full advantage of it."
The Giants, who settled for two first-half field goals by Lawrence Tynes, managed to score a touchdown in the second quarter when Manning found receiver Hakeem Nicks for a 23-yard reception over the middle.
The Bucs continued to add to its 24-13 halftime lead in the third quarter when kickoff returner Arrelious Benn took the opening second-half kickoff 55 yards to the Giants' 47. Five plays and 14 yards later, kicker Connor Barth, who initially got his team on the board with a 45-yarder to tie the score early in the first quarter, hit a 52-yarder to make it 27-13.
Manning almost gift-wrapped another interception for the Bucs in the third quarter when he tried to hit receiver Victor Cruz on a third-down conversion. However, Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber was unable to hang onto the ball, and the Giants settled for another field goal, this one from 36 yards, to make it 27-16.
"I was making mistakes and bad throws," Manning said. "It was just that simple. But the guys pulled me out of it."
The Giants appeared to get a break at the end of the third quarter when cornerback Corey Webster picked off quarterback Josh Freeman's pass for receiver Sammie Stroughter. The turnover gave New York the ball at the Tampa Bay 36.
"I went through my reads and tried to find someone and get it out," said Freeman of the interception. "The appropriate thing in that situation would have been to take a sack."
However, the Giants failed to convert on the turnover as a potential touchdown pass to tight end Martellus Bennett, who would later be on the receiving end of the score that helped tie the game in the fourth quarter, fell incomplete as the Giants settled for a 24-yard field goal after failing to advance the ball past the Bucs' five-yard-line.
Manning, who last year was the king of the fourth-quarter comebacks, put his team ahead with the two touchdown receptions as the fourth quarter wound down.
"It was fun being in that situation out there in the second half," Manning said. "You don't like to get in that position, being behind and me throwing interceptions, but that we were able to get back."
After Freeman and the Bucs took the lead on a 41-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams to tie the game, running back Andre Brown, who had 90 yards from scrimmage in place of the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, gave the Giants the lead for good on a two-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left in the game, completing the comeback.
"That's the thing -- you have that hunger building inside you," said center David Baas. "People might not believe in you but we believe in each other. No matter what the circumstance, we weren't out of the fight. That's good seeing that from our team.
The Giants won't have time to reflect on their first win of the season before hitting the road this coming week for a Thursday night prime time matchup against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants and Panthers have split six regular-season games with each team winning three times.
"There's plenty of stuff to correct and we'll work to get that corrected, but it's a lot better correcting it with a win," said Coughlin.
Notes: Right tackle David Diehl suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and didn't return. He was replaced by Sean Locklear, who moved over from the left side. Will Beatty, who had been the team's blocking tight end, stepped in for Locklear at left tackle. ... Receiver/punt returner Domenik Hixon suffered a concussion after having his helmet ripped off on a first-quarter 12-yard reception, and did not return. ... Running back Ahmad Bradshaw went into the locker room during the second quarter to have an X-ray on his neck and did not return.