Bucs TE Alan Cross – Photo by: Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers arrived in Kansas City as a touchdown underdog but left with a huge 19-17 victory.
Neck and neck throughout the majority of the game, Tampa Bay got the separation it needed from an unlikely source. Clinging to a 12-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Jameis Winston found rookie tight end Alan Cross for a 3-yard touchdown that proved to be the game winning score.
Cross entered the game with one career reception, a 5-yard gain in Week 5 against Carolina, but made his next catch count in a big way. His first NFL touchdown came with 5:42 remaining and the Tampa Bay defense made the nine-point advantage hold up.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith managed to get the Chiefs into the end zone with a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Albert Wilson, but the 78-yard drive took 12 plays and drained 3:59 off the clock.
About two and a half minutes remained on the clock when Tampa Bay got the ball back and Kansas City still had all three of its timeouts to kill. A three-and-out would have put the Bucs defense in a touch spot, but Winston delivered with one of his biggest plays of the day. Two Doug Martin runs ate up two of Kansas City’s timeouts but weren’t enough to move the chains. Facing third-and-3 from the Tampa Bay 30, Winston connected with receiver Mike Evans for a 14-yard first down at the 2-minute warning.
The Chiefs managed to force a punt but took over from their own 27 with just 8 seconds to play with.
Playing behind a beat-up offensive line for the second straight game, Winston managed to complete 24 of 39 passes for 331 yards, the touchdown to Cross, and threw no interceptions to the league’s best ball-hawking defense.
Evans served again as Winston’s top target, catching six passes for 105 yards, and Cecil Shorts III turned in his best game as a Buc with five receptions for 62 yards.
Martin and the Bucs ground attack found little room to run throughout much of the game, but Tampa Bay managed to grind out 116 yards on 34 rushing attempts. Martin finished with 24 carries for 63 yards, but also added three catches for 42 yards. Rookie Peyton Barber averaged over five yards a touch in limited action, gaining 22 yards on four carries.
The Bucs outgained Kansas City 442-343 and the defense locked down after allowing Smith and the Chiefs to open the game with a 14-play drive that culminated in a 22-yard Carlos Santos field goal.
Things didn’t look great when Tampa Bay squandered a long drive in response with a sack-fumble of Winston deep in Chiefs territory, but that would be the Bucs’ only turnover.
The biggest struggle of the day was maximizing scoring opportunities. Tampa Bay gained nearly 450 yards and converted 11 of 16 third downs but couldn’t punch drives into the end zone. Prior to the fourth-quarter Cross touchdown, the Bucs had to settle for four Roberto Aguayo field goals.
Three of those Aguayo kicks came in the first half and Tampa Bay hit the halftime break trailing 10-9. The rookie kicker would put the Bucs up for good when he drilled a 36-yarder midway through the third quarter.
That lead was in danger of swinging in Kansas City’s favor early in the fourth quarter. Leading 12-10, Smith set up another Chiefs scoring opportunity with a 44-yard connection to tight end Travis Kelce. Smith found a target in the end zone two plays later, but it was Bucs safety Chris Conte. A week after stepping up with a pick-6 against Chicago, Conte took the interception out of the end zone and returned it 53 yards to the Bucs 48. That clutch moment jumpstarted a nine-play, 52-yard drive that included three third-down conversions, with the final one going three yard to Cross in the end zone.
Tampa Bay’s victory evens its record to 5-5 and puts the Bucs a game behind NFC South leading Atlanta. The Falcons are on a bye this week and host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday. The Bucs come back to Raymond James Stadium for another big challenge next Sunday when they host the Seattle Seahawks.
Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who work hard and the best things come to those who don’t give up!
Don’t know who said that but truer words were never spoken.
I believe! Go Bucs! Great Win!
Users who have LIKED this comment:
I’ll just tell people you said it!!!
Yuge win against a superior team in one if the toughest places to play. That’s the statement win Koetter has been looking for.
Fantastic win. Jamie’s played lights out today and I have to give major credit to the line. Our offensive line played great today in pass protection. Not so much in the run game but good overall.
Our secondary played really well as our defensive line got zero pressure on Alex smith. I think his jersey was cleaner after the game than before it.
Big plays all around and mike came through with another big game. Doug still looks rusty and had a couple of bone head plays today.
And how about or much maligned kicker? I know most wanted him kicked off of the team a few weeks ago, but he has been damn good. Especially considering there was 9 missed extra points today in the NFL, that’s crazy.
The defense has come alive recently and it’s very positive. Man everybody deserves praise on this one, great team victory.
Only thing I’m oossed about now is those two blown games against St. Louis and Oakland. We could be 7-3 right now. But koetter has this team going in the right direction that’s for sure.
Very nice win. The ol stepped up today. Both tackles looked a lot better. Aguayo’s kicks were solid, down the middle. Alan Cross gets his first career td. Tough minded plays in the 4th quarter, especially by Winston and Evans. I am pleased with their effort today. I like winning! Let’s get another one next week and rudely put themselves in the playoff picture. Go Bucs!!!
I wish we were playing in Seattle next week. The Seahags would not have a chance. But alas, it’s a home game next week.
Good team win again today. That’s two quality performances in a row by all units for the Bucs. I’m damn proud of the guys today as they fought hard and stood toe to toe with a quality team in their home stadium.
What was special about this game is that nobody can claim that the Chiefs lost it more than the Bucs won it. Both teams battled hard today and for today, they were the better team.
Congrats to every member of the team!
Huge win today in a tough place to play! KC never turns the ball over, they’ve won 5 straight games, 10 in a row at home blah blah blah. Well, wrong, not anymore and see ya! Gerald McCoy’s slight tip was enough to alter the path of the ball right into Conte’s hands for the pick in the end zone. I’m really pleased to see the Bucs right the ship to 5-5 and move to within a game of the division lead. Helps that Arizona lost today too, and would be nice to see the Rams lose to the Dolphins. And looky, looky, with all of the missed PAT’s today, Aguayo was perfect (ok 1 for 1), plus 4 for 4 in field goals. A great team effort and a big big win.
Good win on the road in a place that’s tough to play. The Bucs seemed to be in control from beginning to end. Winston looked great today behind a patchwork O-line that did a great job all day of providing protection and opening up holes. The defense did a great job as well, coming up with crucial INT in the end zone. Evans and the special teams played great as well. Go Bucs!
Does that mean you’re starting to come around to liking our young QB?
No comment until Jan 2018 😉
Heck Pink I could cross the creek by then. The suspense is killing me.
I knew we were going to need a break or two and we got them. Maybe this is the start of something new again in Buc world; that being winners. Go Bucs!
I’m so proud of our Bucs today……Chris Conte, keep making myself and probably everyone else eat humble pie by making huge plays in the secondary!
This is to everyone who regularly posts here:
Lighting strikes Tampa ! Bucs win in Arrowhead where no one wins. Winston finds a way with Evans having another big day. And our Kicker ? 4 count em, field goals. Conte has the play of the game for his 2nd interception in two games.
This win has made me dizzy. We actually get to start talking about playoffs. I mean not to get the buggy in front of the horse but, Wow. We are only game behind Atlanta.
Playoffs! You’re talking about playoffs? PLAYOFFS!?:)
Woohoo!!!! I’ll be ready for Seahawks game. I thought Bucs had good chance for this win.
All Conte Haters are crying. Lol.
Great team win. I’ve bashed Aguayo all year. I’ll give him some credit today. Perfect 2 weeks in a row. Keep it up!
Yep, them haters are weeping. They need to wipe the egg off their faces , and they’ll be eating crow-not turkey- for Thanksgiving.
Great win today. Dirk Kotter should have thrown a challenge flag before the Chiefs touchdown. It was a fumble and would have been Buc ball but otherwise great win
Great piece, Eric! Thanks! Just a correction, KC kicker’s name is Cairo (as the Egypt capital) Santos. Once again, thanks for your time.
Had we executed better in the red zone the game, against a quality team in their house wouldn’t have been nearly as close as the score. Our mighty Bucs totally dominated this game in all phases. Perhaps that Seminole chant inspired Jameis and Roberto to maybe their best game of the season. Chiefs fans were stunned. Good guys won! What a great way to start Thanksgiving week.
I was at the game and kept telling all the fans doing the seminole chant that they were rooting Winston on. Winston was even doing it with the fans at the beginning of the game. Great game to be at. I got 3 more years of bragging rights over all these KC fans.
Way to represent!
Huge win is an understatement! Winning is contagious. We needed a quality win. The team now has played two consecutive complete games, which hopefully will sky rocket their confidence these last 6 games. All I wanted this season was the team to show progress and be competitive against good teams. We have a chance to win some tough games coming up, which is all we can ask for from our team. Some notes:
The OL was fantastic for most of the day. They really stepped up. And what can you say about Caleb? Forced into action again, and facing a dangerous pass rush in a hostile environment. Props to the kid.
The defense held up. They bent, (gave up some big plays) but didn’t break. Outside of 3 drives, they clamped down on the Chiefs offense. The pass rush didn’t materialize, but I give them a bit of a pass because of how fast Alex Smith gets rid of the ball. Huge props to Verner for stepping in and doing just enough to impact the game.
I thought the offense played their best game of the season, despite only scoring 19 points. They completely bossed the Chiefs defense all game. Moved the ball down the field at ease. Yes kicking 3 FG’s inside the RedZone isn’t a recipe for success, but the Chiefs have a good defense & Mike almost came down with a TD. Doug still looked a little rusty, but he came up huge in pass pro and extending runs. We’re such a different team with him on the field. Getting Rodgers & Sims back will only help. Props to Mike Evans for putting all the hate and negativity thrown at him this week behind him & playing his ass off. He was so clutch for us today. Hump, Brate, Shep, Cecil played well. Did their jobs. You can see the difference in our passing attack with Shep back, paired with a more focus Cecil.
Dirk and Jameis can be a special combination. Dirk has really evolved his play calling since the Denver game. He dialed back his offense to match the available personnel and give Jameis the best chance to lead us to victory. With the offense finally getting healthy, Dirk can finally call the game he wants to call, similar to the Atlanta game. One gripe, can we please pass on first down?!
Great win; 4-1 on the road 1-4 at home. Let’s get another home win!! I like the way the other receivers are stepping up with VJax down.
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