WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 27-6 WIN vs. BUFFALOTampa Bay bounced back from a 27-6 loss in Carolina with a 27-6 victory over Buffalo on Sunday, improving the team’s record to 4-9 on the season thanks to an outstanding effort from the Bucs defense led by linebacker Lavonte David. The second-year defender had the best game of his career with a team-leading nine tackles, a career-high two interceptions, two pass breakups, two tackles for loss and a sack.
“I think he is playing as well as any linebacker in the league, I really do,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “He does everything: tackle, [defend the] pass, blitz. There’s nothing that guy can’t do. He’s a really fine football player and, as I’ve said before, just even a better person. You can’t ask for a better work ethic, everything about the guy. He’s special.”
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon struggled against Buffalo, throwing two interceptions for just the second time in his career. But he did enough to win the game, completing just 9-of-25 passes for 90 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown to wide receiver Vincent Jackson to help the Bucs build a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Jackson led the way, overcoming a hamstring injury to catch three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown and drawing a big, 29-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
Glennon had help from a strong Tampa Bay running game led by Bobby Rainey, who ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game to give the Bucs an early 7-0 lead. That run was the longest in franchise history and allowed Rainey to finish with 127 yards on 22 carries (5.8 avg.) as Tampa Bay ran for 165 yards as a team.
“I think it set the tone immediately to have that big run to get up 7-0 and with only 18 seconds into the game, it immediately set the tone,” Glennon said. “Then our defense started forcing all those turnovers, and like I said, offensively we need to score more touchdowns in the red zone. But with the way our defense is playing, we just really had to take care of the football and not let them get back into the game.”
Despite the 21-point win, the Bucs left an awful lot of points on the field and blew several scoring opportunities. Both of Glennon’s interceptions came inside the red zone, and a third quarter touchdown pass to Jackson was overturned by instant replay and the Bucs had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, who made both of his field goal attempts against his former team.
“I think we’re playing really good football right now, and kind of it all starts with our defense with how many turnovers they’re forcing,” Glennon said. “Whenever they force that many turnovers and are playing that well, its puts the offense in great field position. Really, in this one, with how our defense was playing we did what we needed to do as an offense, but they took care of the rest. We’re playing really well right now but we still have three games left that we want to finish strong, but it’s nice to see that in the second half of the season we are 4-1.”
Despite Glennon’s struggles, he fared better than his rookie counterpart, Buffalo’s E.J. Manuel. Tampa Bay’s defense harassed and hurried the rookie quarterback all day, sacking him seven times, which is a season-high.
The Bucs recorded 27 sacks last season and now have 34 sacks on the season with three games remaining. Manuel was intercepted four times – two by David and once by linebacker Mason Foster and cornerback Johnthan Banks. David leads the team with five picks and kept stating his case for the Pro Bowl by recording a sack, which is his sixth of the season.
“To take it away as many times as we did, on special teams [with a fumble recovery by Dashon Goldson] and on defense, four times on defense, and then the sacks, to get after the quarterback, a mobile guy like him, that was important,” Schiano said.
Rookie defensive lineman William Gholston had a career-high 1.5 sacks to lead the way for the Bucs. He split a sack with defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Cornerback Darrelle Revis, safety Mark Barron and defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Derek Landri also had sacks. McCoy has a career-high seven to lead the team.
The Bucs defense carried the day for Tampa Bay as the offense generated just 246 yards, yet out-gained the Bills, who had only 214 yards. Manuel completed 18-of-33 passes for 184 yards with four interceptions and a QB rating of 31.2.
The win is Tampa Bay’s fourth in the last five games and goes a long way to help Schiano’s job security, which was tenuous to say the least after the Bucs started the season 0-8. At the very least, Tampa Bay will finish 4-4 down the stretch if the team doesn’t win another game. If the Bucs can create some momentum from Sunday’s win over the Bills and win out, Tampa Bay will match last year’s record of 7-9.
HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. BILLS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Bills 0Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the second play of the game to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead.
First Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Bills 3On first down, E.J. Manuel’s pass to Stevie Johnson picked up 10 yards and 15 more were tacked on after an unnecessary roughness penalty on linebacker Mason Foster and cornerback Darrelle Revis. That advanced the ball to the Tampa Bay 33. After a 15-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler, Manuel was sacked by Lavonte David for a 10-yard loss on second down. After the drive stalled on third down, Dan Carpenter’s 40-yard field goal cut into Tampa Bay’s lead.
First Quarter – Buccaneers 14, Bills 3On third-and-7 at the Tampa Bay 44, Mike Glennon hit Vincent Jackson with a gain of 22 down to the Buffalo 34-yard line. After a 10-yard holding penalty on third down, pushed the down and distance to third-and-14, Glennon hit Jackson with a 38-yard touchdown pass to give Tampa Bay a 14-3 lead in the first quarter.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 17, Bills 3An 18-yard interception return by cornerback Johnthan Banks set Tampa Bay up at the Buffalo 41-yard line. After picking up six yards on three plays, the Bucs had to settle for a field goal, and Rian Lindell drilled a 53-yarder against his former team to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 17-3.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 24, Bills 3The Bucs benefited from two Bills penalties on third down, including a roughing the passer penalty on third-and-15 from the Buffalo 40. That advanced the ball to the Bills’ 25. On third-and-6, Glennon hit tight end Tim Wright with a 16-yard gain down to the 5-yard line. Two plays later Glennon hit Wright with 5-yard touchdown pass to give Tampa Bay a 24-3 lead at the half.
Third Quarter – Buccaneers 24, Bills 6Buffalo scored first in the second half due to a 10-yard scramble by Manuel and a pass to Stevie Johnson for 33 yards down to the Tampa Bay 28. But Manuel was sacked for nine yards by Will Gholston on third-and-6 and that set up a 46-yard field goal by Carpenter to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 24-6.
Third Quarter – Buccaneers 27, Bills 6Linebacker Lavonte David intercepted Manuel and returned the ball 32 yards to the Buffalo 12-yard line. On third-and-12 from the 14-yard, Glennon hit Jackson with a touchdown, but the officials overturned the call and the Bucs had to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Lindell.
WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey’s 80-yard touchdown run against Buffalo was the longest in team history. Rainey’s TD was the fastest score in Tampa Bay history, coming just 18 seconds into the start of the game. … Vincent Jackson had three catches for 70 yards and now has 64 catches for 1,033 yards on the season and six touchdowns. Jackson becomes the first receiver since Joey Galloway (2005-07) to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in Tampa Bay. … Tampa Bay strong safety Mark Barron recorded his second sack of the season in the first quarter, dropping Manuel for a 1-yard loss. He now has two sacks on the season. … Bucs defensive ends William Gholston and Da’Quan Bowers split a first quarter sack in the first quarter. Gholston had another sack to finish with a career-high 1.5 on the day. … Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis recorded his first sack as a Buccaneer on Sunday. … Bucs linebacker Mason Foster recorded his third interception of the season, picking off Manuel in the third quarter. … Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David recorded his fourth and fifth interception of the season to lead the Buccaneers. … Rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks picked off his third pass of the season against the Bills. … The Bucs lead the league in interceptions with 21 this season. … Tampa Bay tight end Tim Wright had two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown, his third of his NFL career, on Sunday. Wright is tied for the franchise record of three tight ends by a rookie tight end.
WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?The following Bucs were inactive against the Bills: FB/RB Lonnie Pryor, SS Bradley McDougald, G Patrick Omameh, G Carl Nicks, LB Danny Lansanah and CB Deveron Carr.
The following Bills were inactive against the Bucs: QB Jeff Tuel, FB Frank Summers, DB Brandon Smith, G Mark Asper, G Antoine McClain, TE Tony Moeaki and LB Jamaal Westerman.
WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?• Bucs weakside linebacker Lavonte David injured his back on his fumble return for a touchdown in the third quarter and was replaced by Adam Hayward for one series before returning.
• Tampa Bay center Jeremy Zuttah injured his right shoulder in the third quarter and was replaced by Ted Larsen.
• Bucs reserve defensive lineman William Gholston was shaken up in the fourth quarter.
WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?• Tampa Bay linebacker Dekoda Watson missed blocking a punt in the first quarter and was flagged for roughing punter Brian Moorman.
• Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon threw two interceptions in the first half. On the first one, he underthrew Vincent Jackson and was picked off by cornerback Stephon Gilmore. On the second one, his receiver slipped down and he was intercepted by safety Jarius Byrd.
• Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn jumped offside on a Buffalo field goal attempt in the third quarter.
• Referee Bill Vinovich blowing the instant replay call and overturning Vincent Jackson’s touchdown catch in the third quarter.
WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay (4-9) stays at Raymond James Stadium to play the San Francisco 49ers (8-4) on December 15 for the Bucs’ home finale. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET and the game will be televised locally.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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