Though the Bucs were without their star receiver and playing a quarterback who was less than 100 percent, Tampa Bay’s offense caught fire early in the cold of Detroit to tame the Lions by a score of 38-17.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished last week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts strong, coming back from being down 14 points in the second half to capture the home victory 38-35. Much of that could be attributed to the second half heroics of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who toughed it out playing with a fracture in his throwing hand. Winston was cleared to play and started against the Detroit Lions, but on his first series, he made an all too familiar mistake by throwing an interception.
Thankfully for the Buccaneers, that turnover did not yield any points, as the the Bucs defense held the Lions to negative three yards and a three-and-out on their first series. As he often does, Winston bounced back from the turnover drive with a nearly flawless second series, completing five straight passes, the final one being a 34-yard score to wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
When the Bucs defense took the field for the second time in the game, they didn’t hold the Lions to a three-and-out, but they did hold them to just four plays before forcing yet another punt. On the next series, Winston continued his hot streak, completing all but one pass on a 5-play drive that included a big 51-yard connection to wide receiver Chris Godwin and was capped off with a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Scotty Miller. That touchdown was Miller’s first of his career, and brought the score to 14-0.
The Lions defense was once again only able to call three offensive plays before being forced to punt. It was on this drive that Bucs pass rusher Shaq Barrett recorded sack number 16.5, which tied the franchise record. The Bucs didn’t have the same kind of success they were used to on their next drive, as they were forced to punt the ball after just five plays. But when the Lions got the ball back, it was the same old story and another three-and-out.
The Bucs offense was able to get into a more controlled rhythm on their next drive. Winston was able to spread the ball around quite a bit through the air, as he would end this game having completed passes to 11 different players. At the end of the drive, it was Perriman in the end zone yet again for his second score of the game bringing the Bucs lead to 21-0. Finally the Lions were able to get something going on offense in response, as they were able to get the ball into field goal range before the half, breaking their scoreless streak and making the score 21-3 at the half.
The Lions started the second half with the ball, but their first drive fate was the same as the Bucs’ was in the first half, as Detroit quarterback David Blough threw and interception to Tampa Bay safety Andrew Adams. In response, the Bucs were able to drive 39 yards in five plays to get into field goal range and make the score 24-3.
With the game getting out of hand, the Lions offense was finally able to settle down and move the ball consistently throughout a drive. Back-to-back passes to wide receiver Danny Amendola got things going, and that sparked a drive that brought the Lions all the way to the 1-yard line where they were able to punch it in and bring the score to 24-10.
After an eight-play drive, the Bucs were forced to punt again, and gave the ball back to a red-hot, in-rhythm Lions offense. That Detroit offense indeed picked up where it left off, driving the ball 97 yards in seven plays, including a 48-yard pass to Amendola, which once again brought them to the goal line yielding another 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 24-17.
When the Bucs took over, needing something to get the offense going again, running back Peyton Barber set the tone with a flattening block and a crushing truck on a defender. The drive was able to get into field goal range, but the long 54-yard Matt Gay field goal went right off the left upright to keep the score at 24-17.
With momentum on the side, the Lions took over with their best field position of the day. A quick pass and a long run got the Lions into Buccaneer territory. Blough had been able to connect with Amendola all game long, and as he went for him again, rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting undercut the route and took it back for a pick-6 bringing the score to 31-17 in favor of the Buccaneers.
On the Lions next series, they were held to just 21 yards before turning it over on downs. The Bucs took over with a two touchdown lead and four minutes to go in the game. Turns out they didn’t even need the four minutes to put this one away, as Winston hooked up with Perriman in the end zone for the third time bringing the score to 38-17.
And that’s how this game would end.