The entire weekend in Baltimore it had been rainy and cold — but not cold enough to snow. That proved to be a factor on Sunday, as the rain continued throughout the game.
The Buccaneers lost the toss, but the Ravens deferred to the second half, so Tampa Bay started the game on offense anyways. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winton got off to a promising start, but when a pass over the middle to wide receiver Chris Godwin went through his hands, one that he could have take all the way for a touchdown, the Bucs were forced to punt.
The Ravens, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson did have much luck on their first drive either, The Bucs defense stepped up big time on two run play and were able to force the Ravens into a three-and-out to start their day.
But those two punts were just the beginning of the early offensive struggles between the two teams. The Bucs would go on to punt two more times and the Ravens would punt once in between. On the Ravens ensuing drive, however, Jackson fumbled a snap and Bucs linebacker Lavonte David recovered it. That was the first big swing of the game.
The Bucs were able to get some points in the best way off their turnover, taking their next drive 51 yards in eight plays for the first touchdown of the day, a run up the middle by running back Peyton Barber. But during the PAT, the wet ball went right through the hands of holder Bryan Anger and the PAT never got off. Bucs led 6-0.
After watching the Bucs march down their field and into their end zone, the Ravens offense woke up. With a well controlled and well orchestrated drive, the Ravens took over eight minutes off the clock while driving 73 yards in 16 plays to score their first touchdown. Ravens took their first lead of the game 7-6.
With just two minutes left in the half, the Bucs and Ravens would trade field goals before the clock hit zero for a halftime score of 10-9, Baltimore on top.
The Ravens got the ball to start the second half and imposed their will. On a 10-play, 62-yard drive, Jackson and the Ravens running game would not be denied all the way down the field for a touchdown to make the score 17-9. On that drive, Jackson went over 100 yards on the game, a number he would increase as the game went on.
On the Bucs next drive, the went just five yards before punting. However, as they were fielding the punt, Ravens returning Cyrus Jones touched the ball and was not able to handle it. It was recovered by the Buccaneers. The Bucs weren’t able to get six points out of it, but they did get three, as a Santos field goal went straight through the uprights for a score of 17-12, Baltimore up.
Following the Bucs field goal, the Ravens once again took complete control of the momentum of the game with a long 7-minute, 15-play, 38-yard drive that ended in a field goal. The Ravens extended their lead to 20-12, but the real victory was the clock they were able to burn.
On the very next play on offense the Buccaneers threw an interception. Winston tried to hit Evans near the sideline and cornerback Marlon Humphrey was able to take it away. The Ravens offense couldn’t get anything going off the turnover, however, and they were forced to punt it back with no change to the scoreboard.
On the Bucs next drive, they did some good things, but not enough good things. They took the ball to midfield with ease, but once they got into Ravens territory their drive came to a screeching halt. On 3rd-and-1, the Bucs tried to run up the middle with Peyton Barber but were tackles for a loss. On 4th-and-1, the decided to go for it, but Winston’s pass couldn’t connect with Godwin through some tight coverage.
On the Ravens’ next drive, their main goal was to kill the clock. With just over seven minutes left in the game, the Ravens started from their own 43-yard line and ran the ball at will down into Buccaneer territory. After a huge 26-yard gain by running back Gus Edwards, the time on the clock was then their and they were able to run it all the way down for a final score of 2012.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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