In what was considered a “swing game” for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their season continued to swing in the wrong direction as they fell on the road for the second week in a row, this time to the Buffalo Bills by a score of 30-27.

The talk throughout the week leading up to this game was how the Buccaneers were going to get the offense going earlier rather than rely on the late-game heroics to either get it done or ultimately come up short. On their first drive against Buffalo, quarterback Jameis Winston led an 11-play, 43-yard drive which ended in a field goal – point are good.

It was a heavy dose of wide receiver Mike Evans and tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard which got the Buccaneers into field goal range, and new kicker Patrick Murray nailed it from 50 yards out. That first drive was a good sign all around.

Flipping sides, Buffalo engineered an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive of their own, in response. Early in the game it was the feet of Tyrod Taylor that gave the Bucs fits. At one point in the game he had 50 rushing yards on just four carries. Linebacker Kwon Alexander was back this week for the Buccaneers and he was spying Taylor early, but struggled.

The Bucs defense switched things up this week in their coverage. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves was moved from the outside cornerback slot where he had been starting to the nickel corner spot. Robert McClain replaced him on the outside. Hargreaves, who has been heavily criticized for how off he plays in coverage, was also playing press coverage from that nickel spot and did not allow a catch against him in the first half, despite four targets his way.

The Bucs responded with a long drive of their own after holding the Bills to just a field goal. With the game now tied 3-3, the Bucs drove down the field all the way to the inside the Bills 10-yard line. After a fumble at the snap (recovered by the Bucs) and a missed throw, a great play by Buffalo’s Jordan Poyer stopped the Bucs from scoring on a pass from Winston to Brate. Another Murray field goal made it 6-3.

The Bills responded on their next drive by getting it into the end zone. It was a methodical 12-play, 78-yard drive that got all the way down to the Bucs 1-yard line. The drive was capped off with a LeSean McCoy rushing touchdown (his first of the year) which gave the Bills a 10-6 lead.

That’s how the lead stayed for the next few series. The Buccaneers fumbled on their next drive. The Bills recovered but missed a field goal, and the first two punt of the game, one by each team, were the consecutive drives after that. After an interception against the Buccaneers and some poor clock management by the Bills, 10-6 is how the game went to the half.

The Bills wasted no time getting on the scoreboard to start the second half by capping off an 8-play, 75-yard drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to tight end Logan Thomas. That touchdown was the first touchdown the Bills had scored from outside the red zone all season.

Rather than let the game get out of hands, as they have done too many times already this season, the Bucs responded with a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that included big plays from Mike Evans, Doug Martin, and then the wide open touchdown by O.J. Howard.

With the score 17-13, Bills, the two teams would exchange punts on the next few drives. On the Bills next drive, however, the got points in the form of a field goal to make it a 20-13 lead.

The Buccaneers offense woke up in a big way after that and drove down the field 75 yards in seven plays, including a big 33-yard touchdown pass to Howard to tie the game up at 20-20. The defense fed off the offense’s new life and forced a fumble on the next Bills drive, which then led to a Buccaneers touchdown as the clock was winding down in the fourth quarter to take a 27-20 lead.

The Bills aren’t known for giving up many points, and after giving up 27, they responded perfectly with a lighting-fast 3-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended in a McCoy rushing touchdown. The play that got them into business was a big 44-yard toss to Bills wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who was signed this week and had a big day against Tampa Bay.

That set up what most people thought would be a possible game-winning drive for the Buccaneers, but on the first play of that drive, wide receiver Adam Humphries fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Bills. Thanks to some missed tackles and poor discipline, the Bills bled the clock down all the way to less than 30 seconds before Buffalo kicked what would be the game-winning field goal.

A final score of 30-27, Bills with the win.

Jameis Winston finished the game 32-for-44 with 382 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Doug Martin led the Bucs and carries, and got 20 carries for the first time this season, but only had 49 yards to show for it. Tight end O.J. Howard led the Bucs in receiving yards with 98 on six catches with two touchdowns. Mike Evans was next with 86 yards on seven catches for a touchdown. DeSean Jackson had 73 yards on five catches and Cameron Brate had 60 yards on six catches.

On the defense, Lavonte David led all Buccaneers with 14 tackles. Kwon Alexander was next with nine, and Robert McClain, who got his first start at outside corner, was next with eight.

Kicker Patrick Murray was 2-for-2 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

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: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Ken Grant
3 years ago

I can’t even…

Ken Grant
3 years ago

Mike Smith’s obsession with Robert McClain is costing this team football games. I really don’t understand why he continues to start.

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  Ken Grant
3 years ago

He had a pretty good game even with that unfortunate penalty better than any of our other corners by far. Keep in mind that wasn’t his man to cover on that play and I thing he did try to lead with his shoulder. VH3 on the otherhand didn’t do much of anything as usual.

jshumaker
3 years ago

I don’t think the Bucs played bad. The Bills are a good team. Oh well. Season isn’t over yet but not looking good

Rob
Rob
3 years ago

The players on this defense, I mean, no fight, no pressure. 30 points by the bills, the freaking bills?

Rut
Rut
3 years ago

Fire Mike Smith

BucWill13
Reply to  Rut
3 years ago

Ya, because these players were so good with the other DCs we have had……

Fact is most these players have SUCKED through 3 DCs, some 4. Individual Talent is Worthless. Keep Alexander and get rid of everyone, though to be fair to Grimes its ONLY because his age.

Rob
Rob
3 years ago

We just find ways to lose games

Honey Bear
3 years ago

Jason Licht has done a few good things. no doubt. But his failures to improve the trenches is crushing us. Jameis sack-fumbled because Licht’s pick of Donovan Smith whiffed badly. We have absolutely no holes opening in the running game. Our defensive line might as well not even be out there it is so pathetic. Oh, and 1st round pick VH3 is playing like a 7th round pick. A couple good picks does not make up for all of these deficiencies. And then we have Mr. Koetter and Mr. Smith who cannot coach this team any worse. These players play… Read more »

Ken Grant
Reply to  Honey Bear
3 years ago

You are a colossal moron.

Honey Bear
Reply to  Ken Grant
3 years ago

Name-calling: helping trolls compete in online arguments since 1989.

Dman
3 years ago

D line is a joke. Tired of hype over Spence – he’s a 3-4 LB, not 4-3 DE. Ayers is old and done. McCoy is all talk and now he’s getting old. Great players make great plays in crunch time. We’re up 7 and the Bills tie the game in less than a minute. Trade McCoy and Spence, get additional draft picks and overhaul line. To all those McCoy apologists tell me why we pay this guy when he doesn’t win games. Do what the Patriots do – get what you can for him now. Find a 3-4 D team… Read more »

4girls
Reply to  Dman
3 years ago

Just wanting a trade does not mean you get one. Someone else has to want what we have and be willing to trade something we want in return. A bunch of late round picks won’t help much, if at all.

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  Dman
3 years ago

McCoy is only a top 5 DT, what would you replace with? He’s doing his job just fine. His job isn’t to win us games his job is to make sure he’s doubled team every play which is pretty much what happens and he still get through.

Dman
Reply to  Jlog
3 years ago

McCoy will be 30 next season. In all his time here can’t remember a single game he made a game winning play in the 4th qtr. We have the oldest D line in the league. McCoy will be worth something to someone. As will Spence. Load up on draft picks and retool the line, CB, RB. Up 7 with 3 minutes after a tremendous comeback by the offense, Bills score in less than a minute. Got blown out by the Cards last week. What more do you need to see.

cgmaster27
3 years ago

What a wasted effort by our defense. A team that has 7 total tds gives up three in one game?! Pathetic on all fronts. I’m in aggreeance with above. This offseason , trade McCoy and see what you can get, this whole line needs an overhaul. My god the bills scored 30+ points! And to our resident “experts” bucnut and mike seven, what are you going to complain about this week. You want d a game Jameis would’ve won for us? Wel this was it. He was lighting up the best scoring defense in the nfl. For koetters part, I… Read more »

sunshineben
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

why don’t we meet at the game and make a gentleman’s bet as to who is on top at end of year ???Good game by Winston but he has under performed…I like the water but i don’t live under a bridge and i bet a season tkt holder longer the you,:))

cgmaster27
Reply to  sunshineben
3 years ago

Why would I care if you’re a season ticket holder? Does that mean you like the team more than me? No it doesn’t , I’m just stating facts and if I have to hear about mariota from you every week Jameis isn’t great. You’re going to hear from me when he is.
And why would I have to meet you to make a bet? Look at the stats , they don’t lie. Mariota is mediocre at best, no matter how you want to dress it up.

Buc-Up
3 years ago

Our front can’t front four can’t consistently rush the quarterback or stop the run! They made Tyrod Taylor look like Michael Vick out there with the way they letvhim run around. Too many missed tackles by the entire defense. Whenever Smith dials up a blitz, it ends up a ring busy as the blitzers get blocked! What the hell is Smith’s scheme because teams kill us with the run, short passes, medium passes, and deep passes!

seat26
3 years ago

Painful game to listen to.( my only recourse 12 K miles away.) Winston showed a lot. The entire Offense for that matter. But I agree with Dman. McCoy is looking like his best years are behind him. Spence’s injury must still be a factor and yes he is a tweener. Too small to play DE, a little too slow to play LBer. The time to trade McCoy was this last draft, when we could have got something. The kind of year he is having, we would be lucky to get a 2nd rounder next year. And I keep thinking of… Read more »

surferdudes
3 years ago

The Cardinals put up 31 quick easy points on us last week, today they were shut out. Peterson had 21 yds rushing for the day, he had that on his first carry against us. We are a bad football team with many holes to fill. Licht ignored our lack of pass rush last year hoping on better play from unproven, Spence, and Jac Smith who was cut. Robert Ayers is shot, along with McCoy neither have gotten any younger, or better. These are the kind of things that get regimes fired. I was tempted to call the Gruden hotline during… Read more »

pinkstob
3 years ago

So who do we fire/cut/trade? I would say Mike Smith but you know Koetter won’t do that. The way this season is going I don’t care who they get rid of. Even with the offense looking good on paper this week at the end of the game it was after 3 Bills DB’s went down with injury. The Bucs had all their horses this week so there are no excuses this week and the kicking was good. This is just who the Bucs are.

Garv
3 years ago

I’m livid. We all thought the Glazers signing Mike smith was a good thing. I did. We all bought in. Well, his “defense” is a freaking DISASTER! That “defense” just blew the game AND the season by pissing away any hope of making the playoffs. They folded like a cheap tent with the game on the line after Mike Evans made that great catch to take the lead.

Damn it, that was GARBAGE! Three straight losses and yet another season over January 1.

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  Garv
3 years ago

Speak for yourself, Smith was a terrible pick for DC and I thought that from day one. There is a reason he was quickly phased out of Atlanta and fired. Koetter need to go as well.

Rob
Rob
3 years ago

I think Jason licht time has come. These are the players he picked and signed

Crook
3 years ago

There is no doubt Gerald McCoy is an amazing player..but he and Lavonte have been the two holdovers during this horrendous stretch of defensive play year after year. McCoy needs to go. Not b/c he can’t play. He needs to go b/c this defense needs a complete change of culture and it starts with him. He’s been the leader of this defense for 7 years and this defense has been bad for 7 years.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
3 years ago

A very frustrating day. Everyone complained about the offense last week (rightfully so) and I think Dirk had a nice bounce back game. Bills have a really good defense. We took them apart in the air. Even with lack of run game, Dirk didn’t abandon it. Got 2 TD’s off PA because of it. So it was positive to see him mix up his calls and use some creativity in the RZ. *side note* D Smith is still a problem 38 games into his career. The defense was absolutely pathetic. Yet again they folded when we absolutely needed them to… Read more »

Naplesfan
3 years ago

Tough game to watch at the end. Every loss brings out those who want to blame it all on this or that guy or guys. But losing a road game 30-27 in the final three minutes is a team effort, coaches, and players on both sides of the ball. Certainly it hurt like crazy for Humph, of all people, to cough up the football at the beginning of what should have been a fourth quarter comeback drive. It’s not like he’s made it a habit. The defense giving up a quick 1-minute TD drive to the Bills after the offense… Read more »

MWD
MWD
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 years ago

Naples, I am going to have to agree with you yet again….This loss was a complete team effort loss! The fact that our offense has produced 6 points in the first two quarters of the last two games is unacceptable. Here we end up driving the ball down the field and going up 27-20 and then our defense gives up the deep ball and a 15 yard penalty on top of it which ended up giving Buffalo a scoring drive for a touchdown in under 2 minutes is another “unacceptable” example. Don’t even get me started on that last drive… Read more »

Rob
Rob
3 years ago

I’ll say it like this, the only person I SEEN on d was lavonte. Everybody else was blah. Even with Smith holding penalty& a few mistakes by the offense, you are supposed to win scoring 27. We held the lead for 43 seconds. I think we do have talent on the defense, Smith’s got to be more creative.

4girls
3 years ago

This is a tough one to stomach. Another team does whatever it wants to against us offensively. There’s no doubt that our D is a major issue and there needs to be major changes. But, all this clamor to fire Koetter, Mike Smith, Licht, etc, etc, etc is bullshit. Enough. This is why we never have any solid depth or cohesion. Dumping staffs, systems, and players every 2-3 years is what keeps us running in quicksand. Gruden was not perfect, people. Remember his love affair with every has-been veteran? Yes, I think we should have kept him. But, cycling through… Read more »

seat26
Reply to  4girls
3 years ago

Yeah, I agree. But we had an opportunity in this Draft to get better on the D line and the secondary. We chose to take a Safety in the 2nd round that we probably could have gotten in 3rd. And we took a Receiver ( a very good one) that likely will not play much this year. and TE was not a position of need. And it pains me to say that as good as Howard is. We needed DE, DT, CB, and RB. And now we can add OL to that list. This is going to be a painful… Read more »

drdneast
3 years ago

It all starts up front in the trenches and in the last four years we have drafted one DL who should really be an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Ayres had a good year last year but the tank is running on empty. Our overpaid Swaggy looks like he is playing out his check. Gholston is a C+ player at best and McCoy and McDonald are getting on in years. A complete revamping of the DL and a new defensive coordinator our needed. But that won’t be until after the season and I’m tired of waiting for next year. It… Read more »

Dman
Reply to  drdneast
3 years ago

Koetter said in post game it was a wheel route that the LB was responsible for. McClain came over to prevent the TD. And agree, did not deserve the penalty.

Horse
3 years ago

Offense was carrying the Defense last year and it really is the same this year. We have the same problem we have had for a few years;. We need defensive end help badly, but no need to try to fix it now and give up draft picks. Rounds 1 & 2 of the draft must be defensive ends! Not sure if anybody should be fired with the coaching staff or the GM untill after we see who they draft and how it helped us in 2018. Go Bucs.

Mike.Seven
3 years ago

The hard facts, 2 wins against teams with losing records Bears and Giants teams with winning records 0-4 and a bunch of teams still to play with winning records predict 2 more wins this year for Bucs, They will blame Koetter! he and most coaches will be gone at years end. New coach next year will act like new gunner coming in, Jamies will be starting QB because he has a rookie contract he does not have big salary yet, Bucs front office like that about him, he has this year and next to determine what the market will offer… Read more »

cgmaster27
Reply to  Mike.Seven
3 years ago

You’re seriously coming on here and ranting about our QB after today? You can no longer be taken seriously. not that you could before, but now you just sound stupid.

Mike.Seven
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

I did no ranting on QB yesterday To respond to fan who see thru filters, I said Bucs 2-0 against bad teams at home and 04 against med to good teams, I said coaches gone at years end which they will be! And JW starts next year and when the time comes to pay big money Bucs will flinch which they will. However, if you want to comment on Bills game They had a must-win game needed to outscore Buffalo in first half and came away with 2 FG I saw 1 int and 1 ball stripped by Evans to… Read more »

NJBuc
3 years ago

I’ll just summarize, Great job D! #SoFnBucs

seat26
3 years ago

It is only October and I am looking at potential draft picks. I hate doing that this early.

GoldsonAges
3 years ago

It sucks that the Bucs lost but on the bright side I had Buffalo in a 5 team parlay that paid off!!! This reminds me of the Lovie Smith days when I cleaned up off of all the losses.

CDNBUCSFAN
3 years ago

I was so excited to see my team play LIVE in person as they’ve only been up to Buffalo once before. There were so many other Bucs fans in Buffalo and it was a great atmosphere — and then they blow it! I was so disappointed. Buffalo has a great D that we put up points on in their barn, and yet our D can’t stop anything, and to a team that had little talent at WR and TE. I took verbal bs all game from the Buffalo fans (and gave it back) and then we go up late only… Read more »