The Bucs came out flat against Indy, but still managed a 38-31 victory over the Colts. Two turnovers, dropped passes and miscommunication again allowed an inferior opponent to hang around. The Bucs righted the ship in the second half thanks to big turnovers by the defense and an awakening on offense. Tampa wound up getting a big win on the road, where they have struggled mightily all season.

Tom Brady was anything but sharp in the early part of the game throwing an interception and another near pick and leading an ineffective offense. He’d finish the game 25-34 for 226 yards and one touchdown. Rob Gronkowski was the team’s leading receiver with seven receptions for 123 yards. Leonard Fournette had four touchdowns on the day and his 100 yards rushing led all backs. The defense made some big plays as well, causing three fumbles, two interceptions and sacking Carson Wentz three times.

Injuries continue to hit the team hard. Already without Ali Marpet, backup Aaron Stinnie injured his knee. That thrust Nick Leverett into a starting role. Devin White and Jamel Dean also left the game with injuries. Dean was ruled out with a shoulder injury, and White injured his hip. Jaelon Darden was also looked at for a concussion. White returned in the second half.

Sluggish Start For Bucs

Another slow start for the Bucs led to an early lead for the Colts. A bad punt set the Colts up with good field position and they were able to knock in a field goal to put them ahead. The Bucs second possession didn’t fare much better, ending in a Chris Godwin fumble knocked out by Darius Leonard. Tampa’s defense came up big though, forcing an Indy punt. The Colts defense matched that, forcing one of their own.

After yet another punt, the Bucs defense came up with a huge turnover. Mike Edwards punched the ball out, Lavonte David scooped it up and set Tampa up with great field position at Indy’s 34. Brady made quick work with the short field and Leonard Fournette ran it in for the go-ahead score. It wouldn’t take long for the Colts to answer back with a 62-yard touchdown pass to take back the lead.

In an attempt to get off a deep pass of his own, Brady and Scotty Miller couldn’t connect, resulting in a turnover. Indy capitalized on the interception, marching 90 yards down the field to increase their lead to 10. A heavy dose of Gronkowski and Fournette on the Bucs next drive led to a score. Brady found Fournette in the flat to bring the game to a 17-14 score before the half. With just under two minutes remaining in the half, the Colts shredded Tampa’s defense. Electing to go for it on fourth-and-one, Indy completed the pass for the score and a 10-point halftime lead.

Second Half Resurgence

With Indy driving, Shaq Barrett came up big when the Bucs needed it most. The Colts were at the Tampa 20-yard line when Barrett got to Wentz for the strip sack. Not out of it yet, Brady led a drive down the field resulting in another Fournette rushing touchdown, his third on the day, bringing the Colts lead to just three. On Indy’s ensuing possession, Antoine Winfield Jr. picked off Wentz to stall a productive Colts drive.

Big catches by Gronkowski set up a Ronald Jones touchdown and the Bucs second lead of the game. The breaks kept rolling Tampa’s way when a punt was muffed by the Colts and Scotty Miller was there for the recovery at the 19-yard line. The Bucs failed to get into the end zone, but put three on the board to make it a seven-point lead.

But the Bucs couldn’t get a stop when they needed to. Jonathan Taylor ran over Tampa’s defense until he scored. With the game tied and three-and-a-half minutes left, Brady and the offense had the opportunity to win the game. That’s all the Tampa offense needed. Fournette had some big runs on the final drive, capping it off with 28-yard run to ice the game and give the Bucs a 38-31 road win.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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chefboho
chefboho
5 months ago

I had the bad feeling the moment this game started. The three and out, the fumble by Godwin, the int by Brady. It was bleak but having Gronk back can’t be understated. He was the key to winning this game. Thankfully the colts didn’t even attempt to run the ball until the last minute otherwise we might have been in trouble. Taylor is an animal. A win is a win and this was on the ROAD! Great game by Lenny as well. Hopefully it’s not a bad unity for Stinnie because we lost him and Dean. Just terrible luck on… Read more »

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
Reply to  chefboho
5 months ago

Yep! Defenses are sitting in a two deep look so it’s going to be important for Bucs to continue to run. Kudos to “Lefto” for sticking with the run today. 34 pass plays vs 27 run plays= Balanced Attack!

PissedOffBuc1988
PissedOffBuc1988
5 months ago

Great road win. The kick return at the end made it a bit more interesting than it needed to be, but I’ll take it. Gronk was huge, defense played well. Tough to win on the road especially when teams are giving you their best shot. Panters lost big today (Newton got benched), saints lost on Thanksgiving. Atlanta played Jacksonville, and we now have a solid 3 game lead in our division. Can still be better, but we will be. GO BUCS!! ☠️

Mike Pengelly
Mike Pengelly
5 months ago

Be still my heart. What a game! Lenny really had it today. Brady and his receivers just didn’t seem on the same page early. A win is a win is a win. On to Atlanta.

seat26
seat26
5 months ago

In 45 yrs of watching my Bucs, this was the best game ever if you love the game. As a Bucs fan, I thought I was going to have a stroke.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
Reply to  seat26
5 months ago

I love the game and I love my Bucs but Best game ever? Not even the best game this season! IMO

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
5 months ago

Lenny Fournette was a beast today, along with Gronk! That last long touchdown run in particular to give the Bucs the final lead of the game. I bet Lenny got real tired of hearing all week about the other team’s running back, and he was ready for prime time, even if it was an early game. The slow early start seems to be a Bucs habit on the road. Thankfully the Bucs generally play well in the second half. That the Bucs are 3-3 on the road, including quality road wins at probably the best team in the AFC and… Read more »

Dman
Dman
5 months ago

Great running game today and kudos to Lefty for the game plan. Finally some nice pressure by the D line and great INT by Winfield. Hoping the injury to Dean isn’t season ending.

Buc stops here
Buc stops here
5 months ago

“An inferior opponent?” This Colts team has in the last 6 games been 5-1, had not allowed anyone to score 30 points on them all season, and was the hottest team in the NFL. The Bucs forced them to have five turnovers, the Colts QB coming in had two interceptions all season – he had that many against the Bucs. The Special Teams forced a fumble. Wentz also had a third turnover on a fumble. Between the Bucs having their best running attack all season, and a incredible effort by the defense to get four turnovers, they won this game.… Read more »

Spitfire
Spitfire
5 months ago

They chose to play it deep and finally we had back the right personnel to play in front with Ground and with Fournette catching better. The we are healthy, we can beat teams at every level, especially the Brown is finally back. I would have just liked to have seen Evans and Godwin win anyway. Our Defense will be ok if we get Davis back, although losing Dean will be a hit. Time to get our ish together these last few games and figure out how to enter the Post Season strong.

Horse
Horse
5 months ago

Good teams find ways to win especially when you score 38 points. All this praising is simple; score 38 points on any day, you most likely will win and forget about the same mistakes on Defense that’s not going away. Go Bucs! Keep the Repeat alive!

scubog
scubog
5 months ago

I think I’ve sort of figured out the difference between this season, after winning the championship, and past seasons when the Bucs were one of the, if not the, worst team in the league. At the start of the games, especially on the road, the opponents and their rabid fans are much more “jacked-up” lining up against us…..and Tom Brady. At the start of the games the decibel level in these domes, and even the open stadiums, when the Bucs are on offense, is making things difficult. Then, if the home team is able to show they can go toe… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  scubog
5 months ago

Scubog, Very true. I still believe though injuries are hurting us the most. We lose the continuity as to the Starters versus Replacements. I am amazed of the depth in talent that’s on this team. For me, the Coaching has been good. Even the look on Brady’s face says it all lately. We are “the Bad Boys in the NFL” and everybody is focused up to be the snot out of us. Thank goodness we can score points; just not so many in the first Quarters. Go Bucs! I’m happy we are 8-3..

chefboho
chefboho
Reply to  Horse
5 months ago

well said horse. This team has almost over achieved with the insane amount of injuries, yet here they are at 8-3 with a top seed at stake. Go bucs