There were plenty of impressive Buccaneers in Tampa Bay’s 27-14 victory at Buffalo. The Bucs’ starting offense and defense were sharp as the team raced out to 24-0 lead. The Bills’ starting offense scored two touchdowns against the Bucs’ backup defense in the third quarter, but Tampa Bay’s starters clearly won the day as the Bucs claimed their first win in the 2014 preseason.
MOST IMPRESSIVE BUCCANEERSQB Josh McCownMcCown shook off an early first-quarter interception when Brandon Myers slipped to complete 13-of-16 passes for 112 yards. McCown threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to rookie Mike Evans right before halftime to cap off an impressive 11-play, 82-yard drive. McCown nearly had another touchdown but his 22-yard scoring strike to Doug Martin was ruled a 21-yard pass when instant replay showed Martin’s bottom hit the ground at the 1-yard line prior to crossing the goal line. McCown also added a nice 19-yard scramble in the first half and finished with 21 rushing yards on two carries.
RB Doug Martin Martin ripped off a 13-yard run in the first quarter and then had a 21-yard catch down to the Bills’ 1-yard line before ending the TD drive with a run up the middle that gave Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead at Buffalo. Martin had 38 yards on 12 carries, in addition to two catches for 27 yards. Martin ran the ball with authority and finished with 65 total yards in the first half.
DE Larry EnglishIn just his second week in Tampa Bay, English made a huge impact in Buffalo by sacking E.J. Manuel twice. English was unblocked during his first sack in the first half, and then dropped Manuel again in the third quarter for no yards. English, who finished with three tackles, also had a nice stop of Dennis Dixon on fourth-and-1 early in the final quarter. With Da’Quan Bowers and Will Gholston injured, English has a chance to make the 53-man roster and get some playing time early in the season.
DT Clinton McDonaldThe Bucs’ big nose tackle had some great run stuffs, but it was his 17-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter that was his best play. McDonald scooped up EJ Manuel’s fumble after he was sacked by defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Michael Johnson and took it to the end zone. McDonald was a beast in the middle, recording five tackles in the first half.
DE Michael JohnsonAfter recovering a fumble against Miami last week, Johnson forced a fumble Saturday, as he and Adrian Clayborn sacked EJ Manuel in the second quarter. Johnson was more of a presence on defense against Buffalo and seems to be making strides during the preseason. He finished with two tackles and half a sack.
WR Mike EvansThe rookie wide receiver had another nice outing in the third preseason game. Evans pulled down two catches for 20 yards prior to his 24-yard touchdown with 1:05 left in the first quarter to help Tampa Bay jump out to a 24-0 lead. Evans finished the first half with three catches for 44 yards and his first NFL touchdown after fumbling away a chance for his first one last week against Miami.
WR Vincent JacksonJackson saw plenty of action against Buffalo, catching five passes for 43 yards, including two catches for first downs. Jackson served as the safety net for Josh McCown in the first half.
WLB Lavonte David Midway through the first quarter, David hit Bills running back C.J. Spiller and forced a fumble that was recovered by middle linebacker Mason Foster, who advanced the ball past midfield. David also made a nice tackle of Fred Jackson on third-and-40 to get the Bills off the field early in the second quarter. David finished the game with four tackles.
MLB Mason Foster Foster had his most productive outing of the preseason, tying for the team lead with six tackles and scooping up a fumble recovery, which he advanced 24 yards to the Buffalo 39. That play set up Tampa Bay’s first touchdown. He also had a tackle for loss against the Bills.
FS Dashon GoldsonGoldson recorded the Bucs’ first interception of the preseason and the first takeaway against Buffalo on Saturday when he stepped in front of tight end Scott Chandler, who slipped on the play.
SLB Danny Lansanah With Jonathan Casillas not making the trip to Buffalo due to a violation of team rules, Lansanah got the start at strongside linebacker. Lansanah had five tackles and a tackle for loss in his first start.
CB Johnthan BanksBanks, who got the start in place of the injured Mike Jenkins, had a nice pass breakup on a throw to Mike Williams in the first quarter. He then came back and had a tackle for no gain on C.J. Spiller the very next play. Banks continues to shine in run support and tied for the team lead in tackles with six.
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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