Bobby Rainey was terrific. The defense was sensational. The Bucs won again on Sunday, beating the Bills at Ray-Jay, 27-6.
Let’s start with Rainey. On the second play of the game, he sprinted 80 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 127 yards on the day. Who would’ve thought that after losing Doug Martin and Mike James for the season, the running game would start to flourish? Aside from a tough game against a very good Carolina defense, Rainey has been amazing since taking over as Tampa Bay’s primary ball carrier.
But the defense was the real story of this game. They forced five turnovers, including picking off E.J. Manuel four times, two of them by budding star Lavonte David. They sacked him seven times. They kept the Buffalo offense out of the end zone. The Bills were held to 214 yards of total offense. It goes without saying; you’re going to win a lot of games when you do that.
Mike Glennon’s numbers were not very good: 9-of-25 for 90 yards. He did complete two long passes to Vincent Jackson, one of which went for a touchdown. He also threw a TD pass to Tim Wright. But Glennon was also intercepted twice. It was not exactly an awe-inspiring performance. The Bucs only had 246 yards of offense. Fortunately, his performance took a back seat to that of the defense.
So after an 0-8 start, the Buccaneers have won four of their last five. The 49ers visit Ray-Jay next Sunday for the final home game of the season.
Photo Courtesy: USA Today
Everyone take a deep breath and savor this one for a little while.
The Buccaneers finally had a lead in the fourth quarter and didn’t blow it. They beat a team that, right now, may have even more problems than they do. This was far from perfect, but these days we’ll take a win any way we can get it.
How did the Bucs win a game in which Mike James broke his ankle on the first drive? How did they win a game in which their two touchdowns were scored by Donald Penn and Bobby Rainey? How did they win a game in which they blew another double-digit lead?
I don’t care. The point is – they won.
Maybe we should’ve known it was going to be Tampa Bay’s night when Penn – yes, Penn – caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter, then proceeded to spike the ball over the crossbar. Then there was Lavonte David sacking Ryan Tannehill in the end zone for a safety to put the Bucs up by 12. The defense held the Dolphins to two yards rushing. TWO.
Still, these are the Bucs, and by the end of the third quarter a 15-point lead had turned into a four-point deficit. But Tampa Bay rallied in the fourth quarter with an 80-yard drive, punctuated by Rainey’s long run and short scamper into the end zone. And with the clock winding down, the Bucs sacked Tannehill twice, and Darrelle Revis sealed the deal with an interception downfield. It’s about time they closed out a game.
This was far from perfect. The Bucs had less than 300 yards of total offense. Mike Glennon’s numbers were “meh.” They still had far too many dumb penalties. For much of the night, Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden focused on the bullying scandal within the Dolphins, something I will not get into here. And one win does not change my opinion that Greg Schiano should be fired. But for the first time all season, we the fans finally get to celebrate a victory.
Next weekend, I’ll be at Raymond James Stadium for the game against the Falcons. Next Monday, I’ll be posting my annual (or so I hope) “My Day at Ray-Jay” here on the blog, complete with photos and whatever else I can get my hands on.
Photo Courtesy: AP
In this mess of a season, only the Bucs could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as they did on Sunday in Seattle.
They built a 21-0 lead in the first half. Everything was going their way. The running game was working to perfection. They capitalized on a botched kickoff by the Seahawks. Even Mike James threw a touchdown pass. Even when the ‘Hawks started to get their act together, Tampa Bay still had a double-digit lead. Heck, when Keith Tandy picked off Russell Wilson late in the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers – still clinging to a 7-point lead –were in a position to pull off a monumental upset.
Nope. It wasn’t going to happen.
James rushed for 158 yards in this game. But didn’t it seem like the Bucs were throwing the ball more often as the second half went on? Why, Schiano? Why? When we got to OT, the Bucs got the ball first, but couldn’t do anything with it. Once Marshawn Lynch started marching down the field on Seattle’s first possession, I knew it was only a matter of time before it was over.
Schiano has now lost 13 of his last 14 games. He’s 0-7 in games decided by three points are fewer. With regards to that second stat, that means his team can’t close out games. And despite being 0-8, the Bucs have been leading late in the fourth quarter a few times. When will Schiano be fired? If it hasn’t happened by now, we may be stuck with him for the rest of the season.
On to Monday Night Football…
Photo Courtesy: AP