The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) looked to regain their winning formula following back to back losses at the hands of the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. The Buffalo Bills came into this matchup after narrowly falling to the Cincinnati Bengals before their bye week. Sitting second in the division with a record of (3-2) a win provides the Bills with much-needed stability in an AFC East that has provided little of it thus far in the season. The Bills aimed to take advantage of a Buccaneers defense that has struggled mightily this season, giving up over 400-yards per game. For a Bills team averaging little over 17-points per game, getting the offense going, one that led the league in rushing the previous two seasons back on track can pay huge dividends for Buffalo.
Coming out of the gates both teams, the Bills included had no problem finding offense. On the first possession, the off-injured Jameis Winston was able to find his rookie tight end O.J. Howard for 21-yards. The fourth-ranked passing team in the NFL continued to fire through the air as Winston connected twice with his favorite target Mike Evans for two receptions for 21-yards on the drive. The Bills defense would make a stand thanks to some help from Buccaneer’s penalties, Tampa Bay would have to settle for a long Patrick Murray 50-yard field goal.
Wasting no time in answering back was a Bills offense that came in ranked 31st in the NFL in third-down percentage. Third down seemed to not be a problem early on as the Bills converted two key third downs including an 8-yard reception by Jordan Matthews and a 26-yard scramble by quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Highlighted by a tightrope pass to Nick O’Leary the Bills followed in the Tampa Bay footsteps and were forced to settle for a 25-yard Stephen Hauschka field goal.
Keeping it rolling was the Buccaneers passing attack. Big off-season addition Desean Jackson took advantage when his number was called. Hauling in two receptions for 34-yards on the drive, including one circus-like catch in traffic. The defense of the Bills would continue to stay sturdy however as Tampa Bay settled for another Murray chip shot field to make it 6-3 heading into the second.
The Bills run game looking like the team that led the league in rushing the previous two seasons as Taylor and McCoy on the following drive found some much-needed running lanes. McCoy got the drive started with a 23-yard run of his own to set the Bills up for a scoring opportunity. Taylor would add a 16-yard run of his own to put the Bills within the 10-yard and give McCoy all the room he would need for his 1-yard score midway through the second quarter. The Bills would take their first lead of the game 10-6.
A missed field goal attempt by the Bills would maintain a 10-6 game into the half.
Coming out of the half the Buffalo Bills offense looked like men on a mission as they gave the Buccaneers defense all they could handle. A long 18-yard run by the Bills big man, Mike Tolbert put Buffalo in striking distance and in Tampa Bay Territory. Keeping the defense on their toes Tyrod Taylor was able to connect with quarterback turned tightend Logan Thomas in the back of the end zone for 22-yard touchdown score and his first career touchdown reception. The Bills took a 17-6 lead early in the third.
Not giving up the Buccaneers had an answer of their own on the proceeding drive. Going 75-yards in seven plays the Buccaneers were paced by 61-yards through the air including a 7-yard reception by Howard for the score for his second career touchdown. The score cut the Bills leads making it 17-13.
Following a Hauschka 52-yard field goal that narrowly went through the uprights for his 12th consecutive make from over 50-yards, the Buccaneers were able to regain their. With their second seven play 75-yard drive of the game, Jameis Winston picked up his second passing score of the game and surpassed 300-yards for the game. Howard, left wide open on play-action and was able to run in the pass for 33-yards and tie up the game at 20-20.
Following a forced and recovered fumble of LeSean McCoy by Lavonte David the Buccaneers would make their move. Driving down deep into Bills territory late in the fourth quarter Winston would connect with Evans once again, this time in the back of the end zone as Evans narrowly gets his feet in bounds to hang on.
The Bills making a strong case for a comeback victory as Tyrod Taylor connected with Deonte Thompson for 44-yards deep into Tampa Bay territory. Picking up his second score of the day, LeSean McCoy runs it in from 7-yards out. Three plays for 76-yards was all the Bills would need to keep things tight in the final minutes.
The very next play for the Buccaneers would turn in the Bills favor. A fumble by receiver Adam Humphries forced and recovered by the rookie, Tre White would give the ball back to the Bills inside the 35-yard line and in position to secure a victory.
Coming in for the game-winning score, Stephen Hauschka would put up his third field goal of the game to give the Bills a 30-27 lead.
Buffalo would hold on for the 30-27 victory. Following the game, the Buccaneers would fall to (2-4) while the Bills would improve to (4-2).
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