There used to be a time that you could rely on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense to be this all-consuming, blitzing machine. And yet after two games under current head coach Raheem Morris, you’re seeing quite the opposite, as evidenced by allowing 332 or more yards for the last seven games; this year alone, this squad has given 400+ yards a game. It makes you wonder if they miss Monte Kiffin at all.
But nonetheless, the Buffalo Bills came calling to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Buccaneers Sunday. And I think it is safe to say that the Bills took out their frustrations from last week on the Bucs as a combination of efficient passing by quarterback Trent Edwards, some productive running by Fred Jackson and timely defense allowed Buffalo to get to the .500 mark as they dismantled Tampa 33-20.
The first quarter was all Buffalo as the offense, defense and special teams all participated in the scoring; wide receiver Lee Evans and Edwards hooked up on a 32-yard pass, giving the Bills an early 7-0 lead. Buccaneers QB Byron Leftwich would get hit on a pass attempt by the Bills’ Kyle Williams and as a result, Buffalo safety Donte Whitner intercepted the pass attempt and went 76 yards to the end zone untouched, making it 14-0; kicker Rian Lindell would add a 31-yard field goal, increasing the Bills’ cushion to 17-0 – all of this in the first quarter.
The Bucs would make it interesting in the second quarter as Leftwich connected with tight end Kellen Winslow on a 42-yard strike, narrowing their deficit to 17-7; Lindell would add a 43-yard FG, making it 20-7 before Leftwich threw an 8-yard TD pass to RB Carnell Williams, narrowing it to 20-14, the halftime score.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter as Buffalo would score twice – on a 27-yard Lindell FG and a Edwards-to-Terrell Owens 43-yard TD pass, giving the Bills an insurmountable 30-14 lead. Leftwich would add a late TD pass to TE Jerramy Stevens which would make it 30-20 Buffalo, but a Lindell 20-yard chip shot would ice the game.
As mentioned earlier, Edwards passed efficiently as he went 21-of-31 for 230 yards with 2 TD’s and an interception while Leftwich went 26-of-50 for 296 yards with 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s. Jackson had a career game, rushing 28 times for 163 yards while catching 6 passes for 25 yards while Derrick Ward led all Bucs’ rushers with 32 yards on 9 carries.
TE Derek Schouman led the Bills’ receivers with 6 receptions for 62 yards while Owens caught 3 for 52 yards and a score; Josh Reed caught 4 for 46 yards. Winslow led the Tampa receivers with 7 receptions for 90 yards and a TD while WR Maurice Stovall caught 3 for 80 yards; Williams contributed with 7 receptions for 56 yards and a TD.
Buffalo (1-1) will now return to Ralph Wilson Stadium to host the 2-0 New Orleans Saints on Sunday while Tampa Bay (0-2) looks to get their first win as they host the undefeated New York Giants – also on Sunday.