CBS may have lost the feed, but the Buccaneers had no trouble finding their groove against the Buffalo Bills. Despite being given very limited distribution by CBS, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Buffalo Bills in Tampa as EJ Manuel was stifled by an active Tampa Bay defense. In an ugly game with many, many turnovers on both sides, Vincent Jackson and Bobby Rainey were the difference for Tampa Bay's offense.
The Bucs got off to a fast start, as they have done consistently over the past five weeks. A sweet cut and a little baby stiff-arm on Kiko Alonso got Bobby Rainey free for the first NFL touchdown of the day on the team's second play from scrimmage, walking into the endzone after 80 yards of untouched rushing. It didn't take long for Vincent Jackson to add the Bucs' second touchdown on a deep ball from a scrambling Mike Glennon, giving Tampa Bay a 14-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
If the first quarter was one filled with touchdowns, the second quarter was dominated by turnovers. EJ Manuel managed to throw two interceptions, one to dominant-as-ever Lavonte David and the other to Johnthan Banks. Mike Glennon got in on the party too, throwing one straight to Jairus Byrd on a miscommunication and another one right to Stephon Gilmore. Glennon was off early in the game despite a few good deep passes, as he placed the ball behind receivers and held on to the ball too long, while being late on other throws.
The Bills weren't done with the gift-wrapping, though. Holiday season and all, Leodis McKelvin muffed a punt and then the Bills decided that a short punt was nice, too. The Bucs managed six consecutive drives in the first half with starting field position past the Tampa Bay 40-yard line, and they managed to get just ten points off of that remarkable streak.
Still, the end result was never really in question, so much so that the second half was little more than a formality. The Bucs had a three-score lead at half time, and the Bills offense never even threatened to close that gap. They just kept handing the ball to the Bucs, while the team's seven (!) sacks on the day stopped the Bills in the red zone a couple of times.
Lavonte David had the game of his life, with a sack, two interceptions and his usual obscene collection of tackles. If it wasn't for the Bucs' awful season, David's incredibly impressive second season would be gathering some Defensive Player of the Year talk. Instead he may not even make the Pro Bowl. A travesty.
In the end, this was a comfortable win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was a massive relief after the embarrassing performance two weeks ago. Mike Glennon's struggles are now an issue, though, and the offense put together 44 net yards in the second half. But at least the team is winning. With three games left, Greg Schiano could conceivably save his job with some quality play and just one more win.
Mike Glennon went 9/25 for 90 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and one sack.
Bobby Rainey managed 127 rushing yards and one touchdown on 22 carries.
Vincent Jackson had three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Lavonte David had nine combined tackles, one sack and two interceptions.
Gerald McCoy managed six combined tackles, a sack and a pass defensed.
Center Jeremy Zuttah left the game with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Buffalo linebacker Ron Brooks had to leave the field with a neck injury in the first quarter, but was at least able to walk off the field under his own power.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive the San Francisco 49ers at home next Sunday at 1:00 PM, while they'll close out the season with consecutive road games against the St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints. Greg Schiano's future wand Mike Glennon's status for next year will be decided over those last three games.