A tough, tough game to take. This was just about as bad as things could go. Not only did the Bucs not win, but the way they played in every phase was just uninspiring.
This game most likely represent the Bucs best chance to win over the next few games (though the Redskins certainly aren't blowing anyone away). With a trip up to see Buffalo, a win was needed to get things moving the right direction. Instead, we got another loss, some bad habits, and very few highlights handed to us.
The Bucs would start this game in just about the worst way possible. The Bucs went three and out and were immediately hit back by a 32 yard TD pass from Edwards to Evans. 7-0 Bills. The Bucs got the ball back and were manufacturing a decent drive, when on a first and 10 play Leftwich dropped back, had a Bills defender at his ankles, and rather than take the sack tried to dump it off to Cadillac. He overshot Cadillac, right into Donte Whitner's arms, and he proceeded to return it 76 yards for the TD. 14-0 Bills.
On the next possession, another decent drive was being put together when a Leftwich pass bounced off of Stroughter and into the arms of Bills defender, though it looked as if it hit the ground. The play was challenged and upheld and led to a Bills field goal. 17-0 Bills.
The Bucs answered right back, finally putting some points on the scoreboard. A quick Leftwich to Winslow strike for 42 yards got the Bucs going in the right direction. 17-7. The Bucs D would use the bend dont break philospohy and gave up a field goal to push it to 20-10.
After a few punts were traded and just before halftime, Edwards and the Bills were moving the ball and inside the Bucs 20 when Fred Jackson would go off tackle, where he was met by Ronde Barber. Jackson fumbled it straight into the arms of Sabby Piscitelli who would return it all the way to the Bills 8 yard line. Cadillac would punch it in, and just like that it was 20-14 Bills.
Both offenses were sluggish in the second half with punts being alternated until Edwards overthrew a receiver, leading to a Piscitelli interception. it wouldn't lead to any scoring and the third quarter ended with no offense or any real highlights.
The Bills started the 4th quarter with a Lindell field goal to push it to 23-14. After a Bucs punt, the Bills struck again. A 43 yard TD pass from Edwards to T.O. put the Bills up for good at 30-14. The Bucs made an effort to come back and converted to 4th downs, the final conversion being a two yard strike from Leftwich to Stevens. The two point conversion failed, leaving the score at 30-20. The Bills would tack on a field goal, and while the Bucs drove deep into Bills territory, it was too much to overcome. No more points were put on the board and the game ended 33-20.
It was a game that lacked effort, big plays, consistency, and discipline. The Bucs hung in there after the 17 point opening quarter, but could never make it all the way back.
The Bills take on the Saints next week in Buffalo, and the Bucs will welcome the Giants into Raymond James Stadium.