The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their fourth straight win by beating the San Diego Chargers 28-21 in San Diego. The Bucs dominated the second half, scoring 21 points to the Chargers’ seven.
Jameis Winston had yet another good game. Though the second-year quarterback had a few characteristically errant throws and decisions, he finished the game completing 20 of 30 attempts for 280 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Mike Evans was a little quiet, with the Chargers focusing on stopping the big receiver, but still caught three passes for 38 yards, plus a two-point conversion.
While Winston was impressive and the Bucs offense did well, especially given the three starters they lost to injuries during the game (WR Cecil Shorts, TE Luke Stocker and WR Adam Humphries), the Bucs defense carried the day as it has over the past month. With two interceptions, including a Lavonte David pick six, as well as a pair of sacks and five tackles for loss.
This win gives the Bucs a 7-5 record and a share of the NFC South lead, though technically the Falcons are still on top by virtue of a better division record. The Bucs have three games against division opponents remaining, though, so can easily remedy that problem.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got off to a slow start, with the defense giving up a touchdown on the San Diego Chargers’ opening drive. Throughout the first half, Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon could basically do whatever they want, though they only walked out of the half with 14 points.
Meanwhile, the Bucs offense struggled with consistency. A few scramble plays got the Bucs down the field and Doug Martin punched in a short touchdown, but Jameis Winston couldn’t do much outside of that one drive.
Roberto Aguayo missed a 31-yard field goal, while the Bucs found themselves short-handed when receivers Adam Humphries (concussion) and Cecil Shorts (serious leg injury) as well as tight end Luke Stocker (ankle) were forced to leave with injuries.
That had the Bucs going into the second half down 14-7, though they looked worse on the field. That changed in the second half, as the Bucs quickly cut the Chargers lead to just ten points, and then took the lead on a Lavonte David pick six off a tipped ball. That didn’t last long, as the Chargers scored a touchdown to take back the lead on the very next drive, though, giving them a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth and final quarter.
And in that fourth quarter, the Bucs took over. A Roberto Aguayo field goal cut the chargers lead to just one point, and Winston found Cameron Brate in the endzone, and a two-pointer to Mike Evans gave them a 28-21 lead with nine minutes remaining.
That gave the Chargers plenty of time to come back, of course, and they were working on a steady drive until Keith Tandy ended their hopes with an endzone interception. The Bucs offense could then grind out most of the clock with just 2:50 remaining, giving the Bucs their fourth consecutive win and a 7-5 record.