The Buffalo Bills squeaked out a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, kicking a game-winning field goal with 18 seconds left to establish a 30-27 lead. No amount of rugby action could conquer Buffalo’s defense on the final play of the game.
In the first half, the Bills looked like the better team. They rushed for 110 yards and generated two Jameis Winston turnovers, and LeSean McCoy scored his first rushing touchdown of the season. They went into halftime with a 10-6 lead, but a few miscues cost them a greater advantage - Stephen Haushcka missed a makeable field goal, and the Bills offense collectively had a brain fart, running a play that led to the clock running out when they could’ve kicked an easy field goal.
The Buccaneers found new life in the second half, with a turning point when the Bills lost rookie tight end O.J. Howard in coverage. He caught a wide-open tight end throwback for a touchdown. On Buffalo’s next possession, McCoy lost a fumble. Winston drove the Buccaneers down the field, and Mike Evans caught a toe-tapping sideline catch in the end zone to give Tampa Bay their second lead of the game - this one a dreaded seven point lead. Coming into today’s game, Taylor had a 2-16 record as a starter when the offense EVER trailed by four or more points during a game. Taylor immediately rallied the offense to an equalizing touchdown. He hit the newly-signed Deonte Thompson on a deep pass, a personal foul penalty added 15 more, and within a minute, LeSean McCoy had scored his second touchdown of the day.
The Bills needed a play, with fewer than three minutes remaining and the game tied. Then Tre’davious White stepped up. The rookie forced a fumble on a screen pass to Adam Humphries, and Buffalo had the ball in Buccaneer territory. The Bills ran the dang ball, and third string running back Taiwan Jones forced a missed tackle to convert a third-and-long and extend the crucial final drive. Hauschka kicked the field goal to give the Bills a 30-27 win and elevate Taylor’s dreaded record to 3-16.
The Bills lost starting cornerback E.J. Gaines to a hamstring injury. He’s missed time from injuries in literally every game this season. This time, he wasn’t able to return.
Safety Jordan Poyer was injured on the final play of the game. He walked off the field with Bills trainers.
Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn both lost some snaps due to injury or conditioning, but played through the end of the game. Dion Dawkins filled in for both.
Deonte Thompson - Buffalo’s newest receiver, signed after he was cut by the Bears, broke open the game for his new offense. He caught four passes for 107 yards.
Preston Brown - The Bills had a tall order going up against Tampa Bay’s talented array of pass catchers, and too often, the middle of the field was wide open for chunk yardage. Brown also bobbled an early forced fumble in the first half. Luckily Leonard Johnson came away with the ball, but Brown should’ve just fallen on it instead of risking the Buccaneers getting it back.
- Stephen Hauschka has scored 12 consecutive field goals of 50+ yards or more.
- This was Hauschka’s fifth career game winning field goal.
- McCoy’s fumble was Buffalo’s third turnover of the season, and the first in 21 quarters without a turnover.
- Milestone: Rookie linebacker Matt Milano had his first turnover of his career, with an interception of a pass intended for Cameron Brate.
- Milestone: Logan Thomas caught his first touchdown reception, which was also the longest touchdown of Buffalo’s season at 22 (wow) yards.
- Tyrod Taylor avoided making mistakes today. He only took one sack, played with poise, and threw 20-of-33 for 268 yards and a touchdown. He also added 53 rushing yards on six carries.
- Tre’davious White has now recovered two fumbles this season.
- This play: