The Tampa Bay Buccaneers raced out to a 24-3 lead over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but they had to stave off a furious comeback in order to walk away with a 33-27 overtime victory. After a dominant first half, the Buccaneers were stymied by a rejuvenated Buffalo defense. Ultimately, though, the Bucs were able to put the game away when it mattered.
Our opponents to watch all performed well on Sunday.
QB Tom Brady
The man who will not decline continued marching to his own beat on Sunday, throwing for 363 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. He even added a rushing touchdown and 17 yards on the ground. Not too bad for a 44-year old man. Brady completed 31-of-46 passes for 363 yards and those two touchdowns on the day. He was sacked twice—once by Matt Milano and once by Eli Ankou.
RB Leonard Fournette
Buffalo allowed its customary “one huge run,” a 47-yard touchdown to Fournette on the same G-lead play that the New England Patriots gashed them with repeatedly last Monday night. Fournette carried the ball 19 times for 113 yards and the aforementioned touchdown, an average of 5.9 yards per carry. Sure, if you remove that long touchdown, the Bills allowed Fournette 66 yards on 18 carries. But we can’t remove that long touchdown, as it still counts as the opening salvo in what was a horrendous first half for the Bills overall. Fournette also caught four passes for 19 yards, including a seven-yard loss in overtime that I thought was going to be the reason why Tampa would have to punt.
WR Mike Evans
Evans had a perfect day, catching all six of his targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. That scoring grab was a beauty, as Brady threw a bullet in a spot where only the 6’5” Evans could reach it. Safety Micah Hyde missed tipping the ball by an inch, and Evans hauled it in for Tampa’s second score of the night. While it was Chris Godwin who led all players in targets (15), receptions (10), and receiving yards (105) in this one, Evans was a huge factor. He also drew a pass interference penalty in overtime by hugging Levi Wallace. Somehow, the officials called a penalty on the Buffalo corner, giving the Bucs 19 yards in the process.
DT Ndamukong Suh
The prolific pass rusher didn’t register a hit or a tackle on the night. His interior line mate, Vita Vea, only managed one tackle. That’s probably because Buffalo didn’t run anything inside, and with good reason: those guys are really good.
CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
My semi-namesake was targeted often by Josh Allen, as he used his middle receivers in Cole Beasley (nine catches, 64 yards) and Dawson Knox (seven catches, 60 yards, touchdown) throughout the night with great success. Murphy-Bunting is a tough dude, and he managed eight tackles on the evening. He did not break up a pass, however.