A win by any other name, and all that….
Bucs 27 – Bills 6
Interestingly, this is the exact score by which the Bucs lost their previous game. Weird how that works, isn’t it?
Yeah, I know I usually do these things the afternoon or evening following each week’s game, or maybe the morning after, but there’s really no rush to recount the latest game’s ups and downs anymore, now that the Bucs are pretty much just playing for pride and (maybe) to help head coach Greg Schiano keep his job.
I guess we could say Tampa did a good bit in that department with their performance against the listless Buffalo Bills, themselves entering Sunday’s contest with a losing record guaranteed for the season, as well as missing out on post-season play for something like 800 years (give or take several dozen). After losing last week to snap their own three-game winning streak, Tampa provided a decent bit of entertainment in front of their hometown faithful to notch their fourth win in five games and improve to 4-9 on the year.
Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon struggled some, throwing two picks on the day, which doesn’t sound so bad when you look deeper and see that he only completed 9 of 25 passes (two of those were touchdowns, so way to rally, dude). On the other side of the fence, Tampa intercepted Bills QB EJ Manuel four times and sacked him seven times, and also took away another fumble. Indeed, the Bucs D looked a lot like the days of old, harassing and smothering Manuel and the Bills runners and receivers throughout the afternoon. Of course, it’s all kind of bittersweet when you realize that they’ve had the potential to play like this all year, and only now are all the pieces falling into place.
Now sitting at 4-9, Tampa occupies third place in the NFC South, well behind division leader New Orleans (11-2) and the second place Carolina Panthers (9-4, and as I write this holders of a wild card berth if the season ended today). Lowly Atlanta is Tail-end Charlie at 3-10. Next up for the Bucs? They’ll host the San Francisco 49ers for their last home game of the season. The Niners are sitting at 9-4 and definitely looking to improve their playoff positioning, on the downside of a tie-breaker with Carolina and the NFC West title still up for grabs with three games to go. If the Bucs want to play spoiler, I’m down with that.
And so it goes.