So, here I am…trapped behind enemy lines in Kansas City, and got to watch the Bucs beat the Chiefs.
Bucs 19 – Chiefs 17
It wasn’t a barn-burner of a game by any stretch, at least not until the last half of the fourth quarter, but it was still a sold win that I didn’t expect Tampa to get, if we’re being honest. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the toughest stadiums to play when you’re the road team, and the Chiefs had already rolled up a pretty impressive home field winning streak. Add to that the Bucs foibles of late and what this particular OG fan knows from experience that this team is more than capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and it was a recipe for a long day.
I love it when I’m proven wrong like this.
Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston seemed unfazed by the cacophony of the Chiefs crowd, which still managed to catch his team with a few false starts and other assorted shenanigans. Running back Doug Martin, back in the lineup after being out for several weeks with an injury, was back in workhorse form with 100+ rushing and receiving yards. Winston, shaking off a fumble in the early going, spread the ball around, finding seven different receivers throughout the day while completing 24 of 39 passes for 330 yards and a late-game TD. He also extended his no interceptions streak to three games. Despite not scoring a truckload of points, the Bucs still gave the Chief a long day with ground and clock-eating drives that kept the KC defense on the field for what felt like frappin’ ever.
Meanwhile, the Bucs defense kept the game close all day long even as the offense seemed capable of nothing but field goals for the bulk of the game. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was able to keep his offense moving, but the Bucs proved pretty miserly so far as giving up actual points. That included a key interception in the end zone to kill a Kansas City scoring drive, that Bucs safety Chris Conte returned to mid field to set up Tampa’s only touchdown of the game and put the Chiefs down two scores late in the game. Despite a comeback TD by KC to close the gap to 19-17, the Bucs were able to hold on and preserve the win.
Tampa improves to 5-5 with the victory and a game behind NFC South Division leader Atlanta, who was off this week for their bye. Division rivals New Orleans and Carolina are breathing down the Bucs’ necks, though, sitting at 4-6. In other words, the division title is up for grabs with six games to go.
Next up? The Bucs are back at home, hosting the Seattle Seahawks, who are sitting high atop the NFC West at 7-2-1 and on a three-game hot streak of their own. Can Tampa carry their momentum forward and nab a second consecutive upset?
I have no frappin’ idea, but it could be fun to watch.
Bucs life, yo.