The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have moved to 10-3 on the season and remain a perfect 6-0 at Raymond James Stadium after defeating the Buffalo Bills in overtime 33-27. Tom Brady completed a 58-yard touchdown pass to receiver Breshad Perriman that walked it off for Tampa Bay and moved Buffalo down to 7-6.
That game-winner came after a wild comeback by the Bills, who were trailing 24-3 at the half. They would then outscore the Buccaneers 24-3 over the final two quarters of regulation to force overtime. In the extra period, the Bills were able to win the coin toss and gain possession, but the Tampa defense forced a three-and-out, which handed the ball back to Brady and Co., who only need about three minutes before finding pay dirt to earn the win.
Brady — who earned the all-time completions record in this game — completed 31 of his 46 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for times for 16 yards and another score. Leonard Fournette helped control the game on the ground, piling up 113 yards in the win, including a 47-yard touchdown to open up the scoring on the afternoon. On the other side, Josh Allen threw for 308 yards to go along with two touchdowns and an interception and added another rushing TD.
For more on how this game unfolded, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Buccaneers won
The Buccaneers were able to build up a nice cushion thanks to a dominating first half. They opened up the scoring with a 47-yard touchdown run by Fournette, which sparked four-straight scoring drives by the offense. They had 303 yards of total offense over the first two quarters alone and were applying strong pressure to Allen, sacking him three times prior to the break.
That 24-3 lead did help them not collapse completely after Buffalo started to mount its comeback in the second half. While the defense did allow 24 points to the Bills over the final two quarters of regulation, they were able to merely bend and not break as Buffalo brought the football all the way down to the Tampa Bay 7-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play. Instead of giving up the go-ahead touchdown, the defense was able to hold and force a field goal that tied the game at 27.
In overtime, the unit looked more like what we saw in the first half and forced a quick three-and-out, which then gave the ball back to Brady, who would eventually hit Perriman for the walk-off touchdown.
Why the Bills lost
You do have to give the Bills credit for clawing their way back into this game, but they didn’t do themselves any favorite throughout the evening. One of the more noticeable things that was lacking by Buffalo to begin the game was a running game. They didn’t have a single running back carry throughout the first half, which made them the first team since 1991 to do so. When they finally did give a running back a carry it came on a fake punt attempt in the opening drive of the third quarter, which resulted in a 3-yard loss.
That play was one of a number of questionable decisions by Sean McDermott throughout this game. On that play specifically, there was likely a higher percentage of converting had he kept the offense on the field, especially as Allen was averaging over 10 yards per carry over the first half. Later, he elected to actually punt from his own 45-yard line instead of going for it on fourth-and-3 with his team was down 14 late in the third quarter, which seemed like a odd decision in the moment.
Coming into Week 14, Allen ranked in the bottom half of qualified quarterbacks against the blitz and those struggled proved true early in this game as well. He pressured tremendously throughout the first half and was sacked three times. That pressure contributed to four punts over the first two quarters and Allen completed just 60% of his passes with an interception over that stretch. Those issues up front contributed to Tampa Bay getting out to its early lead.
Even when Buffalo was able to knot the game up, the team’s issues in one-score games reared its head. The Bills couldn’t continue their momentum of tying the game at the end of the fourth quarter after winning the coin toss as they put together a three-and-out on their first and only possession of OT. They then allowed the Bucs to quickly move down the field and win it on the 58-yarder to Perriman. That gave the Bills their fifth loss this season in a game decided by seven points or fewer. That 0-5 record in one-score games through 13 weeks is the third-worst of any team in the last decade. That’s a fatal flaw at this point in the year.
Fournette’s conversion on a third-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 15-yard line in overtime was a monumental moment. He just was able to get the first down marker to move the chains as a last nudge following initial contact was enough to have the replay officials keep the ruling on the field. Had he been unable to convert there, the Bucs would have gone three-and-out (if they didn’t go for it on fourth down) and been punting from deep within their own end. Buffalo would have been given a short field in all likelihood and needing only a field goal to complete the comeback. Following that conversion, Tampa Bay only needed three more plays before Brady connected with Perriman on the game-winner.
Play of the game
Mike Evans’ touchdown reception is a honorable mention, but it’s hard to not include the game-winning touchdown as the play of the game. On a third-and-3 attempt from the Tampa Bay 42-yard line, Brady his Perriman on a crossing route over the middle of the field. The veteran receiver made the catch in Buccaneers territory, but was able to outrun his defenders and streak up the right side of the field and hit the end zone to walk it off for Tampa.
That was Perriman’s lone catch on the day on two targets. Meanwhile, that was Brady 700th career touchdown pass (regular season and playoffs).
From here, the Buccaneers will stick around Tampa and await the New Orleans Saints for a “Sunday Night Football” matchup in Week 15. Meanwhile, the Bills will head back to Buffalo and prepare for the Carolina Panthers.