The sun is a little brighter, the air smells a little sweeter, and your Tim Horton’s taste a little bit better this morning. Everything is just a little bit better the Monday after a Bills win. One more step to ending the drought. And this one was a complete team effort by all three phases of the game, an opportunistic defense, a surprisingly big play offense, and another 50 plus yard field goal.
Offense: Tyrod uses his legs and arm, Shady scores…finally.
Tyrod Taylor was on the run early and often Sunday against the Bucs. His 53 rush yards were his second most of the season but his 8.8 yards per carry was his best average of the season. And despite a missed opportunity to run at the end of the first half when he decided to throw to the end zone, his decisions were on point all afternoon.
In addition to Taylor’s very good decisions to run were some great decisions to stay in the pocket. Finally, the Bills connected on the deep ball. Tyrod completed 5 passes of more than 15 yards for a total of 142 yards and a touchdown.
As Moose Johnston repeatedly said on the broadcast, LeSean McCoy said the running game would get going and boy did it. Shady had 23 carries for 91 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. He also added 5 receptions for 31 yards. After a re-dedication to running game, the Bills racked up 173 rush yards and 5.2 yards per rush.
Other contributions of note: Newly signed WR Deonte Thompson caught 4 passes for 107 yards and former QB turned TE Logan Thomas caught the Bills first touchdown from outside the red zone.
Defense: Gives up points and yards, but delivers the turnovers.
This week was easily the worst defensive performance by a unit that seemed to be one of the best in the NFL. Giving up more yards and more points to Tampa than they have given up all year. That’s the negative, but the positive is another bend but don’t break first half performance and 3 more take-a-ways to give them 13 on the season (4th most in the NFL). None being bigger than TreDavious White’s forced fumble and recovery late in the fourth quarter.
After the bye week, the defensive backfield came in as healthy as they have been all season. Two very talented WR and a stud performance by the Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard made the secondary look silly. Often there were wide open receivers, luckily the Bills are one of the best tackling teams in the NFL and rarely allow many yards after the catch. Injuries again became the story of the game as E.J. Gaines and Jordan Poyer both are banged up.
Other contributions of note: Rookie LB Matt Milano with his first career interception.
Special Teams: It’s all about the kicker.
Stephen Hauschka not only hit a 30-yard game-winning field goal with 14 seconds left but he also hit his 12th straight 50+ yard field goal to tie the NFL record.
Great team effort for a much-needed win to keep pace in the AFC East. Let’s not forget the great crowd that often made it difficult for the Bucs to communicate. And despite some interesting play calls and some horrible clock management at the end of the first half, it seems McDermott is handling this head coaching thing pretty well. Up next the Oakland Raiders comes to Buffalo!