Week 2 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 3, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19
What you need to know
J.P. Losman learned that life on the road versus a quality opponent is much different than at home versus a weak one. As good as Losman looked last week at home against Houston, he looked that bad Sunday against Tampa Bay. If Losman didn’t underthrow his receivers, it seemed he was sailing passes over them. He regularly threw behind his receivers on simple out routes. In the end a rookie mistake turned a scoreless game in favor of the home team. Under pressure, Losman stepped out of the end zone before throwing the ball away and got charged with a safety. The Buccaneers scored on the ensuing drive to take control of the game.
With Losman having a horrible day, the Buccaneers’ defense was able to concentrate on stopping Willis McGahee and did so successfully. McGahee never had room to run and finished with a mere 34 yards.
Obviously, Losman’s inability to hit a receiver limited their effectiveness on the day. Eric Moulds and Lee Evans combined for 3 catches for 20 yards. Josh Reed was the Bills’ best receiver with 71 yards, although 40 came on the final drive in garbage time.
Although the Bills were outplayed early on, their defense kept the game scoreless. However, it seemed after Losman took the safety that the defense lost a bit and started to get run on by the Buccaneers. Too much time on the field finally caught up to them and the Buccaneers were able to take advantage.
Tampa Bay had surprisingly good success running against the Bills. Rookie Cadillac Williams broke down and softened the Bills’ defense so that eventually he and Michael Pittman were able to rip off big runs. These runs opened the field so that Brian Griese had room to hit Michael Clayton for big plays that led to both of Tampa’s touchdowns.
Brian Griese had an efficient day working off the success of the running game to hurt the Bills with two important throws. On the drive after Losman’s safety, the Buccaneers ran to just inside the red zone but it was Griese scrambling to avoid a sack who made a clutch pass to Clayton to move the ball to the one yard line. In the third quarter Griese hit Clayton in the seam on a 34 yard pass that led to the Buccaneers second touchdown.
Cadillac Williams showed why the Buccaneers made him their top pick in the draft. Against one of the NFL’s top defenses, Williams ran for 128 yards with 3 runs over 19 yards.
Last year’s top rookie, Michael Clayton, was basically the entire passing game accounting for 84 of the 136 yards passing. The only other wide receiver with a reception was Ike Hilliard, with both his receptions resulting in first downs. Last week’s star, tight end Alex Smith, was held to one catch.
The Buccaneers’ defense was reminiscent of their championship days as they completely controlled the game. Their speed filled any holes McGahee may have seen and they didn’t allow him to hurt them on cutbacks. The only negative overall for the Buccaneers was the fact they committed 13 penalties.
What you ought to know
|QB J.P. Losman, Pass: 12 - 29 - 113 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0|
Just the type of game you would expect from a rookie in his first road start against a defense like Tampa’s. Losman’s throws were everywhere but in his receiver’s hands. In fact his first attempt of the game hit Derrick Brooks right in the hands, but he somehow dropped it or he would have ended up in the end zone. Losman was also lucky later in the game when another interception was dropped. He struggled to complete simple out patterns as he missed Eric Moulds 4 times on these patterns. With 9 minutes left in the game and Losman standing at 5 of 17 for 39 yards, Kelly Holcomb replaced Losman for one drive. Losman was not injured and returned on the next drive which happened to be the final drive of the game.
Willis McGahee had no room to run all day. He was hit at the line of scrimmage on almost every attempt and even when he avoided the first wave of defenders he was cut off by the Buccaneers’ speed and not allowed to cut back.
No rushing attempts for Williams but he did catch 3 passes – all on the final drive.
Reed was the leading receiver for the Bills with 71 yards, 30 coming on a pass in the seam on the final drive that got the Bills down to the six yard line. Otherwise, most all other targets were underneath and the only ones Losman seemed to be able to complete on this day.
Evans was very quiet with only two catches. With the Buccaneers’ cover two and the lack of time for Losman in the pocket, the Bills did not have a chance to utilize Evans’ speed in this game.
Moulds was missed on four out routes that Losman underthrew and he was clearly frustrated. Moulds did look to be open on all the incompletions. He was targeted on one deep ball to the end zone but double coverage broke it up.
Campbell had one catch for 0 yards.
Lindell was successful from 40 yards on his only attempt.
The Bills’ run defense had a hard time containing Cadillac Williams who had 3 runs over 19 yards. Williams often ran through the defensive line and the Bills did a poor job of tackling, especially in the secondary. Even Michael Pittman was able to average over 6 yards per carry while giving Cadillac a breather.
The Bills held Brian Griese to 136 yards passing but gave up a couple big completions that put the Buccaneers inside the 10 yard line. Both of those completions were with Terrence McGee covering Michael Clayton.
|QB Brian Griese, Pass: 16 - 22 - 136 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -2 - 0|
A very efficient day for Griese who connected on 72% of his passes but for only 136 yards. More than one third of Griese’s yards came on three completions to Michael Clayton. Once Williams softened the defense, Griese was able to hit Clayton to set up the two touchdowns. The first touchdown was set up by a nice scrambling toss to Clayton who was stopped at the one. In the third quarter Griese hit Clayton on a crisp 30 yard pass in the seam that went to the six yard line. Griese nearly scored a rushing TD when he was stopped at the one on a rollout. An overall good job of managing the game.
Williams showed speed, strength, elusiveness and the ability to break tackles. The Bills have a strong defense but Williams shrugged off tackles both high and low. This allowed him to hit the Bills for three rushes over 19 yards. On his touchdown run he was hit at the line and wrapped up by two defenders but twisted and stretched the ball across the goalline. Williams left the game early in the third for a sprained foot but only missed one series. Interestingly, he saw 0 pass targets, but that is what Pittman is for.
Pittman ran one full series in place of Cadillac Williams while he rested his foot. Pittman benefited from Williams’ opening up the Bills defense and averaged almost seven yards per carry himself.
|RB Mike Alstott, Rush: 6 - 19 - 1, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)|
Alstott scored the Buccaneers’ first touchdown from one yard out after Griese was stopped for no gain on the play before. Again, Alstott was used on short yardage to kill the clock at the end of the game.
Clayton was by far Griese’s favorite target catching six of the nine targets. Griese found Clayton on a floater that Clayton caught but was stopped at the one. In the third Clayton split two defenders to make a 30 yard catch to get the Buccaneers down to the six. Clayton did not have any red zone targets.
Hilliard caught both of his targets for first downs and was the only other wide receiver to make a catch.
Becht was targeted on a rollout by Griese from the five and made the catch for a two yard gain.
Smith was quiet after a big debut week one.
Bryant was successful on his only attempt from 40 yards.
The Buccaneers completely stuffed Willis McGahee and the Bills rushing attack. McGahee never had an opening and was regularly hit immediately at the line of scrimmage.
J.P. Losman was completely outmatched against the Buccaneers’ defense. The Buccaneers never allowed him to get comfortable and forced him to make good passes if he was to make completions. J.P. didn’t. Still, the defense could have had an even better day as both Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber dropped sure interceptions that would have been returned for touchdowns.