The Bucs engaged in a wild offensive shootout with the Seahawks. And, in the end, Seattle QB Russell Wilson had one more bullet left to gun-sling at them in 40-34 comeback overtime victory.
Wilson lead game winning touchdown drive in overtime hitting TE Jake Hollister with a 10-yard score to end it, as Seattle erased a 21-7 first-half deficit and won for the seventh time in nine games.
The Bucs got another huge game from their QB, Jameis Winston, who threw for over 300 yards for the third consecutive game. Winston led the offensive outburst in the first half that resulted in three touchdowns. One of them with a deflected pass high in the air pulled in by receiver Breshad Perriman, who caught it at the goal line and got in the end zone for a 14 – 7 advantage.
Later in the second quarter, Winston found his favorite target, Mike Evans, on a five yard TD for the two score advantage. Evans had another monster game with 12 more catches for 180 yards, a week after having 11 catches for 198 yards at Tennessee.
Still, it was too much of Wilson, the perennial Pro Bowler, working his magic to receivers Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Wilson finished 378 yards passing and the five scores, including the game-winner.
Lockett caught 13 passes for 152 yards and 2 TD’s. Meanwhile, the rookie Metcalf roasted the Tampa Bay secondary mostly in the second half for 6 catches 123 yards and a score.
The Buccaneers tied the game in the final minute after Winston scrambled 6 yards on 4th and 5 deep in Seahawks territory to keep a drive alive. He later found Evans for a catch down to the Seahawks one yard line and backup running back Dare Ogunbawale banged it in, as the Bucs tied the game at 34 with an extra point.
Seattle had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation as Wilson moved them into scoring range before they took their final timeout But, kicker Jason Myers missed his second field goal of the day, and third kick over all in the game with no time left.
Still, Seahawks won the coin toss in OT and needed only to get a touchdown to end the game, which Wilson got them on 10 play, 75 yard drive.
The loss basically signals the end of the Buccaneers 2019 season. When it looked as though they had turned things around with a huge win 55 – 40 week four win in Los Angeles to get to 2-2, they have now gone on to lose four games in a row and five out of six overall, to drop to 2 – 6.
That currently has them five games behind the New Orleans Saints in the division and now, four games out of the NFC wildcard picture.
Still, there are lots of things to build on, including the effort the Bucs showed throughout the day in battling with the always strong Seahawks.
However, it was Wilson and the 26th time he’s led 4th quarter or OT winning drive that this game will be most remembered for by fans.
Saints bounce back for impressive win over Bucs
The Bucs were hoping to make it back-to-back wins, as the first place Saints came limping to town Sunday. But in the end, the same mistakes that have plagued them throughout the first nine games of the season came to the forefront again, and New Orleans rebounded to beat them decisively 34 – 17.
Drew Brees (above) bounced back from a poor game last week in a 26-9 loss to Atlanta to throw for three touchdowns, and the Saints defense collected four interceptions on Bucs QB Jameis Winston in the victory.
New Orleans jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on a pair of Will Lutz field goals, the second of which was set up when Winston passed to O.J. Howard and it bounced off of his hands deflecting into the air and was picked off by linebacker Demario Davis.
One play later, Brees found Michael Thomas, the league’s leading receiver in receptions and yards per game, but was somehow wide open with a 16 yard score and a 13-0 lead. The Saints, who had their six-game winning streak snapped a week ago, stayed on the gas and when Brees found tight end Jared Cook for a leaping 3 yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone, it was 20 – 0.
The Bucs 32nd ranked pass defense looked the part for a lot of Sunday, as well.
Meanwhile, Winston and the Tampa Bay offense finally got on the board, when RB Peyton Barber concluded a seven play 75 yard drive with a 6 yard touchdown to trim the lead to 20 – 7. Then, the Bucs were moving the ball late in the first half for another possible score, but Winston was intercepted on another deflected pass by DB Vaughn Bell. And, the Saints took a 13-point lead to the locker room.
In second half leading 20 – 10 New Orleans extended the lead with an 10 play 75 yard drive that culminated, when Brees found Ted Ginn wide open at the goal line from 6 yards out to make it a 17 point advantage.
The Bucs continue to fight, got a WR Chris Godwin 30 yard catch and run TD and got the ball back down 10 points.
Driving out to midfield, Tampa Bay looked like they had a 4th down conversion with 11 minutes to go in the game, when Winston completed a slant pass to Mike Evans. However, the referees called offensive pass interference and Coach Bruce Arians challenged the play. The New York replay command center agreed with the officials that it was interference and at the call stood.
So, that erased a Bucs first down and put the offense in a fourth and long. The Bucs decided to punt after the controversial penalty.
The Buccaneers defense held and got the ball back, but after getting a quick first down, Winston was picked off for the third time in the game. This time by Marcus Williams, who raced 55 yards for the pick six touchdown and basically, the clinching score.
Winston did finish with 313 yard passing, but with four more interceptions, he still leads the NFL with 18 picks through 10 games.
As for the Saints, they clearly got their swagger back on the road after scoring only nine points at a home last week. New Orleans completes the season sweep of Tampa Bay with the victory and looks to stay in the hunt for a first weekend bye in the NFL playoffs with a now 8 – 2 record.
The Buccaneers are now 3 – 7 and headed towards what is apparently going to be a fifth losing season in their last 6 years and their 10th in their last 12 seasons overall.
And, the questions will only continue to mount about the franchise keeping Winston beyond this season. He is not signed to a long-term deal and his record is now 7 – 22 in his last 29 games he’s started in last three seasons.
Saints bad injury news is good for Bucs- Evans matchup
As the Bucs get set the host of first place Saints Sunday, Tampa Bay has caught a break with a key injury in New Orleans secondary. This after the Saints have already ruled out defensive back Marshon Lattimore due to a hamstring injury.
Coach Sean Payton informed the media after Saints practice that Lattimore, who left last week’s game with Atlanta with the injury, will not be able to suit up, specifically to go one-on-one against Bucs WR Mike Evans.
And, former first round pick Lattimore has usually gotten the better of the head-to-head matchups over the past three seasons (above) with Evans. This would include the game in New Orleans earlier this year, when the Saints/Lattimore held Evans without a reception for the first time in over four seasons.
However, Evans has been coming on since then, including back-to-back games against the Titans and the Seahawks where he had over 175 five yards receiving and two touchdowns in each. A week ago, the former number one pick finished with four catches for 82 yards in the Bucs 30 – 27 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
New Orleans may likely put former #1 pick Eli Apple on Evans, now, for much of the game.
Payton also ruled out starting offensive guard Andrus Peat due to a fractured forearm, which further complicates a run game with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray that has yet to get on track this season.
Meanwhile for Tampa Bay, they will be without pass rusher Carl Nassib for the second straight game due to a groin injury and Coach Bruce Arians also told the media that defensive back M.J. Stewart will not play due to an injured knee.
The Buccaneers secondary is in flux after releasing former number 1 pick Vernon Hargreaves earlier in the week but it is expected that rookies Sean Murphy Bunting and Jamel Dean will see action in Hargreaves is place against Drew Brees in the high-powered Saints offense. Dean had the critical interception of Kyler Murray late in the game last week, which led to the Bucs eventually game winning TD drive.
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