The Buccaneers suffered another close loss this time at the hands of the Detroit Lions, 24-21.
The defense had a chance to save the game, but stop me if you heard this before failed to make a stop when it counted. The defense didn’t play that poorly overall, forcing several turnovers.
However, they rarely pressured Stafford and didn’t record a sack.
The offense struggled to keep drives alive. Jameis was constantly under pressure again and that led to him making a few mistakes. The running game was there for everyone but Doug Martin and helped open up the passing game a bit.
This was a wild wacky game that was turnover filled. There were a joint eight turnovers with the Bucs committing the larger share with five.
Without further ado, let’s get to the key plays.
Matthew Stafford 27 yard pass to Theo Riddick 10:08: Q1
After the Lions first drive ended on a three and out, Stafford made sure that didn’t happen again.
On a third and three from their own 33, Stafford found Riddick in space over the middle and Riddick did the rest. Riddick would rumble for 27 yards to the Tampa Bay 40.
This was a key play because the Lions converted a key third down and got into the Bucs territory.
Theo Riddick two-yard touchdown run 8:05: Q1
Following the big play by Riddick earlier, the Lions and Riddick would finish off their drive. Stafford would continue to throw for chunks of yardage on the Bucs. Stafford would throw a 23-yard pass to get all the way to the Bucs two and set up Riddick. The very next play, Riddick would run it in from two yards out.
This was a key play because it was the first touchdown of the day and the Lions had taken the early lead.
Jameis Winston 21 yard pass to OJ Howard: 5:38 Q1
The Bucs responded to the Lions drive with a nice looking one so far. The Bucs were moving the ball very well and has reached Detroit territory.
On a first and ten from the Detroit 41, Winson found Howard deep over the middle for a 21 yard gain to reach the red zone. This was the biggest play of the day for the Bucs.
This was a key play because it was a big pickup that put the Bucs in a good position to score points.
Doug Martin one-yard touchdown run: 2:51 Q1
After OJ Howard got the Bucs to the red-zone, Doug Martin took over from there.
Martin picked up the rest of the twenty yards through the ground and air. On a third and goal from the one, Martin plunged into the end zone after his four-yard carry set the Bucs up at the one.
This was a key play because the Bucs scored a touchdown to tie the game up again.
Lavonte David Forced Fumble: 2:44 Q1
If the Bucs force a fumble you just know who is going to be picking it up or forcing it.
This time, it was David that did both. Stafford hit Ebron on a short pass that would pick up eleven yards. However, before Ebron could make a move upfield David punched the ball out and fell on top of it as well. David leads the league in forced fumbles and fumble recoveries.
This was a key play because the Bucs turned the Lions over and received solid field position as well.
Quandre Diggs Forced Fumble: 1:58 Q1
What looked like a promising drive for the Bucs was derailed by a fumble of their own.
A play after hitting Jackson for sixteen yards, Winston appeared to have found Howard for a gain of 21 yards. Chaos ensued, the refs went back and forth on the call before finally declaring that it was an incomplete pass.
Detroit would go on to challenge this call believing that Howard had caught and fumbled the ball. Detroit’s belief was correct as it was ruled that Howard had fumbled and Slay recovered to give the Lions the ball.
This was a key play because the Lions turned the Bucs over on a dangerous drive.
Darius Slay Interception: 11:04 Q2
The turnover-fest carried into the second quarter. Barber had run three times to pick up a first then set up a second and nine.
On the second and nine Winston was looking for Jackson on a comeback route, but Jackson did not really go after the ball and Slay would undercut him and snag the ball.
The ball was not thrown very well in truth, but it was one Jackson should have caught or at the very least prevent Slay from catching.
This was a key play because the Lions turned the Bucs over and were in Tampa Bay territory.
Matthew Stafford 38 yard pass to Marvin Jones Jr.: 8:25 Q2
Stafford had already converted one third down to keep the drive alive and looked as if he may need to pick up another one. Detroit was set up with a second and 20 after an offensive pass interference call on Golden Tate.
On second and 20, Stafford found Jones Jr deep down the middle to the Tampa Bay five for a 38 yard gain.
This was a key play because the Lions picked up big yardage and were in a great position to score.
Matthew Stafford five-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate: 7:36 Q2
Stafford wasted no time in scoring after the big play to Jones Jr. Just the next play, Stafford hit Tate for the touchdown to regain the lead.
This was a key play because the Lions scored a touchdown to retake the lead.
Doug Martin fumble: 3:41 Q2
The Buccaneers again decided that they did not want to keep the football. Tampa Bay committed their third turnover in as many drives.
Winston led the Bucs deep into Detroit territory, hitting Martino and Godwin for big gains. The Bucs stalled in the red zone which has been a recurring theme.
On a third and one, Martin attempted to bounce it to the outside and instead he was stripped by Glover Quin and the Lions recovered and would take over.
This was a key play because it prevented the Bucs from being able to score points.
Brent Grimes interception: 2:00 Q2
Brent Grimes still has it and he is still making quarterbacks pay for throwing in his direction. The Lions had entered Bucs territory just before the two-minute warning following a 3 yard run by Green. On a second and seven, Stafford attempted to throw it over to Golladay, but Grimes jumped up and made an acrobatic interception.
This was a key play because the Bucs intercepted Stafford and took the Lions out of position to score.
Robert McClain interception: 0:19 Q2
Stafford blew another chance to score. Stafford wanted to add to the Lions seven-point lead before the half. The Lions were at the Bucs 30 after a few passes by Stafford.
On a first and ten, Stafford made another boneheaded play. Stafford tried to force it to Tate but McClain read it and intercepted it.
This was a key play because the Bucs prevented another Lions scoring opportunity.
Quandre Diggs interception: 11:54 Q3
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Out of the half, Winston looked good to start the drive. The Bucs were just outside of Detroit territory after a four-yard run by Barber. On second and six, Jameis looked for Howard, but the pass sailed away into the hands of Diggs.
After taking another look, it certainly looked as if Howard was being held. However, Jameis cannot expect the refs to make every call, especially not for the Bucs.
This was a key play because the Lions turned the Bucs over again for the fourth time, killing off a promising drive.
Jameis Winston fumble: 6:14 Q3
These are the plays that Winston continues to make and it is costing the team. For some reason, Jameis just refuses to take a sack and attempts to throw the ball only to fumble it.
Jameis should be disciplined the next time he does this, even if it means sitting out a drive.
However, this play took a wild turn when it appeared that Tahir Whitehead had fumbled the ball after recovering it. The play would be reviewed and it was seen that Whitehead was down before fumbling.
This was a key play because it was the fifth turnover forced by the Lions and the second time they forced turnovers on back to back possessions this game.
Theo Riddick eighteen yard rushing touchdown: 3:11 Q3
The Lions would finally cash in on the Bucs turnover. Stafford moved Detroit deep into the Bucs territory before Riddick took matters into his own hands.
On first and ten from the Bucs eighteen Riddick broke several tackles en route to scoring his second touchdown of the game.
This was a key play because it was a touchdown that put the Lions up, 21-7.
Jameis Winston two-yard touchdown pass to OJ Howard: 13:01 Q4
The Buccaneers finally responded with a scoring drive of their own. This drive was highlighted by a big run by Desean Jackson.
Winston also found the rookie Godwin for nineteen yards. A scramble by Jameis put the Bucs inside the Lions ten. From there, the Bucs would need three more plays to score. On a third and goal from the two, Winston found Howard for the first touchdown of the second half for Tampa Bay.
This was a key play because the Bucs scored a touchdown that cut the lead back down to 7.
Jameis Winston two-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Wester: 8:05 Q4
Big man touchdown! The Bucs defense held on back to back possession and gave the offense a chance. This drive was helped in part by a big pass interference call on DJ Hayden that set the Bucs up on the Detroit eighteen.
From there, Barber rushed sixteen yards down to the two. On the first and goal from the two, Koetter dialed up his most trusted target, none other than the tackle Leonard Wester. This is definitely a story Wester will tell his grandkids one day.
This was a key play because it was a fun touchdown that tied the game back up for the Bucs.
Matt Prater 46 yard field goal: 0:20 Q4
The Lions got the ball back late in the game and Stafford did what he does best. Stafford led the Lions down the field, converting a critical third down in the process.
Stafford brought Detroit down to the Bucs 28 in a time-eating drive. The drive stalled, but the Lions were in range for Prater and from 46 yards out Prater was automatic.
This was a key play because it was the winning score.
The Buccaneers season is like déjà vu repeatedly. The defense makes a stop, giving the offense a chance. The offense then fails to even come close to scoring and then the defense collapses and gives away the game. Both sides of the ball are to blame, but the offense has to at least somewhat sustain a drive.
The main storyline of this game was the turnovers. The Bucs had committed five turnovers to the Lions three and the Lions would win because of it. Detroit did not turn the ball over in the second half, while Winston turned it over twice.
The hope is that the Bucs learn from these close losses, but they have yet to do that. The Bucs should be able to close out games and their inability to falls on coaching than it does being unlucky.
The Bucs will take on the Falcons on Monday Night, I am just hoping the Bucs do not get embarrassed on National Television again.