BBD Staff Writer: John Maher
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Buffalo Bills looked to rebound against a 3-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team in order to keep any slim playoff hopes alive.
Those hopes quickly died Sunday.
BBD Editor: Dan Hope
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone at least publicly stated Friday that he believed his team was still in the playoff hunt, but that became a serious long shot after Buffalo lost to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. That led to the suggestion from some media members and Bills fans that the team should turn their focus away from making a playoff run, and toward developing its young talent as much as possible in preparation for 2014.
But regardless of what the Bills’ goal was Sunday, it wasn’t accomplished, unless that goal was to tank for better draft position.
BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
There’s not much to say about Buffalo’s pathetic performance today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Offensively, EJ Manuel had his worst outing of the year. The quarterback threw four interceptions and attempted to dink and dunk his way down the field. While Manuel wasn’t at fault for all of his interceptions, Manuel’s up and down season season hit a new low today.
Buffalo’s offensive line didn’t do Manuel and the Bills any favors either. Manuel found himself getting hit quite a bit as the Buccaneers sacked him six times. Multiple lineman were called for penalties on the day, including Eric Wood who was the weak link on the line. Wood’s biggest gaffe of the game was getting called for holding on a screen pass that C.J. Spiller took 83 yards for the touchdown. The holding penalty was especially bad as Spiller was past the player that Wood decided to hold.
Spiller and Jackson didn’t receive much help from the line and each struggled in the run game. Spiller was held to 22 yards on 11 carries and Jackson saw five carries for 12 yards.
Defensively, the Bills did a fairly good job in the second half. Unfortunately, the first half was a different story. The defense gave up an 80 yard run to Bobby Rainey on his first carry of the day and a wobbly 38 yard pass found itself in Vincent Jackson’s arms for another big play touchdown.
While those two plays were especially bad, the defense did pretty well the rest of the way. Tampa Bay had excellent field position all game thanks to Manuel’s interceptions, Leodis McKelvin’s muffed punt and many stalled drives.
For the game, Mike Glennon was held to 90 yards passing and Rainey was rather ineffective for the remainder of the game (21 carries for 47 yards).
The loss at least gives closure to any Bills fans holding out hope for a playoff appearance. Buffalo is now 4-9 and looking for it’s first road win under EJ Manuel.
BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski
Hopes were raised for Buffalo Bills fans as the team had a chance to make a run and claim the final playoff spot in the AFC by putting together a late-season win streak. The playoffs are now even more of a long shot, however, after the Bills gave a potential win away—twice—at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Buffalo’s mentality should turn toward finishing the season on a positive note and building momentum as a young team. After a loss in Toronto, the team heads to Tampa Bay on to take on a Buccaneers team full of players and coaches fighting to keep jobs.
In truth, the Buccaneers are better than their 3-9 record. They lost to the New York Jets on a costly personal foul penalty by Lavonte David that set up the Jets’ game-winning field goal one play later. They suffered a two-point loss to the 9-3 New Orleans Saints, three-point defeat at the hands of the 7-5 Arizona Cardinals and a three-point loss to the 11-1 Seattle Seahawks on the road. Tampa Bay’s schedule has been much tougher than the Bills, and having won three of their last four games, the Buccaneers are ripe to test the fragile Bills when the two teams meet Sunday for their respective Week 14 game.