The brutal seven week stretch without a single game in Raymond James Stadium is finally over. The Buccaneers are back in Tampa for a home game, the first one since September 22. Tampa was only able to win one game over the last seven weeks and now sit at 2-6. Head Coach Bruce Arians has now earned his first four game losing streak has a head coach. Will home field advantage help Tampa Bay break the streak?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a heart-breaking loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Jameis Winston had his best game of the season in Seattle and managed to force overtime, however in overtime Russel Wilson marches right down the field and won the game. The Arizona Cardinals are also coming off a loss to the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. Kyler Murray has had a very impressive rookie season and could be poised for a big day against the struggling Tampa secondary. While the Buccaneers have had no trouble scoring, they have struggled with turnover. Winston is among the league leaders in turnovers while Murray is on pace to set rookie records for his ability to avoid turnovers.
A slow start
On the third play of the game Jameis Winston threw an interception. Not an ideal start. Fortunately the defense was able to hold Arizona to a field goal. On the Buccaneers second drive of the game they relied heavily on the run and screen game to move down the field. Ronald Jones ended the drive with a 7 yard run into the end zone, giving Tampa the lead. Both teams would trade field goals after the Ronald Jones touchdown making the score 10-6 Tampa. The next four drives all ended in punts as both Murray and Winston struggled to get into rhythm.
A Furious Finish
After trading multiple punts Kyler Murray got the Arizona offense going. Pinned inside his own ten he kept the ball on a read option gaining 34 yards. Seven plays later Murray hit Christian Kirk for a 33 yard touchdown. Giving the Cardinals the lead with only 1:03 showing on the game clock.
With only a minute left Tampa started marching down the field. Winston looked sharp operating the offense in hurry up mode. Now under a 20 second’s Winston hit OJ Howard who made a spectacular catch for a 26 yard gain. In case you forget OJ Howard does still play tight end for the Buccaneers. On the very next play OJ Howard caught his first touchdown of the season giving Tampa a 17-13 lead at the half.
Murray to Kirk
What a day for a guy who had yet score a touchdown this season. Kyler Murray found Kirk not once, not twice, but three times in the end zone. Kirk’s second touchdown tied the game at twenty and his third touchdown gave the Cardinals the lead in the fourth quarter. Kyler Murray nearly had a perfect game until an arid throw late in the fourth quarter gave Tampa the ball back with time to score. Rookie Jamel Dean came up with the timely interception, the first of his career.
Tampa wins in it in crunch time
Winston and the offense took the field after Dean’s interception needing a touchdown to take the lead. The first play of the drive Winston hit Godwin for a 49 yard gain. The offense continued to move the ball down the field and a defensive pass interference call in the end zone set them up at the one yard line. It took a few tries but on third down Peyton Barber was able to punch it in for a touchdown and a 30-27 lead with 1:43 left.
With the game on the line the young and inconsistent Buccaneer defense took the field. Murray was able to move the ball to midfield due to a pass interference call on Vernon Hargreaves. On the very next play however a holding called moved Murray back to the 38. With 18 seconds left the defense held on to force two incomplete passes and earn the Buccaneers their first home win of the season.
Jamel Dean. After his abysmal game last weak he really came up big in this game. He not only had the interception that kept Tampa in the game against the Cardinals but also had key pass break ups.
Tampa Bay hosts the New Orleans Saint’s on Sunday, Novemver 17th.
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