Buccaneers NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Buccaneers Can’t Complete Late Comeback; Fall to Bills 24-18

Thursday night football came down to the wire Thursday, with the Buffalo Bills hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams had struggled coming into the game, with Tampa Bay losing three out of its last four and Buffalo losing to the 2-5 New England Patriots in Week 7. While the Buccaneers had a lot of fight, they ultimately came up short in a game that came right down to the final play, losing 24-18.

The Breakdown

Both teams started off slow, and Buffalo scored the lone points in the first quarter off of a Tyler Bass field goal. However, the Bills started to click in the second quarter, scoring quickly on a 13-yard Josh Allen run.

Though, Baker Mayfield and the Bucs had something to say, scoring ten unanswered points to tie the game at 10 with just under seven minutes remaining in the half. A Chase McLaughlin field goal cut the Buffalo lead to seven. Shortly thereafter, William Gholston picked off Allen on the first play of the ensuing drive, leading to a three-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin.

The Bills responded, taking a 17-10 lead heading into the half off of a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Kinkaid.

The Bills opened the second half scoring immediately, needing just over four minutes to get the ball in the endzone. Allen threw for his second touchdown of the day, finding Gabe Davis for a four-yard score. The Buffalo offense was silent from that point on, and Tampa Bay was not much better.

With another Buccaneer loss looming, a seven-minute drive in the fourth quarter finally got the Buccaneers back in the game. Mayfield threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans, and another tipped pass equaled a two-point conversion catch for Cade Otton, making things interesting with 2:44 to go. Tampa Bay trailed 24-18, needing the ball back. Buffalo punted back to the Bucs with 21 seconds remaining and no timeouts. After getting the ball to their own 45, Mayfield threw a prayer up. However, a failed Hail Mary resulted in a 24-18 loss for the Buccaneers.

The Stats

Josh Allen led the way for Buffalo, throwing for 324 yards, three total touchdowns (two passing) and one interception. Allen also had 41 yards on the ground. Khalil Shakir was a pleasant surprise in the game, leading all Buffalo receivers with six receptions for 92 yards. Gabe Davis was right behind him, hauling in nine catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Dalton Kincaid caught the only other touchdown in the game for Buffalo.

The Buffalo defense was stifling in this one, sacking Mayfield three times. Buffalo had eight pass deflections, 10 quarterback hits and three tackles for loss.

Running back Rachaad White played exceptionally well, leading the Buccaneers in rushing yards (39) and receiving yards (70). He also led the team in receptions with seven. Baker Mayfield threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans caught the two touchdowns of the game for Tampa Bay.

The Bucs defense had two sacks, four tackles for loss, six pass deflections and three quarterback hits.

What’s Next

Tampa Bay currently sits in second in the NFC South with a 3-4 record. On Nov. 5, they head to Houston for a matchup with the Texans and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.

The Bills are also second in their division, sitting below the Dolphins in the AFC East. Buffalo is 5-3 on the year and heads to Cincinnati Nov. 5 for a matchup with the Bengals.

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