Right on all accounts.
The Buccaneers’ 24-21 victory over the Lions at Ford Field was indeed a great win, the most emotionally satisfying outing of the season for a team that struggled through a myriad of troubles en route to an 0-8 start. Tampa Bay has now countered with three straight victories, and the third one was by every meaning of the word a “team” win.
Rookie CB Johnthan Banks’ one-handed interception of a pass that was briefly in Calvin Johnson’s grasp at the Buccaneers’ three-yard line before S Kelcie McCray jarred it loose, sealed Tampa Bay’s first road victory of the season. It was Tampa Bay’s fifth takeaway of the game – and a blocked punt was an unofficial sixth stolen possession – against zero turnovers by the offense. CB Leonard Johnson returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter S
The Buccaneers arrived in Detroit without starting middle linebacker
The Buccaneers plumbed every corner of their depth chart in order to hold Detroit in check and put together enough offense to come away with the win. Veteran
Throughout the game, Hayward saw a number of new faces around him, from CB
“This is definitely a game where a lot of people had to step up,” said Hayward. “I don’t know exactly how many it was, but there were a lot of young faces in there. We had to use everybody today, and it was great because everybody came in and you couldn’t even tell that whoever was out was out. It was awesome to see everybody come together and really play.”
Banks’ interception came at the end of a half that proved to be far more challenging than he could have anticipated. When Revis left due to his groin injury, the Buccaneers shifted the rookie cornerback into every-down coverage of Johnson, the NFL’s leading receiver. Johnson caught seven passes for 115 yards in the game but had no plays longer than 21 yards and never found the end zone.
“This was just a great team win,” said QB Mike Glennon, who threw two touchdown passes to WR Tiquan Underwood, the second one an 85-yarder that provided the game-winning points. “Hats off to our defense. Johnthan Banks, after Revis went down, to be put in that situation against one of the best receivers of our generation and to come up with an interception at the end is just amazing.”
Glennon is no longer a surprise contributor, of course, having started his eighth consecutive game, but he continued to build on his impressive rookie season. Glennon completed 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards, two touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions, compiling a passer rating of 138.4. He had to carry the offense with Detroit’s excellent run defense shutting down RB
“They were keying so much on Vincent that we knew other players were going to have to step up, and both him and Timmy Wright really did,” said Glennon.
Underwood finished the game with 108 yards on three catches, most of it on that big play early in the fourth quarter when he caught a deep pass over the middle and wouldn’t allow two pursuing defenders to catch him.
“Offense, defense, special teams…we finally put it all together,” he said. “Each phase of the game stepped up today and pulled out a great win against a good football team.”
The Buccaneers scored first, capitalizing on the their first turnover. After David made a diving interception of a pass deflected by CB Leonard Johnson, Glennon drove the offense 58 yards to set up
After the Bucs got the scoring started, the two offenses began trading blows in rapid succession. Stafford led an 80-yard drive that ended in a five-yard scoring toss to Burleson, who caught four passes on the possession. Glennon answered immediately with a 47-yard bomb down the right sideline to Jackson that kick-started a quick 80-yard touchdown drive, ending in Tiquan Underwood’s seven-yard grab just across the goal line. Stafford fired back with another 80-yard drive that concluded in TE Joseph Fauria’s toe-tapping 10-yard TD catch in the back right corner of the end zone.
The Lions were threatening to build on their lead just before halftime until Johnson flipped the script with his second career pick-six, jumping in front of TE Brandon Pettigrew to catch Stafford’s pass on the run, and then eluding Stafford’s tackle attempt at the 20. That allowed the Bucs to take a 17-14 lead into the locker room at the half.
Detroit reclaimed the lead on their first drive of the second half, as Stafford drove the offense 69 yards on eight plays and finished it with an 18-yard TD pass down the middle of the field to TE Brandon Pettigrew. Stafford tried to go over the middle and into the end zone on the Lions’ next possession, as well, but Tandy intercepted it at the goal line.
The Bucs’ first defensive series was an outstanding one, as Bush’s first run was stopped for loss of two by DE
Stafford’s first completion of the game was an eight-yarder over the middle to Burleson, and an encroachment flag on DT
That gave the ball back to the Bucs at their own 22, but the drive moved backward a holding call on G
Stafford converted a third-and-six after another Clayborn TFL by escaping quick pressure and eventually throwing across the field to Burleson for eight. Three plays later, on the next third down, the Lions ran a perfect screen pass that freed Burleson up for a 29-yard gain. Hustling LB Lavonte David helped prevent a touchdown and even forced Burleson to fumble, but the ball rolled out of bounds. The first quarter came to an end on that play. To start the second period, Stafford enjoyed excellent protection and eventually was able to find a wide-open Burleson down at the Bucs’ 18. A holding call backed the Lions up 10 yards, but Calvin Johnson’s first catch of the game on a quick slant got 19 yards to the nine. David stopped Bush just short of a first down on a second-and-one run but Stafford easily got the necessary yards with a sneak up the middle, getting all the way to the five. On the next play, Stafford faked a handoff to Bush, wheeled around and threw a quick dart to Burleson, who was wide open cutting across the middle of the end zone.
The Buccaneers answered immediately with a matching 80-yard scoring drive, getting started with another impressive play on a deep ball by Jackson for 47 yards. Glennon converted the drive’s one third down by scrambling out of trouble and improving a 16-yard strike to Underwood at the Detroit 10. Two plays later, Glennon found Underwood again just across the goal line for the go-ahead score.
A shootout began to develop as Stafford came right back with throws of 18 yards to Kris Durham and Calvin Johnson, and a roughing-the-passer call on S
A quick slant to Johnson converted a short third down and put the ball just over midfield, with the Lions calling their first timeout with 1:01 left in the half. After the short break, Stafford tried to throw left to TE Brandon Pettigrew, but Johnson zipped into the picture and caught the pass on the run. Johnson just avoided Stafford’s attempt to get him down at the 20, then took it the rest of the way into the end zone for a 48-yard pick-six that gave the Bucs a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Bucs got the ball first to start the second half but it didn’t prove to be much of an advantage when they moved backward in three plays and ended up punting from their 13. Koenen helped with a 56-yard punt that rolled to a stop at the Detroit 31, but Stafford got the ball into Buccaneer territory with a pair of third-down completions to Johnson, the second one a 21-yard play down to the 29. Three plays later, Pettigrew leaped to catch a 23-yard touchdown pass just over the outstretched hand of LB Adam Hayward.
The Bucs got good field position to start their next drive thanks to Eric Page’s 39-yard kickoff return, but they failed to get a first down and had to punt again. The punt pushed Detroit back to their 20, but on the first play from scrimmage Bush found a seam and blasted downfield for 39 yards to the Bucs’ 41. LB Dekoda Watson’s sack nearly ended the drive, but S Mark Barron was flagged for pass interference on a third-down incompletion and it was first down at the Bucs’ 36.
Two plays later, Stafford tried to go deep down the middle to Johnson but Tandy was waiting and he stepped into the path of the ball to pick it off near the goal line, returning it 16 yards to the Bucs’ 17. A 14-yard catch by Wright moved the chains once but a pair of penalties on the offensive line then short-circuited the drive and Koenen had to punt again.
A tipped pass by LB
That just gave Glennon more room to work with. After one first down got the ball out to the 15, Glennon threw deep down the middle of the field to Underwood, who had gotten behind the defense on a post. The ball hit Underwood in stride and he was able to run away from two pursuing defenders for an 85-yard touchdown.
The Buccaneers then forced Detroit to punt once again, with this stop keyed by Clayborn’s sack of Stafford on third-and-11. The Lions tried to kick it away but Martin was swarmed over by the rush and CB Danny Gorrer got the block. FB
That kept the lead at three points, and the Lions took a gamble moments later by going for it on fourth-and-inches from their own 34. Three plays later, Stafford completed a pass to Durham on third-and-11 that would have moved the chains, but Durham dropped the ball as he was falling out of bounds. S Kelcie McCray recovered for the Buccaneers and returned it to Detroit’s 37. The play was reviewed by replay and upheld.
- The Buccaneers declared the following six players inactive for Sunday’s game: FB
- The Lions deactivated the following seven players: WR Micheal Spurlock, QB Kellen Moore, RB Mikel Leshoure, CB Jonté Green, G Leroy Harris, T Corey Hilliard and DE Austen Lane. Hilliard was out due to injury.
- LB Lavonte David’s interception in the first quarter was his second of the season. David is the first Buccaneer to have at least five sacks and at least two interceptions in a single season since Gaines Adams in 2008. David is the sixth player in franchise history to pull off that particular feat.
- QB Mike Glennon’s second-quarter touchdown pass to WR Tiquan Underwood came on the second play after the offense earned a first-and-goal at the Detroit 10. That marked the eighth straight time that the Bucs had turned a goal-to-go situation into a touchdown.
- CB Leonard Johnson’s 48-yard interception return for a touchdown followed on the heels of Mason Foster’s 37-yard pick-six last Sunday against Atlanta. That marks the first time the Buccaneers have had interception returns for touchdowns in consecutive games since 2003, when CB Ronde Barber did it against Indianapolis (Oct. 6) and Derrick Brooks did it at Washington (Oct. 12).
- WR Tiquan Underwood’s 85-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was the fourth-longest passing player in Buccaneers franchise history, and the third-longest that resulted in a score. Vincent Jackson’s 95-yard (non-scoring) catch against New Orleans last year (Oct. 21) is the team record, and Willie Drewrey had an 89-yard TD catch in 1990 and an 87-yard scoring grab in 1991.