The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 12, 27-20. In a late game of cat-and-mouse, the Colts came out on top. Under the two-minute warning, a strip sack and fumble recovery by Indianapolis secured the home team's victory.
On the Bucs' opening possession, the visiting team marched down the field, courtesy of a Cade Otton 24-yard gain and a 19-yarder by Mike Evans. Otton juked defenders and cut inside for additional yardage and Evans leapt over a Colts' defender showcasing his trademark highpoint prowess for the grab. On a quarterback sneak at the goal line, Baker Mayfield was shaken up and Kyle Trask came in at quarterback. The Bucs were not able to cash in with seven and settled for a Chase McLaughlin 21-yard field goal on the 15-play, 72-yard drive.
On the ensuing drive, the Bucs' defense got a stop and forced a field goal. On third-and-ten, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka lined up on the interior than looped around to the left edge post-snap and dropped Gardner Minshew for a nine-yard sack, culminating in a Matt Gay 46-yard field goal. Mayfield was intercepted on the next possession by Ronnie Harrison at the 50. Harrison returned the pick nine yards to the Tampa Bay 41-yard line, providing positive field position for the Colts' offensive cast. The Colts quickly cashed in on a four-play drive. Two back-to-back 17-yard gains for Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor, set up the score. Taylor ran around the left tackle for a touchdown, giving Indianapolis a 10-3 lead to end the first quarter.
To open the second quarter, the Bucs followed with a quick three-and-out. Mayfield was sacked on third down by Samson Ebukam, which stalled the club's drive. The Colts answered with seven, as a 24-yard catch-and-run by Michael Pittman down the left sideline set up a two-yard Minshew quarterback scramble for the score. After another three-and-out for the Bucs' offense, the Bucs' defense stepped up. Carlton Davis III picked off Gardner Minshew at the Indy 19-yard line and returned it three yards to the 16. Three players later, including an acrobatic catch over the top of a defensive back by Payne Durham for 12 yards, Mayfield connected with Mike Evans in the end zone on a crosser. The Bucs trimmed their deficit, 17-10. On the next offensive possession, a holding penalty negated an eight-yard run for a first down by Rachaad White through the interior, which set up third-and-14 and an ensuing punt for the Bucs. Gay's missed 58-yard field goal attempt kept it a one score, 17-10 matchup at the half mark.
The Colts' first drive out of halftime ended in a 36-yard field goal by Gay, extending their lead 20-10. Next, the Bucs punted away despite a positive start featuring a 21-yard gain by Chris Godwin. Mayfield rolled to his right and hit Godwin over the middle, who spun out of a tackler to gain additional yards-after-catch. Early in the fourth quarter, the momentum flipped in favor of the Bucs on the subsequent drive. Mayfield found Mike Evans for a 23-yard touchdown, making it a 20-17 game. Evans capped off the nine-play, 60-yard drive with a score, marking his 19th career game with multiple touchdown receptions – the second-most among all active players. The Colts immediately marched down the field on a nine-play, 75-yard drive for a score. Minshew found Mo Alie-Cox over the middle of the field for a gain of 30 yards. He exploited the soft zone and helped set up Jonathan Taylor's one-yard touchdown rush a few plays later.
The Bucs responded by quickly reaching Colts' territory with an explosive 38-yard run down the right sideline by Rachaad White. White quickly turned on the jets in the open field, bringing the Bucs to Indy's 29-yard line. Tampa Bay was not able to take advantage with seven, following a third-down sack of Mayfield by Kwity Paye inside the red zone. McLaughlin drilled a 24-yard field goal, trimming the deficit 27-10. A three-yard sack by Calijah Kancey on the following drive set up third-and-long. An incompletion forced the Colts to punt and Mayfield once again took over around the two-minute mark at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mayfield was sacked at the 35-yard line by Ebukam. and the ball came out. The fumble was recovered by Dayo Odeyingbo at the 38-yard line. That play sealed the Bucs' fate on the road.