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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game Ball: Buccaneers vs. Bills

Who got this week's game ball?


Game Ball:** Rookie tight end O.J. Howard was instrumental to the Buccaneers' second-half comeback, catching the seven-yard touchdown that made it 17-13 in the third quarter, and the 33-yard score that tied the game at 20 each in the fourth quarter. Howard finished with career highs in every category: six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, and he's the first Buccaneer this year to find the end zone twice in the same game. Howard got wide open on a misdirection play – much as he did in Week Four against the Giants – for his second touchdown, but he also caught a number of passes over the middle in traffic.

Play of the Game: For the Buccaneers, it was Lavonte David's forced fumble against Bills RB LeSean McCoy in the fourth quarter, and his recovery of the loose ball near midfield. Buffalo was potentially driving for a go-ahead score after the Bucs had knotted the game at 20-20, but David gave the visitors a chance to strike first, which they did moments later on Mike Evans' 13-yard touchdown catch with just over three minutes to play. However, that lead didn't hold, so perhaps the play with the biggest impact of the game came minutes later, when QB Tyrod Taylor found Deonte Thompson on the left sideline for  a gain of 44, with 15 yards tacked on the end for an illegal hit by CB Robert McClain. That moved the ball from the Buffalo 25 to the Bucs' 16 in one fell swoop and put the Bills in position to tie and then win the game.


Pictures from the Buccaneers' Week 7 matchup with the Bills.

Turning Point:** The game had a combination of six lead chances and tied scores, so there were plenty of minor turning moments. In one sense, Humphries' fumble at the end was the biggest one, only in that it was the last one. The game was tied at that moment, though, so a Buccaneer victory was certainly not guaranteed. In another sense, the game nearly got away from the visiting team when Buffalo scored early in the third quarter to make it 17-6. From that point on, the Bucs fought furiously to get back into the game and briefly take the lead, and it all started with an impressive 75-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. The Bucs had a 53-yard catch by DeSean Jackson erased by a penalty, but Jameis Winston still kept the drive alive with a succession of big plays, including a 23-yard post to Mike Evans that got the ball inside the 10 before Howard's first touchdown.

It Was Over When: Technically, it was over when a desperation pitch-around play by the Bucs as time expired finally came to rest at the Bucs' 29. However, the real dagger for Tampa Bay was RB Taiwan Jones's twisty 11-yard run on third-and-nine shovel pass with just under two minutes to play. Had the Bucs' defense stopped Jones short of the sticks, the Bills would have had to try a longer go-ahead field goal and the Bucs' offense would have been left with some real time to operate in a comeback attempt.

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