The Buccaneers won the toss to begin the game and elected to defer. On the first series, Cincinnati was able to move the ball within field goal range in just three plays. The Bucs came up with a big stop on fourth-and-one as the Bengals came away with no points and turned the ball over on downs.
The Bucs started on the ground, getting running back Peyton Barber a couple good runs on the first few plays. The Bucs got just past midfield before being faced with fourth-and-four and electing to go for it. It was quarterback Jameis Winston who converted with his legs and kept the drive alive. The Bucs got inside the red zone before Winston overthrew wide receiver Mike Evans and was intercepted in the end zone.
The Bengals would fail to capitalize as the Bucs' defense forced a three-and-out on Cincinnati's bonus possession. The Bucs were hit with a false start on third-and-four, making it third-and-eight and would be forced to punt after failing to convert.
After a couple long passes on their next possession, the Bengals were able to put the first points of the game on the board. On first down at the one-yard line, running back Joe Mixon took it in to give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead with 3:04 left in the first quarter.
The next drive looked promising as the Bucs got beyond midfield again on a mix of runs and passes before Winston was picked off as he tried to buy time on a scramble. The Bucs' defense forced a fourth-and-three situation where Cincinnati decided to go for it and converted on veteran wide receiver A.J. Green's first catch of the game. On third-and-six inside the red zone, quarterback Andy Dalton would connect with wide receiver Tyler Boyd for the nine-yard touchdown, putting the Bengals up 14-0 five minutes into the second quarter.
The Bucs again came up empty on their next drive behind a big tackle for loss of rookie running back Ronald Jones II followed by a sack of Winston. The next possession for the Bengals ended in another touchdown as Cincinnati moved quickly down the field behind multiple catches from receiver Tyler Boyd. The drive ended on an eight-yard rush by running back Joe Mixon to increase the Bengals lead to 21-0 with 5:07 remaining in the half.
The next possession for the Bucs would prove worthwhile as quarterback Jameis Winston hit wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a 60-yard touchdown reception. It was Jackson's 24th touchdown reception of 60 yards or more, breaking Jerry Rice's record for most such plays in NFL history. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro would miss the extra point and the Bucs would be on the board, trailing 21-6 with 4:36 left in the half.
The Bengals answered right away with another touchdown of their own, increasing their lead to 27-6 after kicker Bullock missed the extra point.
On their final possession before the half, the Bucs got as far as the eight-yard line before being forced to settle for a field goal. The score going into halftime was 27-9 in favor of the home team with the Bucs to get the ball at the beginning of the second half.
Tampa Bay's first possession was successful after a couple excellent efforts by wide receiver Adam Humphries to get the Bucs in scoring position culminated in a one-yard run by Peyton Barber into the end zone. It was his first rushing touchdown of the season and with the successful extra point after, the Bucs cut the Bengals lead to 11, with a score of 27-16 about six minutes into the third quarter.
The Bucs' defense subsequently forced a three-and-out on Cincinnati's next possession, giving the ball back to the Buccaneer offense after just 48 seconds. After getting into Bengals territory on a couple hard-fought runs by running back Peyton Barber. On play action, Winston overthrew tight end Cameron Brate and was picked off again, stalling the Bucs' offense. The Bucs' defense would hold and the Bengals would not capitalize on the turnover after going three-and-out.
They would however capitalize, on the next Bucs' possession where Winston threw a pick-six to safety Jessie Bates to give the Bengals seven more points and increase their lead to 34-16.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would replace Winston for the next series. Down three scores, the Bucs ended up kicking the field goal as Catanzaro connected on a 38-yard kick to bring Tampa Bay within two scores, 34-19 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Bucs' defense came up with the stop, forcing yet another three-and-out of the Bengals. The next possession was a quick but efficient one with Fitzpatrick throwing a 72-yard bomb to receiver Mike Evans, a career-long, for the touchdown and pulling the Bucs within one score and just under 10 minutes to play in the game.
Down 34-26, the Bucs' defense again came up big with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul recording the first Tampa Bay sack of the game. It was his sixth straight game with a sack, tying the franchise record for most consecutive games with a sack set by Simeon Rice in 2004. Cincinnati ultimately came up empty on the drive, giving the ball back to the Buccaneer offense with 7:48 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Bucs' offense wouldn't be able to come away with any points on their ensuing drive. The Bengals' defense forced a three-and-out and started again on their 30-yard line after a good punt by the Bucs' Bryan Anger.
The next possession by the Bengals got them into Bucs' territory and looking like they could be in field goal range before a first-down tackle for loss and a second-down sack by Pierre-Paul (his second of the day) backed Cincinnati up to third-and-16. They would fail to convert and punt the ball away with 3:22 left in the game.
The Bucs' following drive was about as improbable as they come. Tampa Bay drove 88 yards down the field for a touchdown on fourth-and-three to tight end O.J. Howard from the 18-yard line. THEN, Fitzpatrick would go for the two-point conversion to tie the game up, which was successful as second-year receiver Chris Godwin nabbed the catch to tie the game at 34 apiece.
Cincinnati got the ball back with just under a minute to play, holding two timeouts and needing just a field goal to win. Th Bengals were able to move down the field and into field goal range. Cincinnati's Randy Bullock attempted a 44-yard field goal and made it, sealing the win for the Bengals.
View photos of the Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.