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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 38, Colts 31

The Buccaneers nabbed their second-straight win, this time on the road, as they bested the Colts 


Indianapolis won the toss to start the game, electing to defer and put the ball in the hands of the Tampa Bay offense first. It unfortunately didn't last as the Buccaneers suffered a three-and-out behind two-straight incompletions from quarterback Tom Brady.

A holding penalty on the ensuing punt meant just a 19-yard kick that set the Colts up in Bucs' territory to begin their first possession. The defense held up their end of the bargain, not allowing Indy running back Jonathan Taylor to get anything on the series. The Colts would then kick a 45-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 12:31 to go in the first quarter.

The next drive would see Tampa Bay make some headway and get into Colts' territory for the first time during the game. They stalled on a third and long and Brady threw a screen to wide receiver Chris Godwin, who caught the ball, but was then stripped of it by Indy's Darius Leonard for his fifth forced fumble of the season. The Colts took over at their own 38-yard line.

No harm, no foul on the possession as the Bucs' defense clamped down and forced a punt. Unfortunately, the Bucs' offense would trade a punt right back after suffering another three-and-out, setting Indy back up on offense on their own 33-yard line.

The Colts only got two plays on their next drive when safety Mike Edwards stepped up, forcing a fumble out of wide receiver Zach Pascal's hands. It was recovered by inside linebacker Lavonte David, his first of the season, and it set the Bucs' offense up at the Indy 34.

From there, Brady went to work and though it took a couple plays once they got to the goal line and a well-timed personal foul penalty, it was Leonard Fournette who walked in the end zone from the one-yard line to give the Bucs a 7-3 lead with 13:22 left in the second quarter.

Unfortunately, it would take the Colts just three plays to answer with a touchdown of their own as Wentz threw a 62-yard bomb to wide receiver Ashton Dulin to put the Colts back on top, 10-7, with 11:44 left in the second half.

On the Bucs' next possession, Brady aired the ball out himself down the sieline for wide receiver Scotty Miller. Instead of a splash play, Brady was intercepted by Isaiah Rodgers and the Colts' offense took back over at their own 10-yard line.

They'd then span the field, getting into the red zone thanks in part to a 24-yard pass interference penalty called on the Bucs' defense that initially got Indy into Tampa Bay territory. They'd finish the drive as Wentz hit tight end Jack Doyle in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. The extra point was good and the Colts went up 17-7 with 5:07 left in the half.

On the ensuing drive, the Brady spanned the field thanks to a couple crucial catches by tight end Rob Gronkowski and a couple productive runs by Fournette. It'd be the latter that would get into the end zone on a four-yard pass from Brady to the outside. It cut the Colts' lead to 17-14 with 1:56 before halftime.

The Colts would have to span the entire length of the field on the next drive and were stopped at fourth down and one from the four-yard line and Wentz hit wide receiver T.Y. Hilton for the score in the end zone. It put the Colts back up 24-14 with 18 seconds to go in the half.

Indianapolis began with the ball in the second half but their opening drive was cut short when outside linebacker Shaq Barrett stripped Wentz of the ball and then recovered it, giving the ball back to the Bucs' offense for the first time in the second half.

The Bucs' offense then drove the field and with some help from a defensive pass interference penalty drawn by Scotty Miller, the Bucs were set up at the Colts' 15-yard line with a fresh set of downs. A few plays later and it would again be Fournette, who took the handoff into the end zone from four yards out. It cut the Colts' lead to 24-21 with 8:06 left in the third quarter.

The next drive would again be cut short, even though Indy was approaching midfield with what looked to be some momentum. Wentz lobbed it downfield for Michael Pittman Jr., but safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was tracking it the whole way and came up with the pick for the Bucs' third takeaway of the game.

The Tampa Bay offense took back over at their own 35 for the bonus possession. They'd capitalize on the turnover again, also helped by another defensive pass interference penalty on the Colts, that set them up at the one-yard line with a fresh set of downs after getting into the red zone. From there, Brady handed the ball off to running back Ronald Jones who burst through the line and into the end zone to give the Bucs their lead back for the first time since the first quarter, 28-24, with 1:06 left in the third quarter.

The Bucs' defense then stood up on the ensuing Colts possession, managing a third-down sack of Wentz that took Barrett, Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul to happen. The Colts punted but the Bucs would unfortunately punt right back up four with 12:36 left in the game.

The punt, however, wouldn't go as planned for Indy, who muffed it. The kick was then recovered by Miller and the Bucs' offense got another shot from the Colts' 19. The Bucs would come away with points off the play but not as many as they could have. They end up settling for a 25-yard field goal and take a 31-24 lead with 10:06 to play in the game.

Up one score, the Bucs' defense didn't seem to be as stingy, letting the Colts span the field behind productive runs by Taylor. The drive ended in a four-yard touchdown run by the league's leading back and with the extra point, the Colts tied the game back up at 31-all with 3:29 to go.

With three and half minutes to work with and only needing a field goal, the Bucs' offense moved down the field with precision, save for a false start penalty early in the drive. The Bucs methodically ran the ball, making Indy drain all but one of their timeouts. It then ended with Fournette escaping on a 28-yard run into the end zone to put the Bucs up 38-31 with 20 seconds left in the ball game.

The Colts returned the ball 71 yards on the ensuing kickoff, setting them up at the Bucs' 32 with 10 seconds remaining in the game. Wentz aired it out on second down and it was intercepted by Pierre Desir to end the game. The Bucs improved to 8-3 on the season with a final score of 38-31.

View photos of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week 12 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts

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