TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Boy was that a game to watch. Since the Buccaneers’ blowout loss to the 49ers last week, Tampa Bay (6-8) was ready to move forward and take down the injured Bengals at home. While the first half looked promising for the Bucs, the Bengals (10-4) took charge in the second half and walked away with a win.
The Buccaneers came out strong with Carlton Davis intercepting Joe Burrow’s pass intended for Ja’Marr Chase. That interception gave them the momentum they needed. Despite only kicking a field goal, the Bucs unleashed again for a sack on Burrow with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter.
When the second quarter rolled around, the Bucs came out on top with another Burrow sack and things started to look a little familiar for the Bengals, who struggled with their offensive line at the beginning of this season.
Within the first two games of the Bengals season, Burrow was sacked 13 times. So far this season, he has been sacked 37 times compared to Brady who’s only been sacked 19 times so far.
Heading into Sunday’s matchup, Brady was 89-0 in his career when leading by 17 or more points, but the Bengals blemished that record, making him 89-1. However, the loss didn’t deter the Bucs from remaining at the top of the NFC South.
But with the Raiders’ defeating the Patriots, all teams in the division still have a fighting chance to make the playoffs.
So where did things go wrong for the Buccaneers? Let’s start with the third quarter. At 13:34, Bucs’ Giovani Bernard took a direct snap that ended up being botched and turned into a fumble that the Bengals recovered.
Cincinnati added three to the board with a field goal on that drive. Next for the Buccaneers, it would’ve been a HUGE play had penalties not interfered.
The Bucs’ sacked Burrow for a 23-yard loss, but a holding call on Tampa Bay canceled it out. Despite the Bengals having a false start and Bucs’ Davis getting called for a face mask, Burrow was able to get the ball to Tee Higgins for a solid 5-yard touchdown.
After that, Brady got sacked and eventually, it turned into another Bengals touchdown with a successful two-point conversion.
For the rest of the game, momentum for the Buccaneers was down, “Who-Dey” chants rang throughout Raymond James as Brady turned the ball over four times.
Had the Buccaneers played a clean game with no penalties, no turnovers, and finished what they started at the beginning of the game, they would’ve walked away with a win. Although the Buccaneers fell 34-23, there were a lot of positives to take away from Sunday’s game.
Brady and Mike Evans were finally able to connect and move the ball around. Earlier in the game, Brady was 8/12 for 11 yards with Evans having four of those catches for 71 yards.
“Work hard, you know, just work hard,” Brady said after the loss. “We’ve got a huge game coming up. I know I keep saying it, but that’s the reality, and gotta go make it better.” The only thing left for the Bucs to do now is regroup, focus and continue to decide on what team they want to be, as head coach Todd Bowles previously said.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to improve their record with a Christmas night game against the Arizona Cardinals. Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. in Arizona.