By Michelle Sabin
Sports Talk Florida
Tampa Bay was fired up at the start of the game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Buccaneers defense allowed quarterback Lamar Jackson to complete a 22-yard pass to tight end Mark Andrews before shutting down the rest of the drive.
Whether it was Keanu Neal and Shaquil Barrett teaming up to take out Andrews on a short pass or Devin White shoving running back Kenyan Drake out of bounds for a loss of 4 yards, the defense was ready to pounce. Lavonte David got in the mix forcing an incomplete pass to Andrews on third down.
Unfortunately, on the punt return, Jaelon Darden set up to receive a fair catch as his teammate Dee Delaney was shoved into him. The ball hit Delaney in the back resulting in a fumble recovered by Ravens’ Kevon Seymour at the Tampa Bay 6-yard line. Head coach Todd Bowles explained, “[h]e kind of got pushed into him, but he has to have more awareness when he’s running down the field blocking the guy and understand where the fair catch guy is.”
Tampa Bay’s defense was sent right back on the field to defend a goal line drive. With the help of rookie cornerback Zyon McCollum, who prevented a touchdown pass to Andrews on third down, the Buccaneers held the Ravens to a field goal.
Tampa Bay responded with a scoring drive and their only rushing touchdown of the game. The drive started out with an incomplete pass to Cade Otton as Tom Brady overthrew the tight end from inside the pocket. Running back Leonard Fournette was able to pick up 9 yards and then another 5 for the first down. Brady fired off a short pass to tight end Ko Kieft for 9 yards, and then another to receiver Chris Godwin who made a 44-yard play into the red zone. The drive ended with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Fournette, and the Buccaneers took the lead for the first time since week 5 against the Falcons.
The Ravens went three and out and the Buccaneers got the ball right back. Tampa Bay started with good field position off Darden’s 18-yard return to the 37-yard line. Although there was no gain on the first play, Brady found Mike Evans on a deep 23-yard pass into Baltimore territory. Brady targeted Godwin and Rashad Perriman for another first down at the 11-yard line. Brady missed Evans and Otton in the end zone and the Buccaneers settled for kicker Ryan Succop’s 31-yard field goal to expand the lead 10-3.
Both teams went scoreless in the second quarter, but the Ravens came out of the locker room ready for battle in the second half. Tampa Bay got the ball first and went three and out following a short rush for Fournette and two incomplete passes by Brady.
The Ravens scored on their possession with a 5-yard touchdown pass to running back Kenyan Drake to tie the game 10-10. Barrett was injured on the drive (achilles) and unable return. At the end of the third quarter, the Ravens drove 80 yards in 11 plays for a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Isaiah Likely. Baltimore carried the lead 17-10 into the fourth quarter.
Brady and the Tampa Bay offense fought their way down the field including a deep pass along the sideline to Evans for 51 yards. Unfortunately, from the 13-yard line, they were unable to get into the end zone. Brady threw an incomplete pass to Kyle Rudolph and then a goal line ball intended for Evans was almost intercepted. The Buccaneers walked away with Succop’s 30-yard field goal. Baltimore answered with Devin Duvernay’s 15-yard rushing touchdown to expand the lead 24-13.
The Buccaneers almost scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Otton, but an offensive holding penalty on Donovan Smith resulted in no play and 10-yards added to the down. Over Brady’s clear frustration on the field, they were forced to take a 26-yard field goal. The Ravens answered with their own 30-yard field goal.
Tampa Bay got the ball back with 2:12 on the game clock. Brady eventually found Julio Jones on an 8-yard touchdown pass. They went for the two-point conversion and failed, twice. Their first attempt was an incomplete pass to Otton but a defensive holding penalty gave them another shot. On the second attempt, Brady handed the ball to Rachaad White who was unable to get in the end zone.
It was a devastating 27-22 loss at home that drops their record to 3-5. Bowles explained, “[w]e have to score points in the red zone and we have to play four quarters on defense,” adding, “I think in the second half we missed a bunch of tackles and got worn down. They had a few runs, and a few runs that got out. [There was] just [a] lack of communication and lack of the same things we talk about. And, until we find answers to that, [and] play consistently and coach consistently, that is where we are. We are 3-5 and we own that.”
The Buccaneers get a much-needed break before they play the Rams on November 6 in Tampa.
The videos used in this story were provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Youtube channel.