Josh McCown Precise As Buccaneers Beat Bills 27-14

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 | 0

Josh McCown

Tonight (Sat., August 23, 2014) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled into Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 NFL preseason action.

Buffalo had a decent amount of question marks heading into 2014, which mainly centered on second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel, who got an immediate chance to showcase his skills.

The Bills received the opening kickoff, and Manuel found his fullback for a few yards. A short run lead to Manuel passing for a first down, earning a 15-yard illegal contact penalty at the end.

But that was the end of Manuel’s early success. After an incompletion, tight end Scott Chandler fell down with a pass headed his way, and the Buccaneers defense picked up an easy interception.

With veteran Josh McCown now at the helm, the Buccaneers offense sputtered early, as two short runs produced a loss before a third down sack forced Tampa Bay to punt.

Manuel took over deep in Buffalo territory, and Fred Jackson got a few yards but couldn’t secure a first down. McCown came back onto the field to scramble for a few short yards. It was then Buffalo’s turn to score a pick, as the Bills safety snatched a pass intended for tight end Brandon Myers.

From there, the slop fest was officially on, as Spiller bobbled the ball in Tampa Bay territory, resulting in a few bounces before Buccaneers linebacker LaVonte David finally secured it to take off running.


Starting Bucs running back Doug Martin rumbled ahead for a first down, but was stuffed on the next play. “The Muscle Hamster” redeemed himself, snagging a pass down the middle to bounce into the end zone. The play was reviewed and brought back, but Martin finished the job with a short plunge into the end zone.

Manuel took over again after his rough start, finding former Bucs’ wide receiver Mike Williams for a solid gain. But it was short lived, as Manuel missed both Williams and Robert Woods to force Buffalo to go scoreless for another drive.

Martin got them started with a few rushing yards, and McCown found rookie wideout Mike Evans for a nice pass down the sideline. Tampa Bay sputtered from there on, giving Manuel another shot, albeit deep in his own territory again.

Spiller took off for a big gainer, and Manuel hit Williams for a big first down to the right sideline. A holding penalty ensued, and Spiller then took off for 18 yards, only to see it disappear with yet another holding call.

They couldn’t get it down from 1st & 30, and Bobby Rainey came in for Martin when Tampa Bay took over possession.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson finally got into the action for a first down, and McCown took off for a big scramble that lead to a field goal that put the Bucs up 10-0.

The field began being littered with yellow flags, with the Tampa Bay defense earning illegal contact and holding penalties to give the Bills another chance after a Manuel incompletion. Spiller got a 12-yard gain, but once again an offensive penalty brought it back. Manuel was sacked and fumbled, allowing Tampa Bay to return it for a touchdown to go up 17-0 in an ugly game.

The bad run continued for the Florida State alum when he was sacked on the next drive, forcing a punt.

Tampa Bay took over and rode Martin, but he couldn’t get a first down. McCown fired a bullet on 3rd & 8. He got to 3rd & 6 and found Jackson down the middle for a first down. He found Jackson again, and then Martin to drive deep into Buffalo territory. McCown then uncorked a bomb to Evans in the end zone, and the throw was picture-perfect as Tampa Bay went up 24-0:

Manuel was ineffective yet again as the first half wore down, and Tampa Bay backup Mike Glennon took over starting in the second half.

When the Bills got the ball back, Manuel hit Woods and tight end Scott Chandler for a nice drive in the third quarter when the pressure was off. He capped it off with a strike to Williams in the end zone.

He heated up even further by finding Chandlers and Woods to set up a Fred Jackson touchdown rush on the next drive, but that was the extent of their comeback, as Tampa Bay held on to win 27-14.

Overall, McCown looked impressive with the bevy of offensive weapons he has in Tampa Bay, completing 13 of 16 passes for 112 yards with one score and one interception. His tall wide receivers were effective on a wide assortment of routes, and running back Martin looked solid if not spectacular. Their defense was also good. The Bucs could definitely challenge for a playoff spot in the suddenly dangerous NFC South.

As for the Buffalo Bills, they have some work to do, but Manuel looked clearly has a lot of potential. Their offense looked out of sync with an unheard-of amount of penalties in the first half, but Manuel established a nice rhythm in the second half. Their defense is regarded as decent, but McCown & Co. carved them up with relative ease.

Competing with the New England Patriots in the AFC East, they’re going to have to make some improvements fast if they want to contend.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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