A movie director could not have scripted a more horrific opening to the Bucs game in Buffalo. The Bills went right after our suspect secondary and got a quick TD to Lee Evans right in front of Ronde Barber. OK, so we are down a touchdown. On the next possession, Byron Leftwich after moving the team down the field while being hit drifted a pass out to the flat which was picked off and returned for a Touchdown.
Despite the scoreboard, the offense actually has shown they can move the ball. The defense, when not committing penalties, had played well enough. What has been a persistent problem AGAIN are big plays and stupidity. Penalties have killed the Bucs. The good guys benefited when TO dropped a sure fire TD pass on a Go route against a corner blitz, but short of that, good luck has not been present at Ralph Wilson Stadium today.
The scariest piece for me during this first half is that the defense is starting to give up. We are seeing no effort to the whistle and missed tackles which are compounding the penalties and missed assignments. With a young team in a new system, the players have got to make sure that the basics are covered perfectly. That means controlling the things that can be controlled. Effort, follow-through, assignments and conditioning must NEVER be an issue. The no huddle offense had the defense sucking wind and on more than one occasion, a run that should have been stopped for 3 yards has been converted into a 12 yard gain and an extension to the drive.
The last drive of the half, the Bills moved down to the shadow of the Bucs goalpost. A run by Fred Jackson moved to the right, Ronde made a hit and the ball popped loose leading to a 76 yard return by Sabby setting up a 6 yard TD pass from Leftwich to Caddy.
Statistically, the Bucs seem to be in the game. After a horrific first half, the big play at the end of the half had turned this game around. Bucs go into the locker room behind, 20 – 14.