What’s the rush?
All week long, Tampa Bay’s offensive line heard about the challenge of facing Buffalo’s stellar pass rush. And after seeing the Lions and Panthers combine for nine sacks against rookie quarterback Mike Glennon the past two weeks, the Bucs were determined to provide Glennon with enough time to survey the field.
“We come to fight and we put in the work every week,’’ said left tackle Donald Penn, who rebounded from a tough day at Carolina to play a strong game Sunday. “Today, I felt everything was rolling. I tried to stay positive because I knew Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are great players for Buffalo and I had to be ready.’’
The only time the Bills dropped Glennon, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus sacked him on third down for a 9-yard loss midway through the third quarter with the Bucs already ahead 24-6. “We knew what kind of pass rush they had and we were prepared,’’ Dotson said. “Now, we’ve won four of five and three straight at home. That lets everyone know we’re a better team than our record shows.’’
Revis joins the party
Bucs All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis is known primarily for his rare coverage skills, but he got in on the action as Tampa Bay sacked rookie quarterback EJ Manuel seven times. Early in the second quarter, with Manuel facing third-and-11 from Buffalo’s 19-yard line, Revis dropped him on a delayed blitz off the left flank.
Linebacker Lavonte David also rushed on the play and when David cut inside to occupy blockers, Revis came free for his first sack since a 2008 game at Buffalo when he was playing for the Jets. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the last three games,’’ Revis said, “but hopefully we can finish out strong because that momentum can carry over.’’
Revis finished with four tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a well-timed hit against rookie wide receiver Robert Woods that led to an interception by David late in the third quarter, setting up a field goal. Revis also shadowed Buffalo’s best receiver, Stevie Johnson, for much of the day.
Although he was targeted 11 times, more than any player on either team, Johnson was limited to five catches for 67 yards. “(Revis) played all-around football today,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “He didn’t get his own interception, but he led to the result of a few and took some guys away on some deep balls.’’
Drowning in a yellow sea
Any chances the Bills had of rallying from a 24-3 halftime deficit were undermined by a flurry of penalty flags. Buffalo was called for eight infractions in the final two quarters, costing the Bills 84 yards and wiping out several good gains. Early in the fourth quarter, running back C.J. Spiller turned a short flip from rookie quarterback EJ Manuel into an apparent 83-yard score, only to have the touchdown nullified by a holding penalty against rookie receiver Robert Woods. “When you’re not focused, these things happen,’’ Spiller said after the Bills finished with 11 penalties for 114 yards. “The Bucs played with more passion and energy and they just beat us.’’
After the thorough whipping, Buffalo players staged an impromptu meeting. “I think guys have every right to be frustrated after a game like that,’’ said running back Fred Jackson, who carried five times for 12 yards. “We kind of just talked amongst ourselves and decided what we need to do to get things figured out.’’