Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills spent much of the afternoon showing why they're likely to miss the playoffs again.
The Bucs (4-9) continued a strong second-half turnaround by beating the Bills 27-6 Sunday, however it hardly was the crisp all-around performance you'd expect from a team that won by three touchdowns.
While the defense forced five turnovers and sacked EJ Manuel seven times, Tampa Bay's offense sputtered after taking an early lead on Bobby Rainey's 80-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game. The Bucs gained 169 yards in the opening quarter, then were limited to 77 the rest of the way.
"We had opportunities, maybe, that could've really played super, but I thought we played well," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said after his team rebounded from a lopsided loss at Carolina.
"We just don't quit, and that all starts with our head coach. That's how he is," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "He's very consistent with his effort, and nothing really changes with how he prepares and how he comes to work every day that makes you want to work harder for that guy."
The Bills (4-9), losers of five of their past six, held a team meeting afterward.
Coach Doug Marrone was disappointed in his team's performance coming off an overtime loss to Atlanta. Buffalo is already assured of finishing without a winning record for the ninth straight year, and the Bills also are extending their playoff drought to 14 seasons.
"I learned that we have to work harder. I learned that we have a long way to go. I learned that we have to take more accountability," Marrone said. "I can't stand up here and make excuses. I can only promise you that we're going to work harder. We're going to get this thing fixed. I'm not going to lie. We let down ownership ... let down the fans."
Five reasons the Bucs won for the fourth time in five games following an 0-8 start, while the Bills continue to struggle:
BAD DAY FOR EJ: Buffalo's rookie quarterback was intercepted four times, doubling his season total. He completed 18 of 33 passes for 184 yards, but the closest the Bills came to getting in the end zone came when C.J. Spiller turned a short throw into what would have been an 83-yard scoring play if it hadn't been nullified by a holding penalty. "A disappointing day," Manuel said. "It starts with me, especially on offense. I'm the quarterback. I'm a leader. These guys feed off of me. I didn't do a good job today. Plain and simple."
BIG PASS RUSH: The Bills lead the NFL with 44 sacks, but they only had one Sunday. The Bucs, meanwhile, pressured Manuel all day long led by linebacker Lavonte David, who had two interceptions and a sack. Johnthan Banks and Mason Foster also had interceptions for the Bucs, who lead the league with 21 picks.
WE NEED TO RUN IT BETTER: The Bucs rushed for 165 yards, with nearly half of it coming on Rainey's TD, which came 18 seconds into the game. That's the fastest score in Bucs history. The Bills defense did a better job against the run after that play, with Rainey finishing with 127 yards on 22 attempts. Buffalo, meanwhile, managed just 67 yards on the ground on 22 carries. Manuel was the leading rusher with 29 yards on five attempts. Spiller gained 22 yards and Fred Jackson added 12.
GLENNON JUST GOOD ENOUGH: Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon didn't have a big day statistically, but his two interceptions didn't hurt Tampa Bay, in part because the Bills kept turning the ball over. He was 9 of 25 for 90 yards and two touchdowns. A third TD pass was reversed by a replay review.
ACTION JACKSON: Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson had three receptions for 70 yards, including a 38-yard TD. He's topped 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight year since signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent before last season. It's the fifth time he's reached the plateau in his career. He's also the first Bucs receiver to do in consecutive seasons since Joey Galloway had three in a row from 2005-07.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org