Remember the dominating performance by the Bills on opening day? Well the Buccaneers put on an even more dominating showing in their home opener as they whipped the Bills in the Florida heat 19-3. The Bills were even forced to bench J.P. Losman for a series in the fourth quarter after getting just 39 yards passing in the first three plus quarters. How bad was it for the Bills? They got only 8 first downs, four of them in the final last minute drive by Losman when he returned. That last ditch effort ended without a score. The defense gave up 191 yards rushing, 128 of them to Cadillac Williams. Kick returner Terrence McGee had more yards the entire offense until that final drive, as the Bills had only 84 yards until the last four minutes of the game.
The offense couldn't get a thing going against the vaunted Bucs defense. That kept the defense on the field for the majority of the game in the 95° heat of Florida. The Bills defense melted as Williams ran wild on the tired Bills defense missing its heart and soul when London Fletcher left with a hamstring injury.
Early in the game it was the defensive battle everyone envisioned. The Bills did not get a first down until their final field goal drive late in the first half. Their pathetic performance on third downs kept the defense on the field. Losman couldn't get anything going, the first points scored by the offense was for Tampa Bay. Losman was blitzed and couldn't get rid of the ball before stepping out of the back of the end zone for a safety in the second quarter giving Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.
That score seemed to take the sails out wind of the Bills' defense. The Bucs went down the field for a touchdown run by Mike Alstott and a 9-0 lead. The Bills did respond thanks to a great kickoff return by McGee. His 43 yard return setup a 40 yard field goal from Rian Lindell to make it 9-3 at the half. The Bills got their only first half first down on that drive.
The Bucs domination continued in the second half as the Bills again couldn't get anything going offensively, while the Bucs ran the ball right down the Bills throat with a combination of Williams and Pittman that made the Bills defense look like a joke. The Bucs scored on back to back positions getting a Williams touchdown and a field goal to go up 19-3.
It was all over at that point as the Bills tried everything. They started rotating defensive linemen and shuffled quarterbacks to no avail. It was complete domination by Tampa Bay. So which Bills are the real Bills? The team that bombed the Texans or the one that wilted in Tampa Bay? Probably somewhere in the middle. We knew there would be ups and downs with Losman, but who thought the ups would be so high so quick and the downs would be so low so quick? It appears to be a roller coaster season in the making.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills crushing opening loss to the season: