By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – Professional & Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs, after an early turnover, jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter advantage and never looked back against the Lions at Ford Field.  The Pewter Pirates kept the pedal to the metal on both sides of the football and posted a convincing 38-17 victory over Detroit.

The win was the fourth consecutive for the Buccaneers.  That evened their record at 7-7 and are now firmly implanted in second place in the National Football Conference South Division.

The Motor City Guys dropped their seventh-straight contest.  That leaves the Lions in last place in the NFC North with a 3-10-1 log.

So, how did the Bucs put away the Lions so easily?  Let’s go to my four keys to victory, shall we, and see if I was correct in what I believed Tampa Bay needed to accomplish to emerge victorious.

Key #1 – Stop the run.  Check.

The Lions rushed for a paltry 45 yards on 18 carries.  That’s less than three yards a pop.  Mission accomplished.

Key #2 – Don’t make 13 an excuse.  Check.

The Bucs receiving corp stepped up big time with the absence of an injured Mike Evans who was just recently placed on the IR ending his Pro Bowl caliber season.  Eleven different Buccaneers, and you’re reading that correctly, had receptions with WR Chris Godwin and TE Cameron Brate leading the way with seven grabs each.  Put that one in the plus column too.

Key #3- Get the lead.  Check.  Bucs QB Jameis Winston found WRs Breshad Perriman for the first score and Scotty Miller for the second to go up 14-0 in the first period.  Detroit cut the lead to seven on the first play of the fourth quarter but that’s as close as the Lions would get.

The Pewter Pirates salted the game away with an interception return for a touchdown by CB Sean Murphy-Bunting and another Winston-to-Perriman strike for six more points.  Another positive outcome.

Key #4 – Be aggressive.  Double check.

On offense, for the Pewter Pirates, it all starts and stops with #3.  Jameis Winston, after throwing a pick on the opening drive of the tilt which was his 24th of the campaign, had a monster game.  The Bucs signal caller was 28-of-42 for 458 yards and four TDs.  That’s huge numbers.

The big thing is OC Byron Leftwich didn’t let up.  The Bucs offense didn’t dial it back one iota late in the game.  The Tampa Bay offense kept their foot on the gas and continued to attack for the entire 60 minutes.

On defense, DC Todd Bowles went after Lions rookie backup QB David Blough relentlessly for 60 minutes.  The Bucs defense sacked #10 twice and harassed him into two interceptions with one going to the house in the 4th quarter.

On special teams, K Matt Gay hit on all five PATs and one of two field goals. In fact, the one that #9 missed hit the upright from just outside of 50 yards.  The Pewter Pirates got it done for sure.

So, looks like I was spot-on for what the Pewter Pirates needed to do to win.  Can Tampa Bay make it five in a row against the visiting Houston Texans?  Check out my GOAL LINE STAND column later this week to see the four things I feel the Buccaneers need to do to beat Deshaun Watson and Company at the RayJay on Saturday.