By Leo Haggerty


Tampa Bay scored an impressive 45-20 road win against Las Vegas Sunday at an empty Allegiant Stadium.  The Bucs moved to 5-2 on the campaign while the Raiders fell to 3-3.

Las Vegas scored first at 9:55 of the first quarter. WR Nelson Agholor caught a 20 yard pass from QB Derrick Carr.  That culminated a 70 yard drive that took six plays and 3:37.  K Daniel Carlson was true with the extra point and the Raiders went up 7-0.

It took the Buccaneers 10 plays to answer the score with one of their own on the their ensuing possession at 5:37 of the opening period.  QB Tom Brady sneaked in from a yard out that took 4:18 to go 77 yards.  K Ryan Succop hit the PAT to knot the score at 7 apiece.

The Raiders extended their lead at 14:51 of the second period.  LV moved 51 yards in 11 plays that took 5:46 seconds with Carlson kicking a 42 yard field goal that gave the Black & Silver a 10-7 advantage.

The Pewter Pirates would score the next 17 points starting at 4:21 of the second quarter.  TB traversed 85 yards in eight plays using 4:32.  Brady found TE Rob Gronkowski with a five yard fade route in the back left corner of the end zone.  Succop converted the extra point and the Bucs took a 14-10 lead that they would never relinquish.

Tampa Bay added to their lead when Brady found WR Scotty Miller in that familiar back left corner of the end zone from 33 yards out with 17 ticks left before halftime.  The TD pass ended a 13 play drive that only took 2:02 of clock time.  Succop’s kick was good allowing the Buccaneers to stretch their advantage to 21-10 and that was the count as the teams went to intermission.

The Bucs continued to pad their lead at 8:16 of the third period.  Tampa Bay took 4:45 to go 70 yards in 10 plays before the drive stalled. Succop hit a 29 yard field goal to increase the margin to 24-10.

The Raiders were not finished by any means and scored the next 10 points to prove it starting at the 7:22 mark of the third quarter.  Las Vegas took the kickoff and went 71 yards in six plays end with Carr hitting TE Darren Waller from a yard away. Carlson was good with the PAT and the Bucs lead was trimmed to 24-17.

Vegas got closer at 12:43 of the fourth quarter.  Carlson split the uprights from 36 yards out that took 4:40 to go 54 yards in 11 plays moving the Raiders closer at 24-20.

The Bucs ended any hope of a Las Vegas comeback immediately.  Tampa Bay took the kickoff and went 67 yards in 11 plays that took 5:21.  WR Chris Godwin secured a four yard strike from Brady with 7:22 left in the contest.  Succop was true and the Buccaneers increased their margin to 31-20.

The Pewter Pirates would score twice more with the help of their defense.  Rookie S Antoine Winfield picked off a deflected Carr pass for his first NFL interception and returned it deep into Vegas territory.

When I asked Winfield, whose father also was an NFL defensive back, if his first INT was going to be a conversation piece with his dad, he smiled while responding, “Oh, for sure, for sure.  I’m going to try and pass him in all my stats.  In August that was my goal.  In tackles and picks and forced fumbles.  Whatever it is.  I want to do better than he did”

The Bucs wasted no time in converting the short field provided by the turnover into points at 6:40 of the final period.  It took only 29 seconds and two plays to traverse the 24 yards with RB Ronald Jones II doing the honors with a one yard dive.  That increased the Tampa Bay lead to 38-20.

The Buccaneers ended the scoring with 3:08 left in the game.  After the defense stopped Vegas on fourth down, the offense converted another short field opportunity.  Brady found rookie WR Tyler Johnson with a one yard pass that ended a six play drive that took 2:19 to go 32 yards.  Succup hit again to make the final arithmetic 45-20 in favor of Tampa Bay.

The Pewter Pirates now head to The Big Apple (yeah, I know it’s in Jersey) for a Monday night showdown with the Giants.  Look for Senior Writer Rob Kriete’s Buc Up column on Saturday for his commentary and prediction of the outcome.  See you around the TV.