By Leo Haggerty


The week started out with a Wednesday practice session that I was able to attend.  Due to the Thanksgiving holidays and some safety protocols put into place, the presser that day was extremely limited and the Thursday and Friday availabilities were Zoom only but I was able to take some pictures at One Buc that are included in my article.

Got a chance to ask HC Bruce Arians a question at the Friday session.  Here’s his answer to my query.

LH : The Colts want to run the football and make this a battle in the trenches with Jonathan Taylor being the battering ram.  How do plan to stop such a physical running attack?

BA : Do the same thing to them. That’s what we do defensively, so it should be a good matchup. I think the other key is for us to get a lead and make them play from behind.

In a game that had more twists and turns than a country back road, Tampa Bay outlasted Indianapolis 38-31.  The victory improved the Buccaneers to 8-3 and kept the Bucs on top of the National Football Conference South Division by three full games.  The loss dropped the Colts to 6-6 and left the Horseshoes two games behind the Tennessee Titans

The game started out miserably for Tampa Bay.  After the Bucs went three-and-out on their opening possession of the game, P Bradley Pinion shanked a 14 yard punt plus a holding penalty on the Pewter Pirates set the Colts up at the Tampa Bay 30 yard line.

The Horseshoes took advantage of the short field and put points up on the board at 12:36 of the opening period. K Mike Badgley split the uprights from 45 yards to complete a short four play drive that took 1:34 to rumble 4 yard.  That gave Indianapolis an early 3-0 advantage.

The Buccaneers cashed in on a turnover for their first points of the contest at 13:22 of the second quarter.  LB Lavonte David recovered a fumble by WR Zach Pascal and returned it to the Indy 34 yard line to set up a short field opportunity. The Bucs offense didn’t disappoint and RB Leonard Fournette (17 for 100 yards and 3 TD) powered in from a yard out to finish off an eight play drive travelled 34 yards in 4:12.  K Ryan Succop added the extra point and the Bucs took a 7-3 lead.

It took the Colts 1:38 to answer that score with one of their own at 11:44 of the second period.  QB Carson Wentz (27 of 44 for 306 yards and 3 TD plus 2 INT) found WR Ashton Dulin (1 for 62 yards and 1 TD) with a 62 yard bomb that ended the 75 yard drive in three plays.  Badgley booted the PAT and Indy was back in front by a 10-7 count.

The Horseshoes padded their margin at 5:07 of the second quarter.  After Brady (25 of 34 for 226 yards and 1 TD plus 1 INT) was picked off by CB Isaiah Rodgers, the Blue & White went 90 yards in nine plays taking 5:43 with Wentz finding TE Jack Doyle (6 for 81 yards and 1 TD) in the right corner of the end zone.  Bagdley booted the extra point and the Colts increased their lead to 17-7.

The Bucs immediately cut into the lead at 1:56 of the second period.  Brady found Fournette (7 for 31 yards and 1 TD) in the left flat and #7 trotted over the goal line for a four yard catch and run.  That ended an eight play drive that went 84 yards in 3:11.  Succop was true with the PAT and the Pewter Pirates inched closer at 17-14.

Indianapolis got the final points of the first half with just 18 ticks left on the clock. Wentz connected with WR T.Y. Hilton (4 for 28 yards and 1 TD) in the left front of the end zone with a four yard aerial.  That capped a 14 play drive that took 1:38 to go 75 yards.  Bagdley hit the extra point and the Colts pulled out to a 24-14 halftime margin.

The Buccaneers came out after halftime and put up 14 points in the third quarter off Indy turnovers.  After LB Shaquil Barrett sacked Wentz forcing a fumble that #58 also recovered, Fournette polished off a six play drive that travelled 65 yards in 2:52 with a four yard jaunt.  Succop converted the PAT to bring the Pewter Pirates closer at 24-21 at the 8:06 mark.

Tampa Bay took the lead with 1:06 left in the third period.  After Wentz was picked off by S Antoine Winfield, RB Ronald Jones (7 for 37 yards and 1 TD) culminated a 4:16 drive that took seven plays to go 56 yards with a one yard plunge.  Succop was good with the extra point and the Bucs now had the lead at 28-24.

The Buccaneers increased their lead at 10:11 of the final period.  Succop nailed a 25 yard field goal that polished off a six play drive that took 2:22 to motor 13 yards.  That moved the Pewter Pirates to a 31-24 advantage.

The Colts got back in the contest on their next possession and put up points at 3:29 of the fourth quarter.  RB Jonathan Taylor (16 for 83 yards and 1 TD) bulldozed his way into the end zone from four yards out to end a 10 play drive that went 75 yards in 6:37.

The Bucs looked like the put the tilt away with 20 ticks left in regulation.  For the fourth time this afternoon, Fournette galloped around left end for a 28 yard score.  That finished an 80 yard drive that took eight plays in 3:09.  Succop hit the PAT and it looked like Tampa Bay put this one in the victory column.

As Lee Corso says, no so fast my friend.  Rogers took the kickoff four yards deep in the end zone and returned in 72 yards to the Buccaneers 32 yard line where he was shoved out of bounds by S Mike Edwards saving a touchdown.

Indianapolis had life but only had 10 seconds to work with.  After an incompletion, Wentz tried for a Hail Mary to WR Michael Pittman (4 for 53 yards) in the left front of the end zone but the aerial was picked off by CB Pierre Desir to end the game.

Now, the Pewter Pirates prepare to travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons.  Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm so look for our Bucs Rcap that evening.