It may be quite a while before Tampa Bay Head Coach Raheem Morris experiences the thrill of his first NFL coaching victory.
Tampa Bay saw their best opportunity of the first quarter of the season slip past their fingers as the Buccaneers had turnovers, penalties, and some defensive lapses in a uglier then the score indicates 33-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo, coming off a tough loss against their rival New England Patriots, came out fired up and blasted Tampa Bay in the first quarter.
Trent Edwards connected on a 32 yard touchdown to Lee Evans to open up the scoring for Buffalo. Like against Dallas, the Bucs secondary allowed Evans to slip behind them and it was a pinpoint toss by Edwards for the touchdown.
On the ensuing offensive possession, Buffalo Safety Donte Wintner intercepted Bucs QB Byron Leftwich and took it 76 yards for a touchdown and suddenly the Bucs were down by two scores.
On the next drive, Leftwich and the Bucs would be victimized again but this time with a controversial call. It appeared that Buffalo Safety Byron Scott trapped an interception by Leftwich. Morris challenged but inexplicably, despite clear evidence that the ball had touched the turf, the call was upheld.
The pick would lead to a 31 yard Ryan Lindell field goal and before the first fifteen minutes of the ballgame had expired the Bucs were down by 17 points.
Give credit to Tampa Bay as they didn't quit after the forgettable first, the Bucs marched down the field and capped a five play 77 yard drive with a beautiful strike by Leftwich to Kellen Winslow. The score went for 42 yards and cut the Buffalo advantage to ten.
The Bills would come right back, using the battering ram Fred Jackson to pound the rock deep into Tampa Bay territory before settling for another Lindell field goal.
After the Bucs were stuffed, the Bills marched back down the field again and were in point blank range to put the Bucs away early.
Instead, Buffalo running back Fred Jackson lost the handle on the football and the ball bounced into the hands of much maligned Bucs Safety Sabby Piscitelli. Piscitelli would be off to the races and only a touchdown saving tackle by speedster Rosco Parrish prevented a scoop and score.
Leftwich would cash in a play later, connecting with Cadillac Williams for a eight yard touchdown pass. The Bucs found themselves back in the ball game down by six at the half.
The Bills defense turned to blitzing the Buccaneers unmercifully in the second half and it befuddled the Buccaneers offense. Tampa Bay's offense would suffer three and outs on three drives and lost on downs on a fourth drive.
Buffalo's offensive would be stymied until late in the third quarter, when they completed a 13 play, 64 yard drive with another Lindell field goal. As the fourth quarter began, Buffalo led 23-14.
After another stalled drive, the Bills blew the game open as Terrell Owens, who had been quiet the entire ballgame finally made a play for the Bills. T.O. went step for step with Bucs cornerback Aquib Talib who had no safety help. Talib let up one step trying to make a play on the football and the perfectly thrown ball by Edwards fell into the hands of Owens for a 41 yard score. Owens, who was booed after he dropped a potential big catch in the first half motioned to the crowd.
Tampa Bay inched a little closer with 5:32 remaining in the ball game when Leftwich on fourth and goal connected on a circus catch by tight end Jerramy Stevens for a 6 yard touchdown score. The Bucs went for two points but failed and the Bucs were down 30-20.
Lindell would add a field goal late to provide the final margin.
For the Buccaneers defensively, they cut down on the deep balls, limiting the Bills to only two big plays through the air - unfortunately both went for touchdowns. Where the Bucs were really gashed was on the ground, where Fred Jackson's 163 yards powered a rushing attack that wrung up 218 yards on the ground.
For the second straight week, the Buccaneers allowed over 400 yards of offense.
Unlike last week, the Bucs offense couldn't move the ball with the efficiency we saw against Dallas. Tampa Bay managed 353 yards of offense but only 57 of that was on the ground.
Sabby Piscitelli redeemed himself with that big fumble recovery and an interception of Edwards. On the other hand, Gaines Adams continued his disappearing act. He was a non factor in the pass rush and was in on only a few tackles.
Kellen Winslow had a good game for Tampa Bay, nabbing 7 passes for 90 yards and a score. Maurice Stovall, playing for the injured Antonio Bryant also played well, hauling in 80 yds on three catches.
Leftwich would finish 26 of 50 for 296 yds, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
The Bucs were also penalized 13 times for 112 yds including four personal fouls for facemask penalties.
As Tampa Bay tumbled to 0-2, any positive vibes that could be taken from the Dallas loss were gone in this poorly played ballgame by the Buccaneers.
Buffalo outplayed the Bucs in every facet of the game and won this one convincingly.
Former Patriots/Jets/Giants head coach Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record is."
The Bucs look every bit an 0-2 team, and its seems as if it may be awhile before they get that zero out of the win column.
After a tough home game against one of the best teams in the NFC in the New York Giants, they head on the road to Philadelphia and Washington - places where the Bucs typically struggle and they'll be facing two teams that will be desperate for victories after losses today.
The optimism of a new season quickly slips away when it becomes painfully obvious this team is far from contention.
Buckle up, Buc fans. It's going to be a long season.