TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Buffalo Bills At Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buffalo Bills
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
(credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Quarterback
E.J. Manuel has given the Bills reasonable hope that he is the team’s quarterback of the future. While he has made some rookie mistakes, he has also made some big plays and he has the size, athleticism and arm strength to take advantage of any mistake the Tampa Bay defense makes. Manuel is making progress and seems to become a more vital part of the Buffalo offense each week.
Winner Mike Glennon may have gotten the starting quarterback position under unusual circumstances – the Bucs basically fired previous quarterback Josh Freeman – but he has made the most of his opportunity. While he had a poor game in Week 13 against the Carolina Panthers, Glennon has been an accurate passer who reads defenses well and can hit the deep pass with some consistency.
Offense
Winner The Bills want to unleash a robust running attack every time they take the field because they know that Manuel needs help and he can’t do it by himself every game. Fred Jackson is a tough and hard-hitting running back, while C.J. Spiller is explosive and can break the long run. Stevie Johnson is a big-play receiver who lacks consistency. Tight end Scott Chandler is a decent third-down receiver.
The Bucs have been hurt badly by injuries to running backs Doug Martin and Mike James, but unheralded Bobby Rainey has been a find for head coach Greg Schiano. He gets every inch he can out of every rushing attempt he gets. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson is a star receiver who can carry the team on his back. Tight end Timothy Underwood has good hands and is improving.
Defense
The Bills don’t have overwhelming talent or athleticism on the defensive side of the ball, but they are playing hard each week. Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso is the team’s best tackler and he is very good when the ball is in the air. Mario Williams can be a one-man wrecking crew on the defensive line when he is on his game. Free safety Aaron Williams has excellent range and he plays with intelligence.
Winner The Bucs have been surprisingly effective on defense much of the year. While they have been hurt by mistakes, the effort Schiano has gotten has been excellent. Lavonte David is the defense’s leader and its best player. He will range sideline to sideline to make tackles. The Bucs will be hurt if cornerback Darrelle Revis (groin, chest) can’t play or is not at his best.
Special Teams
The Bills have been disappointed with their play in the return game. They have given up a punt return for a touchdown, but they don’t make big plays themselves. If the game comes down to a field goal, Dan Carpenter has a strong leg and does not get overwhelmed in clutch situations.
Winner The Bucs have done a solid job in covering kickoffs and punts, and they have gotten a lift from Eric Page, who has the quickness to give them an advantage on kickoff returns. Rian Lindell has been decent but not spectacular this season, and he tends to struggle on long field goal attempts.

The Winner Is

(credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Winner Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3 out of 4

The Bucs have made progress in the second half of the season, but they were overpowered by a strong Carolina defense in Week 13 and they need to turn things around against a Buffalo team that has lost four of five road games.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy with Brees and company looking for their first win.

  2. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammates center Travis Frederick #72 and offensive guard La\'el Collins #71 after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys

    The Cowboys rookies have looked good the first two weeks, now they get the winless and injury plagued Bears at home.

  3. PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Xavier Grimble #85 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with Ben Roethlisberger #7 in the first quarter during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands off the football to Ryan Mathews #24 in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Philadelphia Eagles

    The two Pennsylvania teams have gotten off to 2-0 starts. Who will win the battle for interstate bragging rights?

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Tampa

Report: Black Bears 'Robust and Growing' in FloridaWildlife officials say an analysis confirms Florida's black bear population is "robust and growing."
Contest: ‘Frequency’ & ‘No Tomorrow’ Advanced ScreeningCW44 will choose 44 viewers to watch am advanved screening of both 'Frequency' and 'No Tomorrow' on Thursday, September 29!
How To Get Through Airport Security As Quickly As PossibleWith more people flying than ever before, it’s not surprising to see reports of long lines of people waiting in airport security lines...

Listen Live