Denver jumped out to a quick lead which was extended to 18 by the end of the third quarter. Tampa had a late charge at the end of the game but it fell just short. At the end it was a 31-23 loss which severely hurts the Buc’s playoff chances. Peyton Manning had a huge game which was not surprising. Tampa Bay failed to get any pressure on the QB who shredded their secondary all day long. He ended the day with 3 touchdowns, 2 of which went to top target Demaryius Thomas.
Tampa’s offense started slow and did not have enough time to recover. Doug Martin had a slow game for the second straight contest as defenses are clearly game planning around the talented rookie. Josh Freeman was forced to pick up the slack, but could not get it done. He completed less than half of his passes as Von Miller and the Denver defense plagued him all day long. Miller had one sack and also an INT against Freeman to lead the defense in an impressive showing. He struggled to hit his top wideout in Vincent Jackson, but did do a good job getting the ball in Williams hands.
With this Tampa Bay is now 6-6 on the season and on the outside of the playoffs. They really need to stop the bleeding and get a win next week. They have a good shot at that with Philly coming to town. The Eagles have miserable for two months now and are now relying on rookie Nick Foles at QB. Foles hasn’t been bad, but he lacks the explosiveness of Mike Vick. Andy Reid is almost certainly out of a job, so the motivation for them is very low at this point. Tampa Bay cannot let this one get away from them.