What We Saw: Buccaneers at Bills

Josh Allen asserted his dominance as a supreme true dual threat quarterback in a masterclass against the Bucs

Buccaneers @ Bills

Final Score: Bills 24, Buccaneers 18

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


Josh Allen inspired the Buffalo Bills to get their season back on track with a convincing win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who stuck around and were competitive for portions of this game but always looked second best. A terrific 9-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the second half and establish a 14-point lead was the decisive blow with Allen moving the ball well through the air and on the ground. He completed a pass at the back of the end zone to a wide-open Gabe Davis to ensure the Bills moved to 5-3 and reaffirmed their prospects of reaching the Super Bowl. And it was their superstar quarterback that brought the fireworks.


Three Up

  • Josh Allen – the Bills superstar looked more like himself after a couple of disappointing showings, running in for a score and throwing for two in a complete performance
  • Dalton Kincaid – it’s been a slow start for the rookie tight end labelled the next “Travis Kelce” but stepped into a starting role seamlessly and scored a nice first career touchdown on a catch and run in the red zone
  • Chris Godwin – looked a threat all game after an early grab in traffic, showed great hands for his first half touchdown and had earned the eye of Mayfield

Three Down

  • Mike Evans – almost forgotten in the first half with just one catch on three targets, one of those a missed opportunity for a big gain – a couple of catches in fourth quarter taken away by penalty or double coverage before late touchdown grab saved his day
  • Cade Otten – still no signs that the tight end is an integral part of this offense, a sad reality for fantasy managers who hoped they would try feature him as the third receiver in this offense, 2 PT conversions aren’t touchdowns
  • Stefon Diggs – a subdued night for Diggs who as always drew plenty of attention allowing the other Bills receivers to enjoy some freedom and production – fantasy managers would have expected more from his target share


Tampa Bay Buccaneers




Baker Mayfield: 25/42, 237 Yards, 2 TD, 3 Sacks | 3 Carries, 19 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)


This was vintage Baker Mayfield, ok at times but not quite good enough for the majority of the game. Mayfield held onto the ball for what seemed like an age in the pocket showing hesitation and his limitations in anticipating where to put the ball in front of his receivers. Back-to-sack fourth quarter sacks after a promising start to the drive really highlighted the quarterbacks weaknesses. His tendency to hang onto the ball in the pocket also resulted in his offensive line resorting to holding and inducing penalties. Finally connected with Evans late in the fourth quarter on what Dan Hanzus aptly called “the saddest drive in NFL history” after two failed fourth down conversions were negated by soft penalties – an under thrown ball was well hauled in by the veteran to save both their fantasy nights. Mayfield also completed the two-point conversion to Otten to make things interesting.



  • Nearly picked off on third down throwing from this own end zone at the start of the second quarter trying to throw over the middle – the excellent Terrel Bernard just failing to get more than fingertips on the ball
  • Took advantage of a great defensive play from Antoine Winfield Jr. to connect with Chris Godwin in the red zone to tie the game up near half time – Mayfield showed poise in the pocket and fired a dart into a narrow window
  • Saved from a fourth straight three-and-out in the second half by nice work from Rachaad White on a dump off – followed up by taking back-to-back sacks before being saved by a soft illegal contact penalty on a failed fourth down play

Missed opportunities

  • Missed Evans wide open in Bills territory on first down early in the game then was backed up by a penalty and they ended up punting – Mayfield couldn’t afford to miss that throw when receiving the ball first
  • Took a bad sack on second down at midfield near halftime setting up a long third down and needing to burn a timeout – took points off the board rather than getting rid of the ball and giving the Bucs a chance
  • Dropped a deep ball into the right area for Evans in the end zone under heavy coverage but the receiver could not make a very difficult catch


Running Back


Rachaad White: 9 Carries, 39 Yards | 7 Targets, 7 Receptions, 70 Yards


Despite the Bucs loss this was an impressive performance from White, who looked to have determination and burst throughout the contest, excelling with catching the ball out of the backfield too. This was his most impactful performance of the season from the second-year back and it was just a shame most of his good work came nearer to his own goal line than it did near the oppositions. When he did get a rare chance in Bills territory he made it count, taking a screen pass from his quarterback for a 20-yard gain down to the Bills 4-yard line before Maker connected with Godwin for the Bucs first touchdown of the game. Fantasy managers will be happy with the PPR value White has along with mostly having the backfield to himself.



Chase Edmonds: 3 Carries, 5 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 16 Yards

Ke’Shawn Vaughan: 1 Carry, 1 Yard


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Chris Godwin: 1 Carry, 14 Yards | 7 Targets, 5 Receptions, 54 Yards, TD


A very productive night for Godwin although he faded in the second half as Baker tried to feature Evans and rookie Trey Palmer a little more. Still, the veteran receiver led the wideouts in receptions, receiving yards and targets with only running back White outproducing him thanks to lots of check downs and screen passes. Godwin hauled in impressive contested catches on drives early in the game and his quarterback rewarded him with the first chance inside the red zone, with Godwin running the perfect route to nab the touchdown grab. After failing to hit Godwin on back-to-back drives that resulted in punts after the half atttention went elsewhere on the Bucs final few drives.


Mike Evans: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 39 Yards, TD


A very frustrating night for Evans as he could not steer the gaze of his quarterback despite a number of impressive routes in the first half. Mayfield missed him on the first drive of the game down the sideline for a big gain and then had a deep ball in the final quarter which he took for a 42-yard gain called back due to holding on the offensive line. Evans finally made a splash with the grab in the end zone as the Bucs made it a one-score game. Still, 39 yards in the lowest receiving total he had had this season and the future seems to be trending downwards in this offense rather than the other way. Trade, anyone?


Cade Otten: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 27 Yards, 2PT

Trey Palmer: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 22 Yards


The rookie failed to make a couple of contested grabs that would have extended two separate drives for the Bucs but fantasy managers would probably point to those balls going to Godwin or Evans instead. Palmer showed decent speed and route running but his hands let him down once again. It’s commendable that the Bucs are trying to develop him into a third wideout but his skillset might not complement what they already have. I don’t think we can accept Palmer seeing two more targets than Evans in a game in which the Bucs were playing from behind all night.


Rakim Jarrett: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 9 Yards

Payne Durham: 1 Target


Buffalo Bills




Josh Allen: 31/40, 324 Yards, 2 TD, INT, 2 Sacks | 7 Carries, 41 Yards, TD


A batted ball that spooned in the air and landed in the arms of veteran William Gholston for his first career interception was the only blip in an otherwise impeccable night for Allen, who brushed off a string of average performances to provide the spark his team needed to get back to winning ways. Allen looked focussed and fed off the energy of the crowd at home as he fulfilled their wishes for him to run the ball in important situations, such as on second down at the Bucs 12-yard line for the touchdown.


Allen was equally as impressive through the air as his recent accuracy issues abated as he spread the ball around to his receiving corps in almost perfect fashion. Allen connected at least five times with his four main receivers – Diggs, Davis, Shakir and Kincaid. The rookie tight end hauled in a short pass over the middle on a broken play before running it in for his first career score after Allen worked his team into the red zone shortly before half time.


Allen looked to have been given the freedom of his instincts in this game and some of that frustration of recent weeks shook off quickly with Allen gaining confidence as the game went on. He should have run the ball in on fourth down at the goal line in the first half too.



  • Converted on third-and-one after a short-field punt from the Bucs set the Bills up near the red zone – the crowd let him know that he should have done that on fourth-and-goal on the previous drive so Allen ran it in a couple of plays later
  • Went into the blue tent midway through the second quarter as Kyle Allen warmed up on the sideline but came back in for the next series without needing to go to the backup

Missed opportunities

  • Threw in the direction of rookie Dalton Kincaid on fourth-and-goal on the second drive of the game from the Bucs 1-yard line but the pass was read and batted away by Jamel Dean


Running Back


James Cook: 14 Carries, 67 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards


It wasn’t the type of night for James Cook to assert himself as a runner as the Bills attempted to cure their recent offensive struggles by putting the ball in the hands of their quarterback to spray the ball around through the air. Cook’s 14 carries does compare to his regular workload but his one touch out of the backfield is worrying for fantasy production. He also ceded all goal line work to Latavius Murray once again as Allen looks the best option to be the goal line back once again.

Cook burst off an 18-yard run from deep in his own territory to kickstart the touchdown drive to Kincaid before half time and that proved to be his main contribution to the win. Up to that point it was Murray rather than he who was leading the backfield.


Latavius Murray: 5 Carries, 7 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards


A disappointing night for the veteran who saw his attempts at short yardage fail three times in key situations including on third and goal from the Bucs 1-yard line towards the end of the first quarter. Murray saw another chance to run the ball in on the opening drive of the second half from the 3-yard line but he was stuffed for a loss. And finally, Murray could not convert the third-and-short on the Bills’ final drive of the game which handed the Bucs another chance to perform a miraculous comeback.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Khalil Shakir: 6 Targets, 6 Receptions, 92 Yards


Out of absolutely nowhere second-year receiver Khalil Shakir led the team in receiving yards thanks to a number of grabs in the opening half of this contest. Shakir hauled in throws from Allen for 13, 21 and 5 yards on the Bills’ opening drive that resulted in a field goal before a third down grab on the second drive went for 30 yards and set the Bills up in the red zone. Unfortunately that drive resulted in a turnover on downs with Shakir not seeing another look down at the goal line. It is encouraging that Shakir has seen 10 targets across the last two weeks after seeing just one target in each of the five previous games. He still has plenty to prove if he is to be a fantasy WR3.


Gabe Davis: 12 Targets, 9 Receptions, 87 Yards, TD


An excellent night for the Bills second receiver and it could not have come at a better time after the offense has failed to fire in recent weeks. Davis was productive early and often as he established his dominance over the Bucs secondary with back-to-back catches of 16 and 9 yards on the opening drive. His touchdown grab gave the Bills a solid seven point advantage at the half after his crossing route went unchecked and he was all alone at the back of the end zone for six.

Davis got better as the game went on and a jinking 14-yard catch and run showed his agility and speed as he side-stepped two Bucs defensive backs before being forced out of bounds just shy of the goal line in the Bills’ first drive of the second half. His season-high 12 targets were joint with Diggs but for once he stole the limelight with more yardage and a touchdown grab.


Stefon Diggs: 12 Targets, 9 Receptions, 70 Yards


After four straight games of over 100 yards in production, the star Bills wideout has now been held to under that total for two straight weeks and this time there was no touchdown to save his fantasy stat line. Diggs was fed his usual double-digit target share but he did not see the big plays fall his way in this game with the younger receivers enjoying breakout nights. The emergence of the rest of the receiving corps should not limit Diggs value but hopefully over the rest of the season it will mean he stops getting double coverage attention for large portions of the games. It is worth noting that Diggs has just six scores on the year, one more than Davis.


Dalton Kincaid: 7 Targets, 5 Receptions, 65 Yards, TD


This is what the fantasy world hoped for when the Bills spent premiere draft capital on the mobile tight end out of Utah. Stepping up as the full starter with Dawson Knox sidelined, Kincaid was an integral part of the offense and found pay dirt just prior to half time with a 22-yard catch and run. He followed up his promising outing against the Patriots last week by running productive routes and creating separation for his quarterback. He now has 13 catches on 15 targets for 140 yards and today’s career-first touchdown. More to come from the young tight end for fantasy managers to salivate on.


Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@justparadesigns on Twitter/X)

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