No matter their record through five games, or the efficiency of their defense, or the high hopes the Bills had for this season, the lingering truth about their offense remained the primary reason for people to doubt them.
Almost out of nowhere, that offense came through in a 30-27 victory.
Let's not overlook their defense, which appeared to come unraveled while allowing two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Buccaneers whizzed past them for a 27-20 lead. Right when it looked like the Bills would fold, they marched 75 yards to tie the game and capitalized on a fumble to win.
Tyrod Taylor threw more than 30 passes and won for the second time in his career. LeSean McCoy scored his first two touchdowns of the season, including a 7-yard jaunt through a big hole up the middle with 2:28 remaining.
The play that turned the game in the Bills' favor came when rookie Tre'Davious White stripped DeSean Jackson and recovered the fumble. The Bills controlled the clock before Stephen Hauschka made a 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining. And just like that, the Bills improved to 4-2.
In past years, they would have folded. The Bills this year under Sean McDermott have continued scrapping until the end. And because they did, they were able to overcome a tough day for the defense and a gaffe late in the first half.
Ultimately, they found a way to win in the end – somehow, some way.
Jameis Winston showed no effects of a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder that forced him from a loss last week to the Arizona. He and his collection of talented receivers shredded the Bills for 382 yards and three touchdown passes and showed why Tampa Bay had the second-best passing attack in the NFL.
Taylor completed 20 of 33 passes for 268 yards and one TD in another mystifying display. Taylor continues to leave people conflicted with his inability to make plays any other quarterback could while converting other plays that others wouldn't even consider.
Taylor was all but buried on one play late in the third quarter before juking through the Bucs' pass rush and finding Nick O'Leary alone on the sideline for a 32-yard gain that led to a field goal and a 20-13 lead. But along with his scrambling ability is an offense scrambling for consistency.
One minute, the offense looks like it might not score a point all season. And in less than a minute Sunday, they marched down the field for a tying touchdown with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Winston made a great play early on his second touchdown toss to O.J. Howard, tying the game with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter. Winston faked a handoff and rolled right before throwing the ball across the field to his wide-open tight end, who waltzed into the end zone for the score. He came back with a perfect pass to Mike Evans, who made a great catch to give the Bucs a 27-20 lead.
Numerous times, it seemed the Bills teetered between gaining control and watching a victory slip away against the Bucs. Buffalo's reliance on its defense, which led them to a 3-2 record before the bye, almost caught up with them Sunday. And there was the play late in the first half that continued to haunt them like a missed extra point.
Winston threw an interception in the first half before the Bills butchered their clock management and essentially blew an opportunity for an unexpected field goal. Buffalo had no timeouts when Taylor hit Jordan Matthews with a short pass in the flat.
The play shouldn't have been called, the pass shouldn't have been thrown by Taylor, and it shouldn’t have been caught by Matthews. The Bills didn't have enough time to assemble the offense and spike the ball, and they kissed three points goodbye as time expired with them holding a 10-6 lead.
The Bills regrouped and took a 17-6 lead when Taylor found Logan Thomas for his first career touchdown reception. Thomas looked good in training camp but had not made an impact on the field before the converted quarterback made a nice grab after getting behind T.J. Ward.