Listening to Tre’Davious White after Sunday’s game, you wouldn’t have known the Buffalo Bills had just pulled off a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that moved the team to 4-2.
You also wouldn’t have known that White played a huge role in the victory, forcing and recovering a fumble that set up the go-ahead field goal in the 30-27 win.
That’s because White was still thinking about the play he didn’t make, when Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans beat him for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter that put the Bucs up, 27-20.
“I almost cost us the game again,” White lamented in the locker room. “Gave up another touchdown. If it weren’t for the offense, we would have lost because of me again.”
It should be noted White didn’t have bad coverage on the play. It took a perfect throw from quarterback Jameis Winston and terrific catch by Evans.
“They catch the ball, it’s bad coverage no matter how great of position you’re in,” White said. “He made a great throw, one that not many QBs in this league can make. I was there, but he made the throw so it was bad coverage and almost cost the team again.”
It didn’t, though.
The Bills answered just 46 seconds after Evans’ touchdown when LeSean McCoy scored on a 7-yard run. On the first play of Tampa Bay’s ensuing possession, White stripped the ball from receiver Adam Humphries and recovered the fumble, giving the Bills the ball on the Bucs’ 33-yard line.
"I just did something we do every day in practice. I punched at it and it came out," White said.
That ability to put a bad moment behind him and refocus is exactly what showed in Week Five against the Bengals, when he was beaten deep by star receiver AJ Green for a touchdown, but closed the game strong.
“It’s the same after the Cincinnati game. He wants to go out there and compete and get better,” safety Micah Hyde said of White. “He’s a competitor and he doesn’t like to give up stuff like that. … He’ll bounce back even better.”
The analytics website Pro Football Focus wrote that White “may have had arguably his worst game of his young career,” after charting White for allowing three catches for 43 yards and the touchdown on five targets. Of course, those aren’t bad numbers by any means for a rookie, which goes to show just how good White has been through the first six games of his professional career. PFF charged him with allowing just 12 yards after the catch, so he kept the play in front of him Sunday.
“I’m my own worst critic, and If I don’t play a game that’s up to my standards, I’m going to be hard on myself about it,” White said. “I just want to be the best, and I don’t settle for less, for moral victories. I want to play a 100-percent perfect game. I know that’s not going to happen, but after every game I’m going to be tough on myself.”
Fellow starting cornerback E.J. Gaines suffered a hamstring injury Sunday which knocked him out of the game in the third quarter, which left the Bills with just three healthy cornerbacks. If Gaines can't play next week, the Bills will have lean on White even more than what they have so far.
“It’s hard to win games in this league,” he said. “It don’t matter if you win by one point. We won. Now we’ve got to bounce back and get ready for a tough, explosive Raiders team.”