Gerald McCoy vs. Bills O-line
The Bucs' star defensive tackle was neutralized by good blocking and good game-planning by the Bills. McCoy is a three-time first-team All-Pro and ranks among the top three defensive tackles in the NFL, with the Rams' Aaron Donald and Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox. McCoy made just one tackle against the Bills. Guard Richie Incognito faced him a lot. But it was a group effort.
"We gave him a lot of attention," said Bills center Eric Wood. "We knew where he was on every play, especially pass plays. As far as the run game goes, we knew we didn't want him to penetrate super-hard, so there were times we didn't get off on the backers as well as we might like to on a normal day. There's other guys that warrant the same attention. J.J. Watt, Aaron Donald. You close him off and try to not let him get going."
Tyrod Taylor vs. Bucs' third-down D
The Bills were 10 of 16 on third-down conversions. Tampa entered the game ranked 30th in the league in third-down defense, allowing 46 percent conversions. Tyrod Taylor hit 9 of 12 passes on third down for 126 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Seven of the Bills' 10 third-down conversions came on scoring drives. Two of the conversions came on runs by Taylor. The first was a 26-yard scramble up the middle on a third-and-10 play from the Tampa 36. It set up the Bills first field goal. The Bucs had linebacker Kwon Alexander spying Taylor on the play, but the QB stepped out of a tackle attempt by Alexander at the line of scrimmage. The second was a quarterback draw on a third-and-5 play from the Tampa 10. It went for 7 yards and set up LeSean McCoy's 1-yard TD run that put Buffalo ahead, 10-6.
LeSean McCoy vs. Tampa LBs
The Bucs entered the game feeling good about their run defense, which ranked 12th in the NFL. Opponents had averaged 102 yards a game. The Bucs had shut down an Chicago offense that is similar to Buffalo's in terms of a run-first mentality. But despite Tampa's emphasis on stopping LeSean McCoy, the Bills' back gained 91 yards on 23 carries, a 4.0-yard average.
"They have an elusive running back, one of the best in the league, one of the best of our generation in Shady," said Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. "And an elusive quarterback. We've been playing Mike Tolbert the past however many years he's been in Carolina. We knew what he was capable of. We just didn't tackle."
Bucs Pro Bowl linebacker Lavonte David had a game-high 14 tackles. But the Bills were able to get outside enough to keep the chains moving.