Buffalo QB Manuel throws four interceptions in defeat
The Associated Press The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. —
TAMPA, Fla. — Buffalo coach Doug Marrone didn't mince any words after a one-sided loss.
Rookie Mike Glennon threw two touchdown passes to pace the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 27-6 victory over the struggling Bills on Sunday.
The Bills have lost five of six, are assured of finishing without a winning record for the ninth straight season, and also are likely to extend the NFL's longest current playoff drought to 14 consecutive seasons.
"I find it very difficult after that game to stand up here and defend a lot of things," said Marrone after a lengthy postgame team meeting.
"I thought we played poorly, actually I shouldn't say I thought, I know we played poorly in all three phases. I can't stand up here and make excuses. I can only promise you that we're going to work harder. We're going to get this thing fixed. I'm not going to lie. We let down ownership. Let down the fans."
Bobby Rainey scored on an 80-yard run on the second play of the day, and the Bucs (4-9) intercepted EJ Manuel four times en route to their fourth win in five games following an 0-8 start.
Manuel, Buffalo's first-round draft pick out of Florida State, was sacked seven times and doubled his interception total for the season.
"We just have to figure out what's going on with this team," Manuel said. "I think we really have to find our identity as a team. We have three games left. We really need to finish strong moving on into the offseason and things like that."
Glennon wasn't exactly sensational following a 27-6 loss at Carolina, going 9 of 25 for 90 yards. But he had TD throws of 5 yards to Tim Wright and 38 to Vincent Jackson, who had three receptions for 70 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season for the second straight year. Rainey finished with 127 yards on 22 carries.
"I think we're playing really good football right now, and all of it starts with our defense," Glennon said. "With how many turnovers they're forcing."
Buffalo continued where it left off in a 34-31 overtime loss to Atlanta. The Bills lost fumbles on their final two possessions of that game, Stevie Johnson in the final minute of the fourth quarter and Scott Chandler two plays into OT.
This Sunday, they turned it over three times within a four-possession span of the second quarter, a stretch that might have been game-changing if Glennon hadn't thrown two interceptions.
After outgaining the Bills 169 yards to 38 while building a 14-3 lead in the first quarter, the Bucs were limited to 77 yards the rest of the way to finish with 246.
It didn't matter.
With Manuel throwing two more interceptions in the third quarter, the Bills never made a serious move to get back in the game, finishing with field goals of 40 and 46 yards by Dan Carpenter. Manuel hit C.J. Spiller on an 83-yard scoring play that was wiped out by a fourth-quarter holding penalty.
"Disappointing day in my performance," Manuel said. "It starts with me, especially on offense. I'm the quarterback. I'm a leader. These guys feed off of me. Didn't do a good job today. Plain and simple. Got to get better."
Manuel was picked off twice in the second quarter. Leodis McKelvin fumbled a fair catch on a punt inside the Buffalo 20, and a roughing-the-passer penalty — albeit a borderline call — against Jairus Byrd helped set up Glennon's TD pass to Wright that extended Tampa Bay's lead to 24-3 at the half.
Byrd also had the 22nd interception of his career, moving him into a tie for 10th on Buffalo's list. Stephon Gilmore's interception six minutes later prevented Tampa Bay from turning McKelvin's fumble into points.
Linebacker Lavonte David had two of Tampa Bay's four interceptions. He also had a sack.