The Buccaneers (8-3) came into their road matchup with the Colts (7-4) down several key starters and off a short week, but that wasn't enough to prevent them from erasing a 10-point halftime deficit as they beat the Colts, 38-31, in Week 12.
Leonard Fournette scored four touchdowns and the defense made plays throughout the game to the tune of three sacks and four turnovers. Fournette and the defense were the catalysts in the Bucs' comeback win.
Sunday's win marks the first time the Bucs have won back-to-back games since Weeks 6-7 and helps the Bucs hold on to No. 3 seed in the playoffs for one more week.
The Colts received the toss, but deferred, so the Bucs received the ball to start the game.
Indianapolis' defense was on point to start the game and held the Bucs to a three-and-out. Bradley Pinion made matters worse with a 14-yard punt that didn't even get to midfield and then the Bucs special teams unit was called for a holding penalty that allowed the Colts to start their first drive at the Tampa Bay 30.
The Bucs defense returned the favor and held Indy to a three-and-out, but the Colts were able to come away with three points thanks to the excellent starting field position and Michael Badgley's 45-yard field goal attempt. The Colts led, 3-0, with 12:31 to go in the first quarter.
Rob Gronkowski got things moving on the Bucs' second drive with a 20-yard reception on 2nd and 10 and then Mike Evans hauled in a nine-yard pass to move the Bucs into Colts territory. Rock Ya-Sin almost picked off Tom Brady a couple of plays later, but dropped what would've been a sure interception and maybe even a pick-six.
But even though the Bucs dodged that bullet, they couldn't avoid disaster as Darious Leonard punched the ball out of Chris Godwin's arms, causing a fumble that the Colts defense recovered.
The Colts' second drive started at their own 34. The Bucs continued to make mistakes as Shaquil Barrett was hit with a neutral zone infraction to set the Colts up with a 1st and 5. Barrett made up for it on the next play, however, and sacked Carson Wentz for a four-yard loss to make it 2nd and 9.
The sack was enough to keep the Colts offense from as Michael Pittman Jr. dropped what would've been about a six-yard gain on 3rd and 2. Rigoberto Sanchez punted the ball away and the Bucs started their next drive at their own 13.
Tampa Bay's offense continued to struggle, but it was an excellent play on third down by defensive linemen Taylor Stallworth that keyed the Bucs' second three-and-out of the game. Pinion's punt went for 53-yards this time around and the Colts started their next drive at their own 8.
Pittman dropped another pass on third down, which killed the drive. Sanchez punted again and the Bucs' fourth drive started at their own 17 after Jaelon Darden lost a yard on the return.
The Bucs went three-and-out, again, but caught a major break thanks to a Zach Pascal fumble on the Colts' following drive. Mike Edwards did his best Leonard impression and punched it free as Pascal tried to pick up the first down. Lavonte David recovered and the Bucs took over at their own 34.
The Bucs entered the red zone after Brady hit Gronk and Leonard Fournette for gains of 10- and 8-yards. Tampa Bay faced a 3rd and 1 from the Indianapolis 3 a few plays later and Fournette gained just enough to give the Bucs a 1st and goal at the 2.
Tampa Bay made the Colts pay for the turnover as Playoff Lenny busted into the end zone for the game's first touchdown. Ryan Succop's PAT went through the uprights and the Bucs led, 7-3, with 13:22 to go in the first half.
Indy finally got its first down of the game as Jonathan Taylor picked up five-yards on 2nd and 2. Wentz proceeded to hit Ashton Dulin deep for a 62-yard touchdown on the next play and Badgley's PAT went through the uprights to make it a 10-7 game with 11:44 left in the first half.
The Bucs responded with an interception as Brady targeted Scotty Miller down the left sideline. The pass was picked off by Isaiah Rodgers and the Colts offense started its subsequent drive at their own 10.
Wentz completed passes of 10- and 14-yards and then Sean Murphy-Bunting was flagged for a 24-yard defensive pass interference penalty, which were the first three plays of the drive. The Colts continued to march down the field and then Wentz found Jack Doyle down the right sideline for a 15-yard touchdown. The Colts now led, 17-7, after Badgley's PAT with 5:07 to go in the first half.
The Bucs used the middle of the field for gains of 7-, 15-, and 9-yards to start the next drive. Fournette moved the Bucs into Colts territory on the next play and then Brady hit Gronk down the field for 26-yards to set the Bucs up with a 1st and goal at the Indy 9.
Brady then brought the Bucs back within one score as Fournette caught a four-yard pass and scampered into the end zone. Succop's PAT then made it a 17-14 game with 1:56 left in the first half.
Ndamukong Suh sacked Wentz on first down a few plays into the Colts' next drive, but Wentz bailed the Colts out with a 16-yard run on 3rd and 15 that gave Indy a 1st and 10 at midfield. Indy faced another 3rd and long -this time a 3rd and 10- a few plays later but Wentz came through again. He linked up with Doyle for the fourth time and for 22-yards, which set the Colts up with a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 13.
Tampa Bay's defense held up and forced a 4th and 1 at its own 4, but the Colts decided to go for it. It turned out to be the right call. Wentz threw his third touchdown of the first half as T.Y. Hilton landed in the end zone and Badgley's PAT made it a 24-14 game with :18 to go in the first half.
The Bucs took a knee and awaited the Colts offense to start the second half.
Wentz started off with a 23-yard completion to Pittman Jr. to move the Colts close to midfield and then the two Colts reconnected for 15-yards on 3rd and 13 a few plays later to set up a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 40. Wentz continued his big day with two more completions and the Colts were inside the red zone.
But Barrett beat Eric Fisher off the edge and strip-sacked Wentz and recovered the fumble to give the Bucs offense the ball at their own 35. It was Barrett's second sack of the game.
Kwity Paye got to Brady for a sack of his own and force a 3rd and 8, but poor tackling by the Colts allowed Gronk to rumble down the field for 11-yards and get the first down. Ya-Sin was flagged for defensive pass interference on a deep pass intended for Miller on the next play and the Bucs had a shot to cut the Colts lead to seven points or less with now that they had a 1st and 10 at the Indy 15 after the 37-yard penalty.
Fournette punched it in from four-yards out three plays later and Succop's nailed the PAT to make it a 24-21 game with 8:06 left in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay had the Colts offense in a 3rd and 10 early, but Wentz converted yet again with an 11-yard pass to Doyle.
Wentz tried to go deep to Pittman Jr. later on, but Antoine Winfield Jr. made an incredible play on the ball and jumped over Pittman Jr. to pick off Wentz and returned it 30-yards to set the Bucs offense up with a 1st and 10 at the 35.
Three Ronald Jones II runs gained 21-yards and then Brady found Gronk down the right sideline for 32-yards and all of a sudden, the Bucs had a 1st and 10 at the Indy 12.
DeForest Buckner beat Nick Leverett inside to sack Brady for a seven-yard loss on 1st and 10, which forced a 3rd and 8. Brady couldn't hit Brate close to the goal line, but T.J. Carrie was hit with a DPI that gave the Bucs a 1st and goal at the 1. Jones II took it into the end zone on the next play and the Bucs now led, 28-24, with 1:06 to go in the third quarter.
A holding call killed any chance of a Colts response and they punted the ball back to the Bucs after a three-and-out.
The Bucs responded with their own three-and-out, but Nyheim Hines muffed the ensuing punt and Miller recovered it, which gave the Bucs another chance to increase their lead.
The drive started at the Indy 19. Godwin caught a nine-yard pass and then Brady snuck it for the first down in order to achieve a 1st and goal at the Indy 7.
Indy's defense stood tall, though and forced the field goal. Succop's 25-yard attempt sailed through the uprights to extend Tampa Bay's lead to 31-24 with 10:06 left in the game.
Taylor got the drive started off with three runs for 25-yards to push the Colts to midfield. Hines gained seven more yards on swing pass and then Taylor ripped off two more runs for 25 more yards and the Colts were officially in the red zone at the Tampa Bay 18.
Wentz hit Hilton for 10-yards on a crucial 3rd and 6 a couple of plays later and then Taylor punched it into the end zone from four-yards out on the next play. Badgley's PAT was good and the game was now tied, 31-31, with 3:29 to go.
Tampa Bay moved into Colts territory five plays into the drive thanks to an 11-yard run and 13-yard reception from Fournette. Fournette then placed the offense in field goal range with an eight-yard run down to the Indy 31.
Fournette then broke a tackle and rumbled down the right sideline for a 28-yard touchdown to break the game open and Succop's PAT made it a 38-31 game with :22 seconds left in the game.
Rodgers made it extremely interesting as he took the subsequent kickoff 72-yards to the Tampa Bay 32 with :10 left on the clock. The Bucs avoided the scare, however, as Pierre Desir picked off Wentz on the Hail Mary attempt to seal the 38-31 win.
The Bucs are now 8-3 on the year and will travel to Atlanta next week to take on the 5-6 Falcons. Kickoff is scheduled for 1PM EST on December 5.
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