TAMPA — On another day, with a different final score, Mike Glennon might have found himself answering some tough questions.
The Tampa Bay Bucccaneers rookie quarterback endured a difficult afternoon against the Bills on Sunday, but Glennon was all smiles following a 27-6 victory that gave the Bucs four wins in the past five weeks.
For the first time in 10 pro starts, the third-round draft choice out of North Carolina State completed less than half his pass attempts as he hit on only nine of 25 throws for a season-low 90 yards. Glennon did connect with Vincent Jackson and Tim Wright for touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice in posting a paltry passer rating of 40.4.
“Some of those balls I would like to have back,’’ said Glennon, who was sacked only once by a defense that entered the game with an NFL-high 43 sacks.
Bobby Rainey’s 80-yard touchdown run on the game’s second snap set the early tone and the Bucs rolled up 169 yards in the opening quarter.
But in the next 45 minutes, Tampa Bay added only 77 yards as Buffalo’s run defense stiffened and Glennon was unable to find his targets with any consistency.
Tampa Bay’s average starting field position for its 15 possessions was the Buccaneers’ 40-yard line, including four drives than began in Bills territory.
“Glennon’s upside is great,’’ Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson said. “As a rookie, he’s doing what he needs to do to succeed in this league. He has poise and everyone on this offense believes in him.’’
Glennon credited an opportunistic defense as the key component in Tampa Bay’s most lopsided victory since a 38-10 rout of the Chiefs, 25 games ago.
“With the way our defense was playing, we did what we needed to do as an offense,’’ Glennon said. “They took care of the rest.’’
What’s the rush?
All week long, Tampa Bay’s offensive line heard about the challenge of facing Buffalo’s stellar pass rush.
And after seeing the Lions and Panthers combine for nine sacks against rookie quarterback Mike Glennon the past two weeks, the Bucs were determined to provide Glennon with enough time to survey the field.
“We come to fight and we put in the work every week,’’ said left tackle Donald Penn, who rebounded from a tough day at Carolina to play a strong game Sunday. “Today, I felt everything was rolling. I tried to stay positive because I knew Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are great players for Buffalo and I had to be ready.’’
The only time the Bills dropped Glennon, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus sacked him on third down for a 9-yard loss midway through the third quarter with the Bucs already ahead 24-6.
“We knew what kind of pass rush they had and we were prepared,’’ Dotson said. “Now, we’ve won four of five and three straight at home. That lets everyone know we’re a better team than our record shows.’’
Revis joins the party
Bucs All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis is known primarily for his rare coverage skills, but he got in on the action as Tampa Bay sacked rookie quarterback EJ Manuel seven times.
Early in the second quarter, with Manuel facing third-and-11 from Buffalo’s 19-yard line, Revis dropped him on a delayed blitz off the left flank. Linebacker Lavonte David also rushed on the play and when David cut inside to occupy blockers, Revis came free for his first sack since a 2008 game at Buffalo when he was playing for the Jets.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the last three games,’’ Revis said, “but hopefully we can finish out strong because that momentum can carry over.’’
Revis finished with four tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a well-timed hit against rookie wide receiver Robert Woods that led to an interception by David late in the third quarter, setting up a field goal.
Revis also shadowed Buffalo’s best receiver, Stevie Johnson, for much of the day. Although he was targeted 11 times, more than any player on either team, Johnson was limited to five catches for 67 yards.
“(Revis) played all-around football today,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “He didn’t get his own interception, but he led to the result of a few and took some guys away on some deep balls.’’