TAMPA — The blocking in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey was stout during his historic run Sunday, but one Buffalo defender was unaccounted for.
That's when Rainey took matters into his own hands.
En route to the longest run from scrimmage in franchise history, Tampa Bay's second-year back gave the stiff-arm to rookie LB Kiko Alonso, who happens to be the second-leading tackler in the league.
“Everything happened quickly on that particular play,” Rainey said on the day following his 80-yard touchdown dash, which came just 18 seconds into the game. “Everything was blocked right, I made a big cut and it was off to the races after that.”
Alonso still had to be dealt with, so Rainey extended his right arm and buried the former Oregon standout before breaking into the clear.
“Alonso is unblocked and Rainey puts a stiff-arm on him and just drops him,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Monday. “He beat that guy one-on-one because the blocking scheme, we didn't exactly get it perfectly. It's Rainey and Kiko in the hole and boom — he sticks a really great stiff-arm right into his chest and dropped him and Rainey did the rest on his own.''
After watching the fim, Buffalo coach Doug Marrone is still puzzled why Rainey went the distance.
“We're in a 46 defense, which is a run-stopping defense, and on the second play of the game Rainey goes 80,” Marrone said. “We were in single high man coverage. At the second level, we needed our linebacker to get over the top. To stop the touchdown, we need to get somebody in the secondary to make that play.”
Schiano said C Jeremy Zuttah, who left Sunday's 27-6 victory with a shoulder injury, will need further evaluation and is listed as day-to-day.
WR Vincent Jackson, listed as questionable last week with a hamstring injury, appears OK after catching three passes for 70 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. Rookie DE William Gholston suffered a head injury and will be subjected to the NFL's protocols on potential concussions. G Davin Joseph is nursing a shoulder injury.
Riding a three-game winning streak at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs are looking for any edge they can get heading into Sunday's matchup against the powerful 49ers.
The defending NFC champions have reeled off three consecutive victories, improving to 9-4 behind the NFL's No. 4 defense.
A big turnout is expected for Tampa Bay's home finale.
“I thought our crowd was excellent (Sunday) and put us in an advantageous position,'' Schiano said. “We made communication a bit of a problem and there was that one stretch where they (Bills) got two consecutive false starts. I attribute a lot of that to the crowd.
“I waited a little late to start asking for that, so I'll start a little earlier this week ... let everybody grow into a frenzy by Sunday.''
The 49ers are physical on both sides of the ball, relying on a smashmouth ground game led by Frank Gore and an immense offensive line.
“They're a great team, all the way around,'' Bucs MLB Mason Foster said. “It's going to be tough, but that's what the NFL is about. As a linebacker, that's what you want. You want a team that's going to come in and run the ball and just try to bully you. I'm excited. It's going to be a big-time game.”
Tampa Bay's rookie class and Bucs cheerleaders will make two community appearances today in St. Petersburg, visiting All Children's Hospital in the late morning before heading to Westminster Palms retirement home to sing holiday carols to residents at 1:15 p.m. ... 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he has been following the Bucs for the past month and praised them for “playing extremely good football right now.” ... Jackson is averaging 16.1 yards per catch, fourth in the NFL behind Cleveland's Josh Gordon, Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson among players with more than 55 receptions.