Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been struggling early on this season, but are starting to find their footing with a win against the Indianapolis Colts. The defense was spectacular as they forced four turnovers and held the Colts without any points for three quarters of play.
Leonard Fournette stars on field, in locker room as Tampa Bay Buccaneers rally past Indianapolis Colts. The running back’s ankle injury was so severe that he was carted off the field and taken to the hospital.
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIA — After leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 38-31 road victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, running back Leonard Fournette not only scored four touchdowns, including a game-winning 28-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left, but he also gave an impassioned halftime speech that resonated with teammates after the team was down 24-14 at halftime.
The Buccaneers had already lost three games on the road this season, to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, the New Orleans Saints in Week 8, and the Washington Redskins in Week 10, a big stumbling block in their quest to repeat as Super Bowl winners.
Fournette, who carried for 100 yards on 17 runs and added seven receptions for 31 yards, said, “You have to have a will and a desire.” “‘You have to be willing to put everything on the line.’ Every play, you have to want to win, you have to want to fight.’ I believe they got the message and turned off their lights.”
In the first half, the Buccaneers struggled to find their offensive rhythm, turning the ball over twice, the first on a Chris Godwin fumble that was forced by linebacker Darius Leonard and recovered by safety Andrew Sendejo, and the second on a Tom Brady pass intended for wide receiver Scotty Miller that was intercepted by Isaiah Rodgers.
On defense, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was beaten for a 62-yard score by Ashton Dulin. They also gave up a 16-yard scramble to Carson Wentz on third-and-15, as well as a 22-yard catch to Jack Doyle on third-and-10, which led to T.Y. Hilton’s 4-yard score just before halftime.
Jonathan Taylor, the NFL’s top rusher, was anticipated to get more carries in the first half, but he only got eight.
“People’s energy levels were low, and you could tell they were in a bad mood. And it wasn’t like we were out there being stomped on. It’s simply the minor things that separate us from them in terms of winning the game “Fournette said. “So I’m just trying to get everyone to come out. And, thank God, it was successful.”
Fournette’s colleagues agreed that he motivated them with his comments.
With 5:35 left in the third quarter, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. made a leaping interception on a jump pass intended for Michael Pittman Jr. “He just pretty much urged us to keep battling,” he said. “We control our own fate, and we’ll have to step up and win games like this if we want to be the team we want to be.”
Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, whose third-quarter sack of Wentz prompted a fumble that he recovered, said, “He certainly yelled some things that got us going.” “One of the reasons he returned was because he thought we were a unique group. We also know that we have the ability to play [like] a unique ensemble. All we have to do now is demonstrate it. Demonstrate it and let it play out.”
Brady added to the speech: “It was enormous. They were making huge play after big play after big play. That’s what it takes to come out on top. It’s up to you to make the decisions. There isn’t much room for mistake. There are some really well-coached teams with a lot of talented players, and everyone is striving to win. So, either you’re going to make the play or you’re not. And if we didn’t make as many in the first half, we surely did in the second.”
With four touchdowns from scrimmage, Fournette established a personal record and equaled a Bucs club record.
“We’d all been watching him gallop and do amazing things with the ball. It gives us a boost on the sidelines “Winfield said. “When we see him sprinting and working hard, it motivates us to play better.”
“He got us going at halftime, then came out and backed it up with all the things he was talking about,” Barrett said. “I’m just thankful for what he did at the end of the game to seal it for us — and throughout the game because he was playing well and making plays the whole game, and that was the difference in the game for us.”
Tightening up “It was great,” said Rob Gronkowski, who grabbed seven passes for 123 yards. It sparked everyone’s interest. He went out there and backed it up, which just goes to show how much we like Lenny.
“In the first half, I thought we were flat. There was no vigor in the room. We just went out there and played as a team in the second half — offensively and defensively — the defense was forcing mistakes, we were scoring, Lenny was rushing the ball like crazy, and we all just stayed together. And to win on the road like that was a victory worthy of the playoffs.”
The Buccaneers, who are 8-3, still have road games against the Atlanta Falcons next week, the Carolina Panthers in Week 16, and the New York Jets in Week 18, but coach Bruce Arians believes Sunday was a turning point in their season as they fight for top seeding and home-field advantage during the playoffs.
Arians said, “I don’t believe there is any question.” “We’ll play some difficult road games, but I don’t believe we’ll play any harder than that.”
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Leonard Fournette stars on field, in locker room as Tampa Bay Buccaneers rally past Indianapolis Colts. The young running back had a career-high 173 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Buccaneers rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Colts. Reference: leonard fournette ros.
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