The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied late but it wasn't enough in their 27-* loss to the San Francisco 49ers. After a close first half that saw the Niners lead 13-7 going into halftime, San Francisco pulled away in the third quarter. Big plays allowed by the defense and injuries to key players hurt the Bucs in the second half.
The offense was unable to adjust to the 49ers' defensive adjustments and couldn't get anything going until late in the fourth quarter. At that time it was too little too late. Baker Mayfield finished the day going 329-45 for 246 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked five times on the day.
Rachaad White had 30 yards rushing and 28 yards receiving including a touchdown on the ground. While Cade Otton led all receivers with 49 yards. Evans was targeted 12 times, reeling in five receptions and a score. On defense rookie Yaya Diaby recorded two sacks, with Vita Vea and Lavonte David recording sacks as well.
To add insult to injury the Bucs lost three defensive starters to injury as David(hip), Jamel Dean(foot), and Carlton Davis (hip) all left the game to not return.
After winning the coin toss the Tampa Bay Buccaneers deferred their possession to the second half putting the Niners' offense on the field first. A gain of 24 yards by George Kittle is all the 49ers could muster as the Buccaneers' defense shut them down. Lavonte David had a tackle for loss and a third down sack to end the drive and force a punt.
Aided by a 15-yard penalty on the punt return, the Bucs started their drive at the 37-yard line. Baker Mayfield was nearly intercepted on his first throw targeting Mike Evans, and two plays later the Bucs would themselves be unable to convert. Back on defense, the Bucs let up big gains to Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Christian McCaffrey to move into Tampa territory. McCaffrey torched the Buccaneers on the drive. He totaled 42 total yards, including a four-yard catch and run to give the Niners a 7-0 lead.
On the next drive, the Bucs methodically made their way down the field utilizing quick passes, screens, and the running game to move into San Francisco territory. But a careless play by Mayfield under pressure trying to rush for a gain instead of throwing the ball away had the ball knocked out of his hands. Fred Warner caused the fumble and the Niners recovered taking potential points off the board.
With momentum on their side after the fumble, the Niners marched the ball down the field on the back of big gains by Elijah Mitchell and a Purdy scramble for a first down. An 18-yard gain by Aiyuk put the Niners inside the red zone, but an eight-yard sack by Yaya Diaby came up with a huge sack to set up a third and 15. Unable to convert, San Francisco had to settle for a 37-yard field goal to increase their lead to 10-0 with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
On the back of a 17-yard catch by Trey Palmer and a big 27-yard catch by Cade Otton on second and long, the Bucs moved the ball into the red zone as the two-minute warning struck. A 17-yard end around by Devon Thompkins out of the break set Tampa Bay up with a first and goal at the one-yard line. The very next play the Buccaneers went to the air, hitting Evans for the score to close the gap.
With 1:48 remaining in the first half, Purdy hit Aiyuk for a huge 37-yard catch and run. The Niners are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to YAC and made the Bucs pay as they marched their way into Tampa territory. However, the Buccaneers came up with a key third down stop to force a 28-yard field goal attempt. Jake Moody knocked it through to give San Francisco a 13-7 lead. After the kickoff, Mayfield kneeled out the remaining 16 seconds to send the game to halftime.
With the ball to start the second half, the Bucs picked up an early first down on the back of runs by Rachaad White. However, an incompletion deep to Evans and Palmer on third down saw Tampa Bay unable to continue the drive. Out to punt, Jake Camarda boomed one that went out of bounds inside the 5-yard line.
Starting the drive at their own two-yard line, the Niners got out of the sticky situation quickly with a 21-yard catch and run to Kittle. On the next play, Purdy hit Aiyuk deep for a 76-yard score. Cornerback Jamel Dean who was in coverage was injured on the play and needed assistance coming off the field. The point after attempt was nailed through the uprights giving San Francisco a 20-7 lead.
Back on offense, the Bucs picked up two first downs. The first was on a 13-yard catch by Evans and the second on an ankle-breaking catch and run by White, but that was all they would muster. Mayfield was nearly intercepted on his third-down throw to bring out the punt team.
The Niners made short work moving the ball down the field. A 40-yard catch and run by a wide-open Samuel was capped off by a three-yard touchdown grab by Kittle. With the extra point, the Niners increased their lead to 27-7 putting the game nearly out of reach for the Bucs. To make matters worse, Lavonte David injured his hip on the drive and needed assistance coming off the field.
Trying to answer the Niners scoring drive, the Buccaneers did just that. On the back of a huge 41-yard catch by Rakim Jarrett to set the Bucs up on the Niners 37-yard line, Mayfield threw a strike to Otton in the endzone that was called for pass interference on San Francisco. On the next play, White punched it in for the one-yard score to bring the game to 27-14 with seconds left in the third quarter.
A quick three-and-out gave the Bucs the ball back with a chance to close the gap. Mayfield and the offense marched down the field into the red zone on 16 plays, aided by a huge fourth down conversion by Evans. On fourth and four at the Niners 12 12-yard line Baker's throw to Evans is well defended and falls incomplete.
The Bucs' defense, without Carlton Davis who was ruled out with a hip injury, forced a quick three-and-out. A 51-yard punt return by Thompkins set the Bucs up at the 13-yard line. Three plays later the Niners' defense came up with an interception off the tipped pass. All-Pro Tristan Wirfs was injured on the drive.
With the chance to ice the game, the Niners took a minute and 28 seconds off the clock, but the Bucs' defense came up with the fourth down stop to get the ball back with just over 2 minutes to play. The Buccaneers were not able to close the gap unable to convert on fourth down bringing the Niners' offense back on the field to kneel out a 27-14 victory.
You can follow JC Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.