TAMPA — By the sheer numbers, Vincent Jackson didn’t have a particularly memorable game Sunday. But if you watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 27-6 victory against Buffalo, you knew he had made a significant impact.
All three of Jackson’s catches came on the same critical first-quarter drive as the Bucs opened a 14-3 advantage and were never threatened.
Jackson was hobbled by a hamstring injury during the week and was listed as questionable, but he played through pain and ended up gaining 70 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in both of his seasons in Tampa.
Jackson is the first Bucs receiver to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since Joey Galloway, who posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2005-07. Jackson has five 1,000-yard seasons in his career.
“He’s battled through being hurt, coming out here and playing his butt off,” left tackle Donald Penn said of Jackson, who has drawn additional attention since Mike Williams was sidelined for the season by a hamstring tear in October.
“You can’t ask for more from a guy who is out there playing hurt and had the type of game he had. He’s having a Pro Bowl season and he’s kind of getting overshadowed.’’
The Bucs began their third drive of the game at the Tampa Bay 20-yard line. Jackson grabbed a 10-yard pass from Mike Glennon before outleaping Leodis McKelvin for a 22-yard reception in front of the Tampa Bay bench on third-and-7.
On third-and-14 from the Buffalo 38, Glennon was flushed out of the pocket and rolled right before launching a desperation pass downfield. Despite pass interference by rookie corner Nickell Robey, Jackson came down with the ball for a touchdown as Tampa Bay declined the penalty.
“Vincent really showed up — again,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “Just big-boy football, in that end zone, getting that defender off. The guy held him, almost dragged him down, but he still caught it.’’
Jackson was initially credited with another touchdown catch when he reached up for a 14-yard strike from Glennon late in the third quarter near the back line of the end zone. After a review, the original call was reversed because it was ruled Jackson didn’t have both feet down inbounds.
“I can’t wait to see it on TV, the one in the back of the end zone,” Schiano said.
Drowning in a yellow sea
Any chances the Bills had of rallying from a 24-3 halftime deficit were undermined by a flurry of penalty flags. Buffalo was called for eight infractions in the final two quarters, costing the Bills 84 yards and wiping out several good gains.
Early in the fourth quarter, running back C.J. Spiller turned a short flip from rookie quarterback EJ Manuel into an apparent 83-yard score, only to have the touchdown nullified by a holding penalty against rookie receiver Robert Woods.
“When you’re not focused, these things happen,’’ Spiller said after the Bills finished with 11 penalties for 114 yards. “The Bucs played with more passion and energy and they just beat us.’’
After the thorough whipping, Buffalo players staged an impromptu meeting.
“I think guys have every right to be frustrated after a game like that,’’ said running back Fred Jackson, who carried five times for 12 yards. “We kind of just talked amongst ourselves and decided what we need to do to get things figured out.’’
With their five takeaways Sunday, the Bucs have forced 15 turnovers in the past four games. ... Tampa Bay held an opponent without a touchdown for the first time since registering a 21-0 victory at San Francisco in 2010. ... Bills running back C.J. Spiller, whose average of 5.5 yards per carry topped all NFL players since the start of the 2012 season, gained only 22 yards in his 11 rush attempts. ... The setback assured the Bills of a ninth consecutive losing season. ... Rookie defensive lineman William Gholston, earning more playing time for Tampa Bay in recent weeks, was credited with 1.5 sacks, four tackles and two QB hits. ... Each team had 62 offensive snaps, with the Bills averaging 3.5 yards and the Bucs 4.0 yards. ... Bucs center Jeremy Zuttah left with an injured shoulder but said it was nothing serious. ... The Bills converted 1-of-11 on third down. ... Rian Lindell, who had missed four field goal attempts in the previous three games, converted on both of his tries Sunday, including a 53-yarder.