Denver 27, Tampa Bay 7
When: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, October 2, 2016
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
TAMPA, Fla. -- Going from one inexperienced quarterback to another, the Denver Broncos still have their defense, which held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 215 total yards in a 27-7 victory on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
"When we got turnovers, we converted them," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. "They get three turnovers and only gave up like 60 yards in the second half ... I think we were 3-for-4 in the red zone ... the turnovers helped and playing well in the red zone helped us."
Rookie Paxton Lynch made his NFL debut after starter Trevor Siemian was lost to a shoulder injury late in the first half. Lynch threw for 170 yards and a touchdown, and most importantly, had no turnovers as Denver improved to 4-0.
"John (Elway) and I sat down and talked about it today before the game, and I said 'John, I think he's really growing," Kubiak said. "You never know until he gets thrown into the fire."
The Broncos converted two Aqib Talib interceptions into touchdowns. The Bucs (1-3) have lost three straight after a season-opening win in Atlanta.
The game was suspended for 86 minutes due to nearby lightning, resuming at 8:20 p.m. with 6:52 left.
"We've just got to keep working," Bucs tackle Demar Dotson said. "I think there's no magic solution. You've just got to keep coming back to work."
The Broncos led 17-7 at the half despite just 123 yards of total offense, with Talib's interceptions of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston setting up short fields and Denver touchdowns.
His first pick, on Winston's first pass, set up an 11-yard touchdown from Siemian to Demaryius Thomas. The Bucs answered with a 13-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 7-yard Winston touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7.
The next Talib pick, also deep in Bucs territory, set up a 1-yard C.J. Anderson touchdown run for a 14-7 lead.
The Bucs knocked Siemian out of the game with a left shoulder injury late in the first half, but Lynch stepped in and played well. He completed passes of 16 and 18 yards in the final minute of the half to set up a Brandon McManus field goal and 17-7 halftime lead.
Lynch added his first career touchdown, connecting with Emmanuel Sanders for a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter. He finished 14-for-24 for 170 yards in a little more than a half of work.
The Bucs lost three players to injury during the game -- Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy left the game with a calf injury in the second quarter, and tight end Brandon Myers (hip) and rookie defensive end Noah Spence (shoulder) also left the game and did not return. The Bucs had four players miss the game with existing injuries, including running back Doug Martin and defensive end Robert Ayers.
Winston failed to throw for 200 yards for just the third time in his 20 NFL games, finishing with 179 yards on on 17-of-35 passing.
"I've just got to bounce back," Winston said. "You can't turn the ball over in the first half. Big reason why the defense gave up those points. Every turnover this year, really, has been on our side of the field."
NOTES: The Bucs struggled to establish the run game in Doug Martin's absence, getting 28 yards on 15 carries from Charles Sims and averaging 2.8 yards per carry as a team. ... The Bucs haven't forced a takeaway in three of their four games, with only two on the season. ... Broncos RB C.J. Anderson rushed for a modest 49 yards on 19 carries with a 1-yard touchdown. ... Broncos QB Trevor Siemian connected on five of seven passes for 68 yards and a touchdown before getting hurt. ... Denver WR Demaryius Thomas caught six passes for 94 yards, while WR Emmanuel Sanders finished with eight catches for 88 yards. ... Tampa Bay TE Cameron Brate made five receptions for 67 yards, and WR Mike Evans added five catches for 59 yards. ... Denver wound up with a 307-215 edge in total yards.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary
Tampa Bay will play their next game on the road against Carolina. The Buccaneers have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .333 after a loss.
Denver will play their next game at home against Atlanta. The Broncos have a W/L % of 1.000 after a win and 1.000 after a loss.