The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Chicago Bears handily, coming away with a 36-10 win and their first home victory of the year. And a good result means we have more winners than losers. Let’s get to them!
QB Jameis Winston
Winston completed 23 of 33 passes for 312 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, with the one interception not actually being his fault. He did that while missing two starting linemen, facing constant pressure, no productive running game (the backs combined for just 78 yards on 30 carries), and producing probably the most amazing play we’ll see all season — out of any quarterback.
It was a good day.
TE Cameron Brate
Brate isn’t an explosive tight end, but he’s been a reliable target for Jameis Winston this season. He had his best game ever against the Bears, catching seven passes for 84 yards and one touchdown. He acted as a security blanket across the middle, and caught every ball that was thrown his way. Pretty good for a somewhat limited athlete.
The defensive line
The Bucs consistently pressured Jay Cutler, and sacked him four times. Rookie Noah Spence got his fourth sack of the season, while Robert Ayers grabbed 1.5 in his second game back from injury. And according to Pro Football Focus, William Gholston had four pressures on just 13 pass-rush snaps. Pretty nice.
The team hasn’t had much of a pass rush for most of the season, but that changed yesterday. Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come — Spence’s continued development is particularly impressive and promising.
CB Brent Grimes
Grimes has been a little up-and-down this season, but there have been more ups than downs. Today was probably his best game of the season: he got an interception, made a couple of key open-field tackles, and just had a strong all-around game. The veteran isn’t quite the Pro Bowler he used to be, but he’s still a good starter.
T Demar Dotson
Dotson signed a contract extension this offseason, but he hasn’t impressed. The once reliable pass protector is now regularly getting beaten, and drawing a lot more penalties than he used to. In this game alone, he gave up two holding calls and a false start. Dotson just isn’t playing at the level he used to, though it hasn’t reached disastrous levels yet.
WR Cecil Shorts
Shorts keeps starting, and keeps struggling. This time, he tipped an on-target ball straight into the waiting hands of a Bears receiver, setting up Chicago’s first points on the day. He was targeted five times and came away with just two catches for 38 yards. Unfortunately, the Bucs simply don’t have a better starting receiver available right now, though that may change when Russell Shepard returns to full health.
RB Doug Martin
While he did grab a touchdown, this was not a pretty game for Martin. The Bucs back had just 33 rushing yards on 16 carries, and couldn’t get much of anything going against the Bears. Part of that was the result of an injured and struggling offensive line, but the Bucs didn’t give him a massive contract to be carried by his line. We’ll write this game off as a result of his lingering hamstring injury, but this wasn’t a great return to action.