The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Buffalo Bills, 30-27. Not only a disappointing loss, but a potentially devastating one, with a lot of poor play. But the news wasn’t all bad, and the Bucs had some good performances too—especially on offense.
TE O.J. Howard
The Bucs’ first-round pick had a real breakout game against the Buffalo Bills, who have one of the stoutest pass defenses in the NFL. With six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, he was the team’s most productive receiver—and he nearly doubled his season-long production in one game.
The defensive line
This is a bit of a surprise given that the Bucs had just one sack, but apparently the defensive line amassed a total of fourteen pressures on Tyrod Taylor—at least that’s what Pro Football Focus tracked. Three of those pressures came from Gerald McCoy, and another three came from Robert Ayers. That’s pretty good production—making the secondary’s performance look even worse.
QB Jameis Winston
This was arguably the best game in Winston’s career, and he managed it while playing through a shoulder injury. Winston completed 32 of 44 passes for 384 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Winston and his receivers were the only reason the Bucs had a chance of winning this game.
While he had one bad throw turn into an interception and Mike Evans saved him from throwing another, he was accurate throughout the day and even managed to find DeSean Jackson on a deep ball—promptly nullified by a bogus holding penalty on Donovan Smith.
CB Vernon Hargreaves-ish
Good news: Hargreaves had a good day in coverage and tackling, and didn’t get burned. Bad news: he was demoted to nickel corner and only played about half the defensive snaps. Maybe the slot is where he’s at his best?
Defensive coordinator Mike Smith
Your defense sucks. Go fix it.
S T.J. Ward
Still in a part-time role, and not happy about it. He gave up a touchdown when he got picked on a rub route, and didn’t make much of an impact outside of that. Ward’s tenure with the Bucs has been fairly disappointing so far, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be starting soon.
CB Brent Grimes
Got beat a couple of times, juked out of his shoes by LeSean McCoy and had no impact plays. Pro Football Focus had him down for allowing four catches for 70 yards on five targets.
The Bucs’ playoff chances
Basically gone. Sorry.