The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their first win in six weeks yesterday, as they beat the New York Jets in a very low-scoring game—almost a throwback to the Tony Dungy days, in terms of style if not quality of play.
That win gives us plenty of positive things to talk about, which is a nice change of pace. So let’s dive into the winners and losers for this game.
The Bucs gave their third-round rookie a lot of playing time with Mike Evans suspended, and he repaid them with a solid performance: five catches for 68 yards. No touchdowns, but he looked like a solid receiver. He’s no Evans, of course, but the Bucs don’t have to worry about their receiving depth.
The Bucs head coach desperately needed a win to salvage his job, and he got it. This could be the basis for a late-season resurgence, or at least the basis for enough wins to keep Koetter in Tampa for another season.
The Bucs’ defense has slowly clawed its way back towards respectable performances, after some shocking play earlier in the season. The linebacking corps is very impressive, with Lavonte David having yet another dominant game, while the secondary is finally getting up to shape and the defensive line is doing its job. With two forced turnovers they’re also regularly taking the ball away, which was the main thing that made the defense click last season.
The pass rush
The Bucs’ pass rush nearly doubled their season sack total, getting Josh McCown on the ground with the ball in his hands five times—with five different sack artists, too. Gerald McCoy was the dynamo making everything go and creating space for others, but more effective blitzes helped, too. If the defense can produce this kind of rush every week, they can put up some dominant performances.
Doug Martin/The running game
20 carries for 51 yards is not impressive, and the Bucs offensive line struggled to get much of a push. It wasn’t just Martin: Peyton Barber went nowhere, and the most effective back was arguably Charles Sims, thanks to a single 21-yard run and a six-yard touchdown reception. The Bucs need more out of their running game if they want to beat teams that are slightly better than the New York Jets.
The Bucs won, which is awesome, but this msut have been the most boring game I’ve ever watched, at least for the first three quarters. Nothing happened. It was a slog to get through. I’ll take entertainment-free wins over exciting losses any day, though.