Isn’t it amazing what happens when a team with this much talent - despite missing some key defensive pieces - puts together a complete game of complimentary football? They didn’t turn the ball over, they got their first defensive takeaway since week three, and they collectively made smart decisions.
The result? A 27-9 win that didn’t even feel that close.
Jameis Winston might have played his best game in the last two seasons.
There were plenty of other standouts as well - Vita Vea, Peyton Barber, Jordan Whitehead. It seemed as if everyone had a hand - or a play - that helped propel this team to a win.
That said, let’s pick six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Visor Jameis Is The Best Jameis. Jameis Winston was outstanding. No, he didn’t have eye popping stats, but his decision making was unlike any other game we’ve seen him play. He wasn’t forcing passes, he was checking down when needed, he was avoiding pressure. No question this was an impressive performance. Most importantly, he protected the football. Honestly, he looked like a different guy. This is the Winston the Bucs need to see moving forward for the rest of 2018 and into 2019.
2.) Cairo Santos Deserves A Lifetime Contract. Okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but since joining the team Santos is perfect on extra points and field goals. Such a relief to not have to pull out an asthma inhaler every time a kicker sets foot on the field.
3.) Be Careful What You Wish For. We’ve been saying for a while now that Alex Cappa deserves a chance. Caleb Benenoch has been atrocious at right guard while rookie Alex Cappa has been a healthy scratch week after week. Well, Cappa got his chance and wow - the right side of that offensive line nearly got Winston killed on multiple occasions. Jameis was running for his life all day, especially following the loss of Demar Dotson, which usually gets him into trouble. Fortunately he was making smart decisions, but Cappa is very obviously not better than Benenoch, which is unfortunate for the Bucs. This team, yet again, needs a full overhaul along the line sans Ali Marpet.
4.) Why Does This Staff Love Jacquizz Rodgers So Much? Don’t get me wrong, I like Quizz. However, Peyton Barber was running really well up the middle (again) then disappeared for nearly an entire quarter in favor of Quizz. And if Ronald Jones is healthy, as Koetter said he was, why is he a healthy scratch on game day? The kid needs as much game day experience as possible. We’ve seen it help Vita Vea (who I’ll get to in a minute) and the same would happen for RoJo with the opportunity. He’s not going to get any better only taking practice reps. Again, I love Quizz, but Barber and RoJo need to be the guys for this offnese.
5.) Have A Day Big Fella! For all those people (still) whining and crying over the Vita Vea over Derwin James draft pick, I’ve preached patience. No, I don’t believe James is as effective in Tampa Bay as he’s been in Los Angeles. Vea has been learning on the fly since he missed training camp, preseason, and the beginning of the regular season. I’ve pointed to his power and ability to blow up his opposition, saying that once things click for him he’s going to be a force. Things are apparently starting to click. Vea tackled Niners running backs for a loss twice and got his second career sack, accounting for 50% of the Bucs’ TFL’s Sunday. This guy’s power is unmatched, it just took time for him to get caught up.
6.) The Fan Dilemma. Seems we go through this every year. I’m not going to tell fans how to root for a team. I was never one to root against my own teams (except for this year when I was hoping Illinois would go winless and fire Lovie Smith - instead he got a two year extension) but some fans root for short term struggles in favor of long term success. With the win Sunday, the Bucs dropped to pick ten in the NFL draft. Many fans would rather see them lose in favor of the higher draft pick over the short term enjoyment of a meaningless win. Last year, the win over the Saints in week seventeen cost the Bucs enough spots in the draft that they missed out on guard Quenton Nelson. How dominant would the line be if Marpet and Nelson played opposite one another? Hindsight is always 20/20, but wins at this point could actually hurt the Bucs more. Not to mention, Dirk Koetter could go from dead man walking to keeping his job if the Bucs rattle off a few in a row here and finish strong. Just a thought...
Six Numbers To Consider
3 - Receivers in NFL history with 1,000 yards in their first five seasons: A.J. Green, Randy Moss, and Mike Evans
+2 - Bucs’ turnover differential vs 49ers
13 - Years since the Bucs had a player reach double-digit sacks. JPP now has 10.5, most since Simeon Rice had 14 in 2005
6 - 100-yard games by Mike Evans this season, tied for second most in a season in franchise history with Antonio Bryant
79 - Career touchdown passes by Jameis Winston, second most in Buccaneers’ history
10 - Bucs’ current draft position
Six Best Tweets (In No Particular Order)
Bucs QB Jameis Winston finished 29-for-38 today -- that's 76.3 percent, fourth-best single-game total of his career. Top four have all come in the last calendar year.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 25, 2018
Maui found his hook.— Tim Richardson (@TimARichardson) November 25, 2018
Lavonte, Evans, Davis, JPP, VH3, Stewart, Beckwith, Kwon.... pic.twitter.com/KxTem1NjRe— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) November 25, 2018
Way to go, Velcro!!!— The PewterCast (@ThePewterCast) November 25, 2018
I don’t care what y’all say, Vita is having his best game as a Buc. pic.twitter.com/aqCjiRw7YW
That was what we have read about...it is called a...— What the Buc (@WhatTheBuc) November 25, 2018
Jameis scrambles to find a wide open Humphries who fights for the TD! pic.twitter.com/hJGQSDSQjH— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 25, 2018
Six Top Performers
6.) Jordan Whitehead - Did a solid job when covering George Kittle, had some key pass breakups, and was in on a lot of tackles. Overall, he’s rapidly improving and out performing his fourth round status.
5.) Adam Humphries - Key catches in key situations and the icing on the cake touchdown to seal the game. Humphries now has four touchdowns on the season and is becoming more involved in the offense.
4.) Jason Pierre-Paul - Gotta give credit to a guy that ended the double-digit sack drought. He left with what looked like a pretty bad injury, but battled back and came back into the game. Best acquisition in Licht’s GM career
3.) Vita Vea - By far the best game of his career. Just have to hope he continues on this trajectory
2.) Mike Evans - Six receptions for 116 yards including a 42 yard reception. Continues to etch his name in historic fashion among the NFL’s best receivers
1.) Jameis Winston - His best performance of the season and one of the best of his career. 76.3% completion percentage, 312 yards, two touchdowns, and NO turnovers. More of that, Jameis...more of that.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) New Orleans Saints - Even when Kamara and Thomas don’t get in the end zone, Brees finds a way to get guys involved that you’ve never heard of
2.) Los Angeles Rams - If that defense tightens up just a little, watch out
3.) Kansas City Chiefs - Maybe even Andy Reid can’t screw this up
4.) Pittsburgh Steelers - May be the one team that can beat Kansas City
5.) New England Patriots - Yeah, it’s Bill and Tom, but it’s starting to have a different feel this season....
26.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - A win feels nice. It’s been a while.