How great does it feel to start the week off with a Victory Monday thanks to a full team effort from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? For the first time all season it seemed like the Buccaneers knew what they were doing in all phases of the game. A weak 49ers team came to Tampa Bay and the Bucs handled business. This game went so well that first round pick Vita Vea even had a couple highlight plays of his own. Let’s dive into the different phases of the team and give some reactions.
Tampa Bay’s offense was calm and collected in a rare zero turnover effort.
On Sunday afternoon, even if only for a day, Jameis Winston looked like the quarterback that Jason Licht envisioned leading this team for the long haul. Winston took care of the football, delivered a pair of touchdown’s in the air and did so all while keeping the ball with the offense. A zero turnover day is a rarity in Tampa regardless of which quarterback has been at the helm. Winston finished completing 29 of 38 pass attempts for 312 yards to go with his two touchdowns. Jameis was in full control in this one, hitting his check downs, climbing the pocket and taking off when need be. Jameis netted himself 24 yards on 7 carries in the ballgame. There was even some patented Jameis Winston school yard play in this one as seen in this clip of Jameis scrambling about to find Adam Humphries.
Jameis scrambles to find a wide open Humphries who fights for the TD! pic.twitter.com/hJGQSDSQjH— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 25, 2018
The ground game was rather ineffective outside of a pair of long runs by Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber. The two combined for 78 yards on 23 carries including a touchdown run by Barber. Rodgers saw quite a bit of snaps in this ball game while rookie Ronald Jones was a healthy scratch. Barber only edged Rodgers in this game by 2 snaps.
The receiving core had themselves a solid day as a group with 8 players in total catching passes in this ballgame. 6 different players caught at least 3 passes with Mike Evans and Adam Humphries leading the way with 6 catches each. Evans crossed the century mark in this ball game as well as the 1K mark on the season becoming the 3rd in history to do so in each of their first 5 seasons. Noteworthy in this one is some post game saltiness via DeSean Jackson’s instragram post shown below. Discontent is nothing new surrounding Jackson as many know. After a good team win to display this type of behavior is a bit disappointing but then again, that’s who Jackson is.
The offensive line got bullied early on in this game and with Demar Dotson leaving early and Alex Cappa being thrusted into the game for his first ever action next to Webster who filled in for Dotson, growing pains were to be expected. As the game went on, both players picked up their play a bit but this will without a doubt be something to keep an eye on down the stretch should either be asked to play a more prominent role on the line.
The defense came through led by Jason Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea.
For one afternoon, Vita Vea showed the fan base and coaches why he was a top selection. Vea flew into the backfield on several occassions and notched his first career sack. Jason Pierre-Paul recorded a sack to make him the first Buccaneer since Simeon Rice to record double digit sacks in a season and Gerald McCoy and Carl Nassib each added a sack of their own in this one. The pressure was real and for once, the defensive line delivered for an entire game. Below you can see Vea wrecking his way into the quarterback.
Vita Vea is having a game! pic.twitter.com/Lm1BDxnC0E— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 25, 2018
Devante Bond played much better this week at linebacker and the group as a whole looked more comfortable in this one. The talent gap they are making up for is serious and one can hardly expect either Bond or Taylor to be Lavonte David or Kwon Alexander, but the group had a much better showing in this one.
The defensive back field, specifically the safeties, had themselves a game. Jordan Whitehead and Isaiah Johnson combined for 17 tackles while Johnson added an interception to that. Ryan Smith came up with an interception in this game as well ended a horrific drought from this defense that saw game after game go by with zero turnovers.
Cairo Santos continued to looked like a legit NFL kicker.
Bryan Anger had a solid game punting for the Buccaneers sending 2 of his 5 punts inside the opponents 20. The real story in this one however is Cairo Santos making both of his field goal attempts and sending all 3 extra points through the uprights. Tampa Bay has not had this consistent of a kicker in what feels like ages and for once, fans can breathe a bit when the team lines up for the extra point.
This was the team many expected to see perform when Jameis Winston made his initial return from suspension. Winston looked like a quarterback you could not only rely on, but one you want to have the ball in his hands. The front four on defense got after the quarterback throughout the game and it was key additions like Vea, Pierre-Paul and Nassib doing a lot of the work alongside mainstay Gerald McCoy. There were too many weapons on offense for the San Francisco 49ers to cover properly and the ball was spread around. The result says it all, 27-9 victory for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers welcome Carolina to the Bay next week and the team picked may have picked a good time to turn things around.