Now standing two games behind the Carolina Panthers entering their Week 13 clash in Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs did some positive things to get a home victory this past weekend.
Here, we’ll take a look at five of those things as factors which could impact whether or not the team is able to secure another this coming weekend.
Perhaps this week’s edition should be more accurately titled, ‘Key Factors’ as none of the items here are singular plays, rather collective efforts which ultimately got the team the ‘W’.
THE PLAY: Nassib sets the tone
Carl Nassib was immediately scooped up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the Cleveland Browns parted ways with him earlier this year. It’s been clear why.
Since joining the Bucs, Nassib has been a bright spot on a defensive line which has been plagued by injury and inconsistency.
Against the 49ers, Nassib was a key contributor to early pressure on quarterback Nick Mullens and one of the reasons he just never looked comfortable during the game.
Nassib ended the game with one sack - a strip sack - and two tackles. To the casual observer, this would appear to be a solid game via the forced fumble and sack.
To those who looked at the difference makers, Nassib was a terror early and often helping the Bucs defense put together it’s most complete performance in the 2018 season.
THE PLAY: Welcome to the Barber shop
18 carries for 47-yards isn’t going to win you a fantasy football championship, but the tough running provided by Peyton Barber certainly helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers control the ball and force the 49ers defense into playing against all eleven offensive players.
Barber’s highlight reel on ESPN was likely a small one, but again, like Nassib for the defense it was the threat of him more than the stats which made him such an impactful player.
Head coach Dirk Koetter had spoken about emphasizing the run more in the past few weeks. In Week 12, they did it. And while the running game didn’t necessarily blow the 49ers out of Florida, it was the body shots that helped set up big plays and key conversions along the way.
THE PLAY: Giving kicking woes the boot
Cairo Santos made kicks. Five of them to be exact. And none of them were even close to being missed.
In fact, when the San Francisco 49ers had an extra point fly into the goal posts, it was the first time in a long time Bucs Nation could actually enjoy the failures of an opposing kicker without the underlying awareness of their own kicker’s ineptitude.
The only concern resulting from the release of Chandler Catanzaro and subsequent signing of Santos was the drop in kickoff ability.
Two weeks in, and the worries haven’t presented as much of a factor, while the improvement in Tampa Bay’s kicking game is obvious and glorious.
While it may be sad to look at made kicks as a such an important factor, it is what it is, and we’re happy to see things are looking up - and good.
THE PLAY: Heisman decision making
Name the two biggest flaws in Jameis Winston’s game up to this point in his career: Accuracy and decision making, right?
Well, at least for one week, he seems to have gotten one of those mostly under control.
He still missed DeSean Jackson with a big overthrow downfield, and he still attempted a rather ugly shovel pass without much awareness of potential threats lurking in his midst. But overall, Winston was sharp and smart.
For those of us who have been readily available to point out and accentuate Winston’s flaws up to this point, it’s these steps forward we need to acknowledge as well.
Playing with the lead helps of course, but the video evidence that Winston is listening when he’s being told not to take so many risks, is encouraging in the present.
Let’s see if it continues into the future.
THE PLAY: Stand up defense!
All year long we’ve known one thing to be true. If an opposing offense gets into the red zone, they’re scoring a touchdown.
Not in Week 12!
An amazing goal line stand against the San Francisco 49ers may have been the singularly most influential string of plays in the entire game.
Not out of it, and only down one score, the opposing team had an opportunity to set the game back to zero and only have to win the last quarter and some change to get the victory.
Instead, thanks to the Buccaneers’ defensive stand on the goal line, the 49ers walked away dissatisfied and still trailing. This gave the Bucs offense the chance to capitalize and put more space between themselves and their opponents, which they did.
27-9 isn’t the final score if the defense doesn’t stand up there, and we’ve all seen this team crumble when playing even or behind.
It wasn’t the only time the defense stood up for the team this past weekend, and at least for one week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shut the door before their opponent could get their big toe in.
Which was the biggest factor to the Bucs getting a win in Week 12?
This poll is closed
Carl Nassib’s disruptive play
Peyton Barber’s body shots
Winston’s decision making
Bucs-D slamming the door