How about that folks? Back to back complete games by your Tampa Bay Buccaneers on both sides of the ball. This game was a tale of two quarterbacks on offense with Jameis Winston playing a second game in a row of turnover free football while Cam Newton tossed four interceptions in the ball game. The Buccaneers defense, led by All-Pro Andrew Adams (wait... who?), swarmed the football and the defensive line constantly got into Cam Newton’s face. Let’s take a look and react to what we saw in an all around good game by the Buccaneers on Sunday.
The offense looked in control for most of the afternoon.
For three quarters of the game it looked like the Buccaneers offense was cruising a bit. Jameis Winston had his second very good game in a row with a pair of touchdown passes that went to Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries, moving about the pocket and even scrambling to the tune of 48 yards on 5 carries. Jameis Winston looked the way a 1st overall pick should look, under control and in charge.
The ground game struggled mightily throughout this game aside from a Peyton Barber 17 yard scramble. The other 19 carries between Barber (16/45 yds overall) and Rodgers (4/2 yards overall) went for a measly 30 yards total. The struggles on the ground showed late in this ball game as Tampa Bay’s offense was unable to really put the Panthers away and move the sticks when it needed to the most.
The air attack had a rather reserved day from what fans have come to expect this season as the team only passed the ball for 249 yards on the afternoon. Winston connected with 5 different targets led by Chris Godwin’s 5 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. Adam Humphries played a good game catching 7 of his 9 targets and Mike Evans threw in 4 grabs for 48 yards of his own. Evans was victim to a few penalties in this game including his usual offensive pass interference that has plagued him throughout his NFL career.
The offensive line struggled to create lanes for the running backs and allowed Winston to be sacked 4 times in this one. Donovan Smith had a few really poor snaps in this ball game. A more consistent offensive line likely would have led to some more scoring in this ball game. Luckily for the offense, the defense came to play in a big way.
Is defense making its returning to Tampa Bay?
The defensive front was on it all game long. Jason Pierre-Paul and the defensive line led a merciless attack on Cam Newton and his offensive line all game long. Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry each landed themselves a sack. Gerald McCoy directly affected two pass plays that resulted in Cam Newton thrown interceptions. Carl Nassib was seen in the backfield a few times. Folks, it was a thing of beauty and a slight glimpse of what use to be in the days of Simeon Rice and Warren Sapp. Even if only for a day, it was a great display of effort up front by the Buccaneers.
Lavonte David is back and he played lights out in this ball game. David record a sack to go with his 12 tackles and a pass deflected that landed the football in the hands of Andrew Adams. Adarius Taylor added 4 tackles and deflected a pass as well that nearly went for an interception. The linebacking group looked much improved against the pass in this one. Kevin Minter got into the mix with a sack, his first of the season.
The defensive backs showed some very positive signs, none more so than Andrew Adams and his 3 interceptions tying a Buccaneer single game record. Jordan Whitehead finished with 7 total tackles and Javien Elliot added an interception and 4 tackles of his own too. With a group as injured as this one here, the positives coming out of this game are all over the place.
Cairo Santos and Bryan Anger were worth their money in this one.
Santos continues to look like the savior on special teams for the Buccaneers. Santos nailed all 4 of his kicks that included 3 extra points and a field goal. Punter Bryan Anger was a busy man, punting 6 times for 267 yards. Anger pinned the Panthers twice inside their own 20 yard line in this game.
The Buccaneers are looking like a complete team for the first time arguably ever under Dirk Koetter. The offense is playing relatively mistake free, the defense is creating turnovers and getting to the quarterback and the kickers are doing their jobs. The question now is this... is it all coming together too late? With the team looking as good as they have the last two games, is that enough to warrant some more time with Dirk as the head coach? Is Jameis Winston earning that 20 million for next year? Has Mark Duffner made this big of a difference and if so... what may have been had this move been made much sooner? With the team playing so well right now it’s only increasingly frustrating for fans to wonder, what if? Either way, this is a team to be proud of for the time being. Enjoy it Buccaneer fans. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like a good football team at the moment. As always, Go Bucs!