The Buccaneers have made major improvements on both offense and defense throughout their four game winning streak. They came away with another great win against the Detroit Lions this week, and look to end off the season with two more. Throughout these past four weeks, the Bucs have looked like they are starting to play and mesh well under Bruce Arians new coaching.
Breshad Perriman has showed that he has been a great addition to the Bucs wide receiving core in recent weeks after having a slow start to the season. He had his best statistical game of his career finishing with 113 yards receiving and 3 touchdown catches. With the recent injury to Mike Evans, Perriman has done a great job stepping up and helping the Bucs offense succeed. He will also have a bigger role in the offense with the recent hamstring injury to Chris Godwin likely ending the rest of his season.
Sean Murphy-Bunting had a great game against the Lions leading the Bucs in tackles with 8 and having a game sealing pick six. Bunting also leads the team in interceptions with 3 and has become one of the best corner backs on the Bucs. He has had an impressive rookie season and has been a perfect fit in Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme.
Jameis Winston has been one of the most challenging players to evaluate this season due to many great and poor performances. Winston started off the game with a signature interception during the first offensive drive. However, he completely turned his performance around throughout the rest of the game finishing with an impressive 458 yards and 4 touchdowns while having a fractured thumb. He is currently the only player to throw for 450 yards and four touchdowns in two consecutive games. It will be interesting to see what the Bucs decide to do with the recent great performances by Winston.
While the passing game was the main strength of the Bucs against the Lions, they weren’t able to get the running game going. Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber were both held to under 25 yards rushing and around 2 yards per carry. This can be a crucial problem for the Bucs moving forward due to the imbalance of the passing and rushing game. Without having a reliable and effective running game, this puts more pressure on Winston throwing.
Matt Gay had a crucial missed 54 yard field goal at the end of the game leading to a missed opportunity to take a 10-point lead over the Detroit Lions. This allowed the Lions to get the ball back and possibly lead to a late touchdown to tie the game. Fortunately, Sean Murphy-Bunting had a interception returned for a touchdown that drive sealing the game. This was Gay’s only missed field goal out of his 6 kicks but it could have been a crucial game changer if the Lions capitalized off it.
This last spot on the losers list was a difficult pick to make but Justin Watson made it mainly due to the impressive performances of the other wide receivers. Since the Bucs are thin at wide receiver, this has given younger players like Watson the chance to show their talent. He was also given the opportunity to return punts due to T.J Logan being out for the season with a broken thumb. Watson wasn’t able to display his full potential and skill level this game leading him to the losers list. He had a muffed punt causing the Bucs to have bad field position and only finished with 2 catches for 17 yards. With the recent injuries to Evans and Godwin, Watson will be given a bigger role in the offense and two more games to show his talent.