Well would you look at that, two in a row for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are entering rare waters for this franchise as they exited Jacksonville with their second win in a row and will now look to make it three for the first time in what feels like forever. There’s a lot of good to react to in this one so let’s dive right into it.
Usually we start with the offense but this game was won with defense and we’re going to start right with it. How about Todd Bowles group and their ability to bail themselves out of some bad spots?
The defensive front dominated a bad Jaguar offense yesterday, completely shutting down Leonard Fournette on the ground and pillaged the offensive line on it’s way to quarterback. The group combined for four sacks with Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib finishing with one a piece and Shaq Barrett adding a couple of his own. Barrett and Nassib also forced fumbles and the front was simply on point yesterday in all phases.
Lavonte David had a quiet game for someone with seven tackles but that had much to do with rookie Devin White leading the charge on defense with an early interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown to go with his own seven tackles. The rookie continued to improve and is definitely doing his best to put fans at ease after a slow start to his season.
The young defensive backfield came to play for the second week in a row in what is looking to be a developing unit for once. Sean Murphy-Bunting had a big interception in the end zone as the Jaguars was working their way in for a score. Murphy-Bunting did make a boneheaded decision to take the ball out for a return but in the end, all was good as the offense kept things moving along. Jamel Dean did have to leave due to an injury which will be worth watching on this weeks injury report.
The offense did enough but it just didn’t seem like things were all that well put together in the second half. Whether it was Byron Leftwich dialing things back or the fact that Ronald Jones was essentially benched for the game after a missed blitz pick-up, but regardless the offense just wasn’t moving the football that well in the second half.
Jameis Winston did enough to win the game. Winston did have a fumble but it was not his fault in the least. Winston spread the ball around nicely in this one utilizing a wide array of targets in this one. While he didn’t find pay dirt or hit 300 yards, it was a smooth sailing day for Jameis despite some poor blocking up front.
The ground game was bad. I mean bad. Peyton Barber’s 15 yard touchdown run aside, it was an abysmal day for him and Jones trying to find holes that simply weren’t there. Jones was benched according to Bruce Arians due to a missed blitz pick-up. It’s nice to see Arians holding players accountable, if only the gesture extended across all positions on this team.
The receiving core consisted of O.J. Howard for seemingly the first time in a month as Howard tied Breshad Perriman for the team lead in catches. That’s right, they tied, not a typo. Perriman did his best to justify the staff keeping him on the roster instead of cutting him for a potential 4th round pick in next years draft as he had a literal career day. In all, Perriman saw a career high 86 yards receiving on five receptions. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin took a back seat in this one as both hauled in four receptions a piece.
The offensive line struggled quite a bit, especially once Alex Cappa left the game with an elbow injury. Earl Watford was inserted and the blocking up front really struggled after that point. Donovan Smith got beat badly a few times and Watford just couldn’t hold his ground. Jameis got battered a round a bit in this one and the running game was left getting hit in the backfield far too many times.
The defense looks to be improving which is the best news one that is a fan of this Buccaneer team could ask for. Winston put together a mistake free afternoon and the team utilized many weapons thru the air. If Ronald Jones can learn to pick up the blitz on a consistent basis, enough anyway to stay in the game plan, then this team can really take off at any moment.
But... there’s alway a “but” right? This is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers we are talking about and they did just play two pretty bad teams. Next week Tampa Bay takes on the Colts. That’ll be a good test to see how much this team truly has grown. Things are looking to be on the up swing, finally.