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Best and Worst from Week 10: With all pressure on them the Buccaneers put on a show

Missed opportunities and mistakes from Week 9 all but turned on their head in Week 10

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

If news broke tomorrow the Carolina Panthers were upset with the NFL for scheduling them twice to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming off games against New Orleans Saints I would not be surprised.

Each time the Panthers and Bucs have faced off it came after a week of people talking about Tom Brady looking for blood after being embarrassed by the NFC South leaders.

As expected, each time the Panthers took the punishment intended for Drew Brees and the Saints, and have now been swept by the Bucs in the process. Some solid options for our ‘Bests’ this week, and slim pickings for our ‘Worsts’, just how we like it.

THE BEST

RECORD SETTING ROJO

The tweet kind of says it all doesn’t it? Ronald Jones II’s 98-yard run in the third-quarter not only set Tampa Bay’s franchise record for longest touchdown ever, it gave them a two score lead less than halfway through the third quarter after entering it tied at 17.

In fact, the Bucs scored twelve points in the first twelve minutes of the second half. Not a bad way to respond after struggling for much of the first half.

Jones finished tied with Errict Rhett for the fifth-most single-game rushing yards in team history, and notched his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

RECORD SETTING MIKE

Not the same ring to it as Rojo’s header, but Mike Evans hit a milestone of his own on Sunday afternoon by recording his 500th career reception in his 100th NFL game.

Most probably thought he’d hit the mark sooner after teaming up with Tom Brady for the 2020 NFL Season, but it’s a fun mark to hit in his 100th game, so we can overlook some of those lesser performances for now.

With his 500th catch, Evans became the only player in Buccaneers history to enter the 500 Catch Club.

For the week, Evans finished the game tied for second on the team in receptions (6) with Chris Godwin, just one behind Antonio Brown. He also finished second in receiving yards (77) behind Godwin’s 92.

THE DEFENSIVE AWAKENING

There was some visible frustration about the Buccaneers coming out in zone coverage and again appearing to mitigate their own reputation for being aggressive under Todd Bowles. The result was a 17-point first half for the Carolina Panthers, 111-yards passing for Teddy Bridgewater and two passing touchdowns.

Carolina also exploited the more docile defensive approach for three big plays including two 20+ yard connections with wide receiver D.J. Moore and a fourth-down conversion.

In the second half however, not only did the big plays stop, the entire Panthers offense seemingly ceased to exist.

Coming out of halftime with 152-yards of total offense, the Panthers finished the game with 187, for a total offensive output of 35-yards. In fact, if it wasn’t for the near kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter, the Panthers likely wouldn’t have scored a single point in the second half at all.

Whatever woke them up, we’ll be looking to see if it keeps them awake into next Monday night.

THE WORST

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

I’m going to allow this one in because delays in the team’s travel from Tampa to Charlotte led to the team not arriving until Sunday had already turned up on the calendar.

Arians praised his team for their ability to overcome this unique bit of adversity on top of everything else stacked against them.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

KICKOFF COVERAGE

It didn’t come back to bite the Bucs in the you-know-where, but mistakes on kick coverage have a tendency to come back up at the worst time if they aren’t cleaned up quickly.

Panthers kick returner Trenton Cannon returned three kicks on Sunday afternoon for a total of 151-yards including the 98-yard return which helped the Panthers trim a fifteen point lead to nine.

While it didn’t become a rallying event against the Buccaneers, it’s something worth keeping an eye on as the organization continues trying to become a complete football team.

RED ZONE EXECUTION

Ryan Succop made four field goals and four extra points missing just one kick on a blocked extra point. He deserves to be among the ‘Best’ if we allowed a fourth candidate.

It’s good to see the Bucs with a kicker they can finally rely on, but at the same time, it’s disheartening to a certain level to see them turn to him so often.

Of his four field goals three of them came on drives Tampa Bay’s offense got inside the red zone.

The Bucs got into the red zone eight times and scored touchdowns on four of those trips. Not terrible numbers, and again they won so we’re hitting the nit picking button here, but you want to see them scoring touchdowns more often than not when inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

An even split is good enough to win against the Panthers, but may not be against teams of better talent levels and ability.

It feels good to nit-pick a bit on this weeks Best and Worst column. Here’s hoping we have to dig deep again following Week 11. See you then.

Poll

Which was THE Worst part of Week 10?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Travel Issues
    (24 votes)
  • 29%
    Kickoff Coverage
    (97 votes)
  • 63%
    Red Zone Execution
    (210 votes)
331 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which was THE Best part of Week 10?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Ronald Jones’ Franchise Record Performance
    (199 votes)
  • 5%
    Mike Evans’ 500th
    (16 votes)
  • 28%
    Return of Defensive Dominance
    (87 votes)
302 votes total Vote Now