Talk about Jeckyll and Hyde. The Buccaneers’ offense on Sunday in the first half was one of the most lackluster, uninspired things we could ever witness. You would think with all these “weapons” that a sixty yard output in the first half would be impossible. But it’s not - and that’s what the Bucs did.
That said, they came out in the second half with the determination, will, and adjustments to change all that. Down 17-0 at half then 24-7 after each team touched the ball in the second half, the Buccaneers were able to storm back for the 31-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons, taking them one step closer to a playoff berth.
Let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) You got two weeks. Yes, two weeks to figure this out. If this team can put together a complete game on both sides of the ball, they will be one of the toughest teams in the league to beat. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen them do that yet this year. They are one of the worst first quarter teams in the NFL and it’s like they decide they have to spot their opponent a two score lead before deciding that it’s time to start playing. You can get away with that against teams like the Falcons or Giants. You can’t against the teams that you’ll face in the postseason. Of course, if the Bucs’ first complete game is in the first round of the postseason, I think we’d all take it.
2.) Devin White is a machine. I don’t care what anyone says - Devin White could very well be the best inside linebacker in the NFL. When the defense needed a spark, it was White who rose to the occasion. He recorded sacks on three consecutive drives and all three were on third downs. That’s what elite players do - they show up with a big play when the team needs them the most. White now has eight sacks on the season with two games remaining.
3.) Missing RoJo. You could certainly tell the Buccaneers were missing Ronald Jones in the first half. Leonard Fournette couldn’t get things going on the ground and was unable to take advantage of any holes the offensive line created for him. It’s not that Fournette didn’t do some good things but there’s no question that RoJo is the superior back and really provides a boost to the offense. The sooner Tampa Bay gets him back, the better.
4.) Deep ball activated. Mike Evans found himself in a situation where he got some big chunk yardage but it was Antonio Brown who got his first touchdown reception as a member of the Buccaneers who put the Bucs on top for good. A 46-yard dime by Brady hit AB in stride right at the five yard line as he coasted into the end zone from there. As we’ve said - time and time, again - these things take time. AB’s late addition to the team and his being out of football for over a year was bound to create a bit of a learning curve and it would take a little while before the rust and timing were no longer an issue. Hopefully, that’s the first of many connections we see from these two moving forward.
5.) Control your own destiny. With the Rams’ loss to the Jets - which, come on...only the Jets could lose by winning as they no longer hold the number one pick in the draft - the Bucs now control their own destiny for the fifth seed in the playoffs. The Rams and Seahawks square off next week with the winner in position to win the division. The loser would then fall behind the Bucs as far as seeding is concerned. The Rams would fall to 9-6, giving the Bucs a one game advantage with one game to go while the Seahawks would fall to 10-5 but lose the potential tie-breaker should both teams finish 11-5. All the Bucs have to do is win and they will be facing the winner of the NFC East.
6.) But that’s not all! With the surprising loss to the Eagles last week and a loss to the Chiefs yesterday, the Saints are not guaranteed the division. All Bucs fans will be joining Vikings fans on Christmas day hoping for an upset by Minnesota. That would leave the Saints at 10-5 heading into the final week of the season where they will meet their former quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who could send the Saints from the two all the way down to the five seed and the Bucs would be the NFC South champions. It’s a long shot - but so was the Jets winning a game this season. Anything can happen.
Six Key Numbers
17 - Point deficit, tied for the second biggest comeback in Bucs’ history
0 - Career losses to the Atlanta Falcons by Tom Brady
12.6 - Percentage of Mike Evans’ career receiving yards that have come against the Falcons
99 - Percent chance the Buccaneers make the playoffs
390 - Passing yards by Brady are his most since 2017 against New Orleans (447)
76 - Career touchdowns by Antonio Brown, the fourth most among active players
Six Best Tweets
F̶i̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶n̶o̶n̶s̶— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) December 20, 2020
Fire uniforms pic.twitter.com/kU4m5qUBl2
Cowboy hat trick https://t.co/13bb3ISi8s— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) December 20, 2020
DEVIN WHITE WITH HIS SECOND THIRD DOWN SACK IN A ROW pic.twitter.com/ufBIOxK6lj— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) December 20, 2020
ANTOINE WINFIELD JR.! pic.twitter.com/gkzPkYf1aj— Locked On Bucs (@LockedOnBucs) December 20, 2020
it me. @TheFalcoholic pic.twitter.com/8NmC3xQ8h1— Jolly Old St. Rick (@ricknogers) December 20, 2020
The Bucs had almost 300 more yards of offense in the second half than they did in the first half.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) December 20, 2020
LIKE WUT?! THREE HUNDRED?!
Six Best Christmas Songs
Oh, ‘tis the season, folks! Last year I ranked Christmas movies (I think - last Christmas was a long time ago considering there’s been 26 months in 2020) so this year we’re going with songs! These are in now particular order, just some fun ones that should get you in the spirit for Friday.
1.) “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Like you all didn’t know this was going to be on here? For those that have followed me on Twitter for any length of time, you know how much I love the boss.
2.) “Mary, Did You Know?” - Kenny Rodgers and Wynonna Judd
This is my mom’s favorite Christmas song and her favorite version. You know I have to give a shout out to mom!
3.) “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” - Brenda Lee
A classic. No doubt about it.
4.) Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” - Burl Ives
His voice is Christmas.
5.) “Run Rudolph Run” - Chuck Berry
A little rockin with the red nosed reindeer
6.) “Away In A Manger” - Carrie Underwood
Always been one of my favorites that just isn’t played nearly enough in my opinion. Carrie Underwood’s version is incredible.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Kansas City Chiefs - Just seem unstoppable at this point
2.) Green Bay Packers - Tight game, but they stay in control of that one seed in the NFC
3.) Buffalo Bills - Josh Allen is coming for all of you - and there’s nothing you can do about it
4.) New Orleans Saints - Not at full strength and showing signs of vulnerability
5.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Should get back on track against Cincinnati
6.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - If that second half team shows up in the postseason - look out
Six Final Words
Have a safe and merry Christmas!