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Buccaneers at Broncos day-after-game reactions

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass during the week 2 contest against the Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

My first gut reaction was a bit of excitement and satisfaction after the Bucs beat the Broncos on Sunday. The game plan seemed to come together nicely. The defense dominated with the return of “Sack” Barrett, Tom Brady didn’t turn the ball over once and Gronk finally got the ball. Even though it was a solid game, and it was well executed, the game was still a bit lackluster.

Sure, there were plenty of things to get excited about, but let’s keep it real though. It’s not like they won against one of the best teams in the league. In fact, the Broncos are one of the worst teams in the league right now.

The Broncos have absolutely been decimated by injuries. Their defensive star, Von Miller (ankle), is out for the season. Quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder), wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) running back Phillip Lindsay (foot), cornerbacks Devontae Harris (hamstring) and A.J. Bouye (shoulder) were all out of the week 3 contest.

On Sunday Broncos defensive lineman Jurrell Casey inured his bicep and is now out for the season as well according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

The Bucs should’ve scored a lot higher against a limping Broncos team. I mean, we can all feel bad for the Broncos some other day, but the Buccaneers should’ve taken full advantage and destroyed them on both sides of the ball, especially on offense.

The Bucs offense remained conservative, spread the ball thin and made sure there were no major mistakes.....(screeching tire sounds) scratch that. They still managed to incur 9 penalties for 71 yards. This Bucs offense still has a long way to go, and it’s beyond just getting the ball downfield.

Ok, I’m done being a “debbie-downer.” We all witnessed the Bucs absolutely crush it on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucs Nation staff always comes out with their bold predictions each week. Of which, 3 of us predicted a strong game by the defense. Evan was spot on with his 2 sack prediction for Shaquil Barrett, David predicted 3 sacks which Barrett came close to doing with his 2 additional QB hits, and I predicted the Broncos would be held to under 200 total yards (actual was 226 yards).

The only major criticism I have of the defense was how soft they played the coverage in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Even earlier in the game during goal line situations, like when Driskel connected with Patrick for a 7-yard touchdown pass. They knew Driskel was going to throw the ball, sure, but they were giving every receiver 5 yards of cushion. It didn’t matter much at the end of the game, but that’s not the point.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Denver Broncos
Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski catches a ball during the second half against the Denver Broncos where he brought in 6 receptions for 48 yards
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

We finally saw Rob Gronkowski get the ball. I think everyone was excited to see that finally happen. He not only led the tight ends, but led the entire team in receptions. In Yarko’s Pick Six, James commented on the “Gronk and Brady connection.”

It took a few weeks.....but it looks like the Brady to Gronk connection is reaching vintage form.

Vintage form indeed. The veteran tight end finally seemed to get his football legs under him and got in to open space and exposed the offense. This is definitely a good sign for things to come. Here’s what he had to say after the game.

Yeah, it just felt good to be out there making a couple plays [here] and there, getting involved in the passing game.

You just have to keep working hard in practice. It’s been there in camp and stuff and during the practice week.

It just felt good to get involved and the way Tom spreads the ball out is unbelievable. I mean he find the open guy wherever he needs to and spreads the ball out and hits the guy that’s open.

Evans reeled in 2 more touchdowns this week, so he’s proving to be in prime form and will continue to be heavily depended on. Although, the major disappointment was seeing Chris Godwin go down in the 3rd quarter. Him and “SMB” Sean Murphy-Bunting went down with hamstring issues.

Our own James Yarko wrote:

Every week it seems as though someone new is missing time with the same issue. This staff needs to figure out what the problem is and get it taken care of.

If Godwin is out an extended period of time, it could lead to trouble for the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers injuries could become an issue for sure. I can’t agree with James on this more. I think the hamstring concerns need to dealt with by the training staff week in and week out, or they need to find someone who can. This comes down to proper stretching, muscle rehydration, conditioning, therapy and rehab. This is chronic across the league right now, not just in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Denver Broncos
Bucs running back Ronald Jones II was the lead ball carrier with 13 carries for 53 yards against the Denver Broncos in week 3
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

I’m just curious, why on Earth did it seem like there was no running game? Bucs Nation staff writer David Harrison wrote about this in his Best and Worst article.

The final stat line for Tampa Bay’s running attack reads 20 carries for 68-yards and no touchdowns.

If the Buccaneers get into the situations they want to be in against some of the better teams in the NFL, they’ll need to be able to control the clock and keep quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers off the field as long as possible.

Many of you will likely comment about this, but I’m really bugged out by the lack of running in this game. With as much talent as this team has behind Brady, they could’ve easily ran it up and down the field all day on this defense. Probably the best opportunity they’re going to have all season.

The only defensive lineman that they had to contend with was Shelby Harris, and all they needed to do was double up on him and block him out but the O-line was too busy in pass pro throughout the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp
Bucs OC Byron Leftwich watches on during training camp
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Bucs possessed the ball 6 minutes longer than the Broncos. This was poor game-time management. Another area for Byron Leftwich and his offense to continue to tweak.

The plus is, each week they find something new to improve. They’re effectively improving in areas they need to from week to week. But, they still haven’t figured out how to improve on the mental errors though. That comes down to discipline and accountability to stop losing critical yardage on stupid mental mistakes.

All in all, I think everyone is really impressed. Really happy to see this team improving and excited to see how Week 4 will fare against a decent Los Angeles Chargers team at home.