David Tyree. Malcolm Butler. Joe Jurevicius. Jacoby Jones. Ricky Proehl.
What do these names have in common? All of them made signature plays during their respective teams’ championship runs. When it comes to winning in the postseason you need your not-so-big names to make big-time plays.
That’s exactly what has happened for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the first two games of the 2021 playoffs. Names such as Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller, Mike Edwards, and even Aaron Stinnie are all stepping up and making huge plays when needed. None of these guys were on the field for more than 45% of snaps during the regular season, yet they have looked like veteran starters in the playoffs. Cameron Brate’s name can be thrown in the mix, as well, but he’s more of a technicality than anything. But I digress.
This is extremely important because you can’t always rely on a Mike Evans, a Rob Gronkowski, a Shaquil Barrett or any of your other main guys to make a play. When the game is on the line or when the Bucs are in a difficult situation, teams are going to look to take those guys out of the equation.
Johnson’s 15-yard reception on 3rd and 11 against the Saints is a perfect example. He was on an island with P.J. Williams while the three-man side of the formation was as clogged as a toilet after Thanksgiving dinner. Tom Brady knew he had to rely on Johnson to make a play. Fortunately, Johnson came up with the biggest catch of his young career.
The Bucs need more of this, especially when you consider who they’re playing this weekend. The only question that remains is: Who is going to step up next?