Much better. The Buccaneers came out in front of their home crowd and got themselves in the win column once again with a 30-10 domination of the New York Giants. On a record setting night, the Bucs improve to 5-0 inside Raymond James before hitting the road again this weekend.
Let’s get right to it.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) The injuries get better, then worse. Sean Murphy-Bunting had a fantastic night in his return while Rob Gronkowski was a solid contributor to the offense. It was great to see those two back on the field in big roles. However, Ali Marpet went down in the first half and was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward. Aaron Stinnie did a fantastic job stepping in for Marpet, but Marpet was playing at a Pro Bowl caliber level. Hopefully he returns next week against the Colts as the Bucs also expect to get Antonio Brown back next week. Health is of critical importance from here on out.
2.) Devin White. White was the victim of a lot of criticism following his horrendous performance against the New Orleans Saints back in October. However, over the last two weeks, White has been spectacular. He helped force two of New York’s three turnovers. One was thanks to the pressure he got on Daniel Jones, forcing a poor pass that was intercepted by defensive tackle Steve McLenodon. The other was on a pass White tipped that was intercepted by Mike Edwards. White is playing some great football and the Bucs will need that to continue next week when Tampa Bay is tasked with trying to slow down Jonathan Taylor who might be the hottest player in football right now.
3.) Mike Evans making his bid. Evans might be on the road to going down as the best Buccaneer in franchise history. All due respect to the greats like LeRoy Selmon, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, and Ronde Barber - but Evans has been incredible from the moment he set foot in the building back in 2014, All he does is get 1,000 yards every season and he is now the sole record holder for most total touchdowns by a player in franchise history - breaking the record held by Mike Alstott. It hasn’t mattered who his quarterback was, who was defending him, what help he had around him. Mike Evans has just been different. Not only will fans look back at his career and think he might be the best player in team history but he’s also working his way towards a gold jacket when all is said and done.
4.) Still in the hunt. With the Bucs moving to 7-3, they’re sitting 1.5 games back of the Arizona Cardinals (9-2) for the one seed and one game behind the Green Bay Packers (8-3) for the two seed. They need some help, but the Buccaneers are by no means out of the running for the top seed in the NFC and given their home (5-0) and road (2-3) splits, home field advantage is a big thing for the Bucs. Getting the two seed wouldn’t result in a bye, but would guarantee home games in at least the first two playoff games. Moral of the story - root against the Cardinals, Rams, Packers, and Cowboys moving forward,
5.) Here comes the stretch. This is the stretch that we’ve been telling people to circle as the tough run for the Bucs. They travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts, then at Atlanta, followed by home games against the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints. The Bucs need to come away with at least three wins in those next four games - and that’s far easier said than done. Obviously you want them to go undefeated but this has been a wild last few weeks in the NFL and anything can happen. After this stretch, however, the schedule favors the Bucs the rest of the way with two games against the Panthers, as well as one against the New York Jets. You just hope the Bucs get the rest of their injured players back and go on a 2020-style run to close things out.
6.) Defense stepped up. Three takeaways, two sacks, holding New York to 1-for-9 on third down. This was the kind of performance the team needed from their defenders to spark some bounce back. Murphy-Bunting hadn’t played since week one and finished as the team’s second leading tackler with seven. Devin White and Lavonte David did a terrific job of containing Saquon Barkley as well as not letting Daniel Jones get loose on the quarterback keepers. Mind you, the defense played this well without Vita Vea who was a huge loss that Tampa Bay hopes to get back sooner than later. This was a statement performance. No, the Giants aren’t a great football team but this is what the defense is supposed to do against teams like this - and they haven’t been. This is what they were supposed to do against Washington. This is how you expect them to play against Atlanta. However - this is how they need to play against Indianapolis if they’re going to get back on track on the road.
Six Numbers To Consider
287 - Starts by Tom Brady without losing three games in a row
51 - Red Zone touchdowns by Mike Evans since 2014, most in the NFL
72 - Total touchdowns by Mike Evans, a new franchise record
19 - Seasons by Tom Brady with over 3,000 yards passing - most in NFL history (Brett Favre - 18)
35 - Steve McLendon’s age, making him the second oldest player (Trace Armstrong - 37) to record his first career interception
154 - Brady touchdowns...since age 40. More than Bart Starr or Roger Staubach had in their careers
Six Best Tweets
Mike Evans is the only active player in the NFL who is the all-time touchdown leader for the team that he is on.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) November 23, 2021
There it is! Mike Evans is now the franchise's all time touchdown leader pic.twitter.com/wokdRo4LYK— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) November 23, 2021
Let’s Talk Turkey
Power ranking Thanksgiving food!
6.) Cranberry sauce – Some like it made with real berries, some like the Jell-O style Ocean Spray can with the ridges embedded on the side (that’s me - I like that one) but cranberry sauce is constantly underrated and overlooked.
5.) Mashed Potatoes – A little low? Maybe. However, we have mashed potatoes all year round. Not too much you can do to make them any more special for a holiday.
4.) Stuffing/Dressing – Yes, there is a slight difference, but not much. If done right, it could be the highlight of the meal.
3.) Sweet Potato Casserole – My personal favorite and again, if done right it can be the highlight of the meal. Don’t come at me with yams or regular mashed sweet potatoes. It’s gotta be the casserole. The brown sugar and pecan crust on top.
2.) Dessert – I’ll encompass all desserts together. Pumpkin pie, although traditional, isn’t a universally loved way to finish off the meal. Whether it’s pumpkin pie or you go pecan pie, apple pie, caramel apple pie, bread pudding, something chocolate…whatever it is, dessert is awesome.
1.) Turkey – Say what you will, but it’s the headliner. The centerpiece. The aroma that fills the house. It’s called “Turkey Day” for a reason. Dark meat, light meat, with or without gravy. Want a leg? Want the skin? It’s all great. And the leftover turkey sandwiches for days? The best. That late afternoon or late night snack, throwing some turkey on one of those dinner rolls for a little Thanksgiving slider? Perfection.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray and Nuke are on their way back, Scary sight
2.) Tennessee Titans - Lost to Houston in a trap game, big test coming up against New England
3.) Green Bay Packers - Tough loss, but division games are always wild
4.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Need a big road win this week
5.) Buffalo Bills - They’re better than the result of Sunday
6.) Kansas City Chiefs - Mahomes and the boys are heating up...