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Buccaneers of the Week: vs. Giants

Which five players were Tampa Bay’s best in Monday night’s 30-10 win over the New York Giants?

NFL: NOV 22 Giants at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After nearly a month away from Raymond James Stadium and just as long without a win, the Buccaneers returned home on Monday night to pick up a 30-10 primetime win over the Giants.

The win snapped Tampa Bay’s two-game losing streak and got the team to 7-3 on the year, which means a full two-game lead atop the NFC South. While there were points left out on the field by the offense in the win over New York, the result of the game was never truly in doubt.

The Bucs managed to get back on the right track ahead of a tougher matchup on Thanksgiving Weekend. But before we move on to Turkey Day—and then Indianapolis—we have Buccaneers of the Week points to award, don’t we?

Honorable Mentions

Leonard Fournette once again played a major role in Tampa Bay’s offensive success, rushing for 35 yards on 10 carries while catching six passes on six targets for 39 yards… Ronald Jones II reemerged this week and ran for 33 yards and a touchdown on eight carries… The Buccaneer offensive line didn’t allow a sack until garbage time, keeping Tom Brady upright all night. Tristan Wirfs graded out the best of any lineman according to Pro Football Focus, earning a 77.8. Aaron Stinnie stepped in for an injured Ali Marpet early in the game and played admirably as well… Ryan Succop connected on all three of his field goal attempts and all three of his extra point tries…

Lavonte David finished the night with eight tackles (five solo) and a quarterback hit… Sean Murphy-Bunting was effective in his first action since Week 1, totaling seven tackles (all solo) and a forced fumble. He was PFF’s highest-graded Buc on the night, earning an 84.1… Steve McLendon was the third-highest graded Buc (78.1), and he recorded his first career interception in the second half, becoming the second-oldest player in NFL history at the time of his first career interception… Antoine Winfield Jr. tallied a pass defended and a fumble recovery in the game… Mike Edwards recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass to continue his impressive season… Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was all over the field on Monday night, racking up six pressures on 29 snaps… Anthony Nelson and Cam Gill earned the Bucs’ only two sacks late in the game.

5. Chris Godwin (One point)

The Buccaneer passing game was spectacular for much of Monday night, and it was Chris Godwin that helped get things on track early. He was, as he always is, Mr. Reliable for the offense, catching all six of his targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. A seven-yard run on an end-around also helped set the tone early before he capped off the team’s opening drive with a 13-yard touchdown catch and run. Godwin averaged 10.8 yards per catch and is well on his way to a second 1,000-yard season in the last three years. He is up to 782 yards and five touchdowns on a team-high 63 receptions this year and he has certainly done his part as of late to cover for the loss of Antonio Brown to injury. The fifth-year receiver, who is playing on the franchise tag this season, should very likely be priority No. 1 for Tampa Bay this offseason. His role in the offense couldn’t be easily filled by just any receiver, and he’s proving week after week why he deserves whatever big contract is coming his way. With one point in the standings this week, Godwin holds on to his top four spot for the season.

4. Devin White (Two points)

After a stretch of poor play in the first half of the season, Devin White has looked more like the Devin White of 2020 in the last two games. After an 18-tackle, two-sack game against Washington in Week 10, he made his presence felt in Week 11 by harassing Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throughout the night. His numbers weren’t quite as eye-catching, but he made a major impact nonetheless. His eight tackles (three solo) don’t necessarily tell the full story. He contributed directly to two turnovers for the Buccaneer defense, pressuring Jones into a bad throw that sailed into the arms of defensive tackle Steve McLendon before later tipping a Jones pass into the arms of Mike Edwards for another interception. He also had a key pressure on a 4th & 1 stop early in the third quarter. After that turnover on downs, Tampa Bay drove down the field, extended its lead to 24-10 and never looked back. White has been on a tear as of late, and he’s earned another two points in the Bucs of the Week Standings for a strong Monday Night Football performance.

3. Rob Gronkowski (Three points)

If anyone had any doubts about just how much the Buccaneer offense missed Rob Gronkowski after his Week 3 injury, just go back and re-watch Monday night’s game against the Giants. The future Hall of Fame tight end returned to the field and showed just how big of a piece he is for Tampa Bay, catching six of his eight targets for 71 yards in addition to dominating as a blocker in the run game. He made big catch after big catch, with the first one going for 35 yards on a 3rd & 3 in the second quarter. That kept the drive alive and the Bucs eventually scored another touchdown to make it 17-10. From there, they never looked back and neither did Gronkowski. He later had a big 14-yard catch on another touchdown drive. There was just something about the veteran tight end’s presence that brought life to the offense. And in his first full dose of action since Tampa Bay’s loss in Los Angeles on Sept. 26, he earned three big points in the Buccaneers of the Week Season Standings. he now has nine on the year, which is good enough for the No. 6 spot.

2. Mike Evans (Four points)

Mike Evans always shows up on Monday Night Football, which is why it was no surprise that he did so again in this week’s 30-10 win over the Giants. The big moment came in the third quarter when he caught his sixth touchdown in six career Monday Night Football games. Not to mention, that score was the 72nd total touchdown of his career. meaning he officially surpassed Mike Alstott (71) for the franchise’s touchdown record. With that record, Evans only furthered his case to be considered as the greatest offensive player in team history—and he’s only 28 years old. On the whole, Evans finished as the leading receiver in the game, catching six passes for 73 yards and the five-yard touchdown that gave the Bucs a 24-10 lead halfway through the third quarter. He was also targeted a team-high 11 times and got the best of James Bradberry, who gave him trouble in past meetings. Evans is now up to 679 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year, plus he’s up to 19 Bucs of the Week points. That’s good enough for second in the season standings through 11 weeks.

1. Tom Brady (Five points)

Bouncing back from two uncharacteristic performances, Tom Brady was the star of the night on Monday. He began the game 10-of-10 for 86 yards and a touchdown, and even an interception—which came on a ball that went off his receiver’s hands—didn’t slow his momentum. He went on to throw for 307 yards and two touchdowns on 30-of-46 passing, which was more than enough to lead the Bucs to a big victory. The crazy part is, Brady admitted himself after the game that the offense left some plays and points out on the field. The unit could’ve finished stronger, settling for a couple of field goals late instead of cashing in with touchdowns. Nonetheless, Brady had a strong Monday night performance and left a lasting memory with a 10-yard scramble on a first-half field goal drive. Plus, he set a new NFL record for seasons with 3,000-plus passing yards, as 2021 is now the 19th such season of his career. The greatest of all time is squarely in the NFL MVP conversation and has been running away with the top spot in the Buccaneers of the Week Standings for weeks.

2021 Buccaneers of the Week Standings through Week 11:

  1. Tom Brady — 33 points
  2. Mike Evans — 19 points
  3. Leonard Fournette — 16 points
  4. Chris Godwin — 12 points
  5. Antonio Brown — 10 points
  6. Rob Gronkowski — 9 points
  7. Antoine Winfield Jr./Devin White — 7 points
  8. Shaquil Barrett — 5 points
  9. Mike Edwards/Joe Tryon-Shoyinka/Vita Vea/Jason Pierre-Paul/Tyler Johnson — 4 points
  10. Ryan Succop — 3 points
  11. Giovani Bernard/Cyril Grayson Jr./Lavonte David — 2 points
  12. Carlton Davis/William Gholston/Offensive Line — 1 point