Now, we move on to the plays of the year with the offense coming up to the plate first.
The 2020 season was full of solid plays to choose from, and picking just five was hard. Which, of course, means some voters are sure to wish a play they thought should’ve made the ballot was included.
Armed with the accepted knowledge someone isn’t going to like the list, here are your candidates for the Buccaneers’ ‘Offensive Play of the Year’.
ROJO ERUPTS ON A DIVISION RIVAL
If December is the true beginning of the playoff race then November is when the competitors truly emerge. Coming off a big loss to the New Orleans Saints the week prior, the Buccaneers needed something to shake the bad feeling and wash out the nasty taste left in their mouth.
Entering halftime there weren’t a whole lot of Bucs fans on the internet not a little nervous their team was about to drop two straight to division rivals, sending Tampa Bay to a 6-4 record with the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs coming in the next two weeks.
A Ryan Succop field goal early in the third quarter gave his squad a three-point lead, but it was Ronald Jones II’s 98-yard run on the team’s second possession of the half that gave the Bucs some breathing room, and put their fans a little more at ease.
When the game was over it would be revealed Jones’ run was the game-winning score, as Tampa Bay left Carolina with a 46-23 victory, and their seventh win of the season.
TB TO AB FOR THE WIN
Big pitch and catch from Bucs quarterback Tom Brady to Antonio Brown for a 46-yard touchdown and their first lead of the game in a 31-27 Week 15 win over the Atlanta Falcons. pic.twitter.com/zzQTdFZwN8— Locked On Bucs (@LockedOnBucs) February 14, 2021
Antonio Brown’s two best games of the season came against the Atlanta Falcons, but the play he made near the end of the first one stands out, even over his two touchdown performance in Week 17.
In Week 15, the Buccaneers were still one week from clinching a playoff spot, but only if they defeated an Atlanta Falcons team they certainly outmatched on paper. As the cliche goes, there’s a reason they play the game, and the Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 first half lead over the Bucs.
While the Buccaneers started delivering points of their own in the second half the Falcons were able to score ten of their own giving them a 27-24 lead with just half a quarter remaining in the game.
Looking to close out their playoff aspiring divisional rivals, Atlanta’s defense lined up against the Buccaneers offense at the 46-yard line hoping to hold Tom Brady to a field goal at worst.
Instead, Brady found Brown streaking down the left side digits and hit him for a go-ahead score giving the Buccaneers their first lead of the game, and the only one they needed.
The win pushed the Bucs to 9-5 on the season and set the team up for a playoff clinching scenario in Detroit, for Week 16.
A FRANCHISE CHANGING RECORD FOR THE GOAT
Tom Brady and Mike Evans set some records together in year one. Including one on this touchdown connection which gave Brady the single-season record for scoring passes in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.— Locked On Bucs (@LockedOnBucs) February 14, 2021
Tom Brady is no stranger to records. Mike Evans has a decent amount of Buccaneers franchise records sitting on his mantle, and one week after this next play he became the first wide receiver in NFL history to start his career with seven straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
This pass however, not only gave Tom Brady the single-season record for touchdown passes in Buccaneers history. It was also the game winning score as the Detroit Lions put up just seven points on the afternoon, and it because of that fact this was the play which officially broke the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ streak of missing the post-season.
Setting a franchise record, breaking a losing culture, oh, and he became only the second quarterback to throw for 340+ yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in one half since 1991, and the most recent quarterback to accomplish that feat since - Tom Brady.
EVER SEE A GOAT RIDE A SCOOTER?
Have to think you want to cover Scotty Miller if you’re the Packers here pic.twitter.com/A0LbHt7r4g— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 24, 2021
With eight seconds left in the first half of the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the ball at their opponent’s 39-yard line. No timeouts and conventional wisdom meant they could try a quick out route to get into better field goal position, try the 54-yard kick right there, or look for a Hail Mary type play to end the half.
There was another option though. The ‘full-biscuit’ option as I’m calling it. In this option you line up looking like you’re probably looking for the short yards and an easier kick. Bunched receivers with nobody outside screams out route, and the Packers secondary reacted by keeping their defensive backs outside the hashes in better position to make a play on just such a pass.
Instead of breaking out, you actually force the defense to man cover your fastest downfield receiver by pushing all routes but his to the inner three-quarters of the field leaving Scotty Miller the far left quadrant all to himself with a panicking Packers defensive back desperately trailing behind.
Not only did the Bucs get the biscuit, they got seven points, and eventually left the not-so-frozen tundra with a five point ticket to Super Bowl LV.
TRADING DIMES FOR DOLLARS
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski connecting in the Super Bowl twice making history on top of history. Here, you see the Buccaneers’ 2020 4th-Round pick catching his second touchdown of the game. Which turned out to be the game-winning score.— Locked On Bucs (@LockedOnBucs) February 14, 2021
Jason Licht has taken a lot of grief over the years. Some of it deserved, some of it not. Some of it without the realization no general manager is perfect or without bust if they survive more than three-five selection meetings.
We’re not here to defend Licht though. He’s got a Lombardi and one hell of a boat parade on record to do that for him.
We are here to celebrate one of his best NFL Draft decisions to date though. Of course, we’re talking about Licht’s use of his 2020 fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft to add tight end Rob Gronkowski to the roster.
To a certain extent, the New England Patriots didn’t have a choice. Get nothing and still not have Gronk, or get some draft capital and let the future Hall of Farmer reunite with his good friend and quarterback, Tom Brady.
But the Bucs didn’t hold all the cards. It’s pretty well assumed Gronk wasn’t coming out of retirement as a wrestling champion and pre-game contributor for just any team. And New England knew Brady wanted his tight end in Tampa. So inflating the price a little to match the demand could’ve played well into the Patriots’ hands.
Instead, Gronkowski’s two touchdowns in Super Bowl LV and his blocking ability along with his pass catching talents during their eight game winning streak might make him this franchises best use of a fourth-round draft pick, ever.
Five choices, and only one vote to cast. So which play sits atop the pile as the best offensive play of the year for your 2020-21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Which play was the 2020-21 Offensive Play of the Year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
This poll is closed
AB’s Comeback Sealer
Brady Sets the Record AND Clinches a Playoff Berth
Miller Scoots Past Packers Defense
Gronk Doing Gronk Things in Super Bowl LV