The first half actually looked encouraging, as most healthy starters played and dominated generally looked strong against a Falcons team with nothing to gain other than reps for their young cornerstones.
However, Tampa’s backups looked completely overwhelmed as they slowly trickled in and Atlanta pounded the ground game throughout the second half. The second half was basically a throwaway as the Bucs already turn their gaze toward a rematch with the Dallas Cowboys.
Nevertheless, we’ll give some quick shoutouts and get playoff ready ourselves.
Offensive Top Performer: WR Chris Godwin
It wasn’t always smooth this year as Godwin gradually regained his form after his ACL tear, but he kept his head high and met some notable statistical marks to finish the year.
He became only the second Buccaneer to have a 100-catch season, as his 104 grabs fell just shy of Keshawn Johnson’s 106-catch team record. He also eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in the contest, which saw him finish with six receptions for 55 yards in one half of action.
While the depth pieces largely disappointed, Deven Thompkins made the most of his limited touches. The diminutive 5-foot-8 receiver flashed with a shifty 17-yard jet sweep and a 13-yard catch-and-run. Overall, five touches for 42 total yards is a nice little showing, and it might prove the team is smart to stick with him over Jaelon Darden.
On a final note of personal accolades, Tom Brady was kind enough to get Kyle Rudolph his 50th career touchdown. As generally uninvolved as he’s been, Ruldolph has put together a strong career and should receive a tip of the cap.
Defensive Top Performer: S Antoine Winfield, Jr.
One of the few starters to play most of the game due to lack of secondary depth, Winfield played with his hair on fire and looked geared up for postseason action.
He led both teams with 13 total tackles, often serving as the only thing between Atlanta running back Tyler Allegeier and open turf. Seemingly healthy again, the team desperately needs Winfield as a stabilizing factor in the back end.
Akiem Hicks looked good again, as he created strong push in the first quarter and even recorded his first sack of the year. With him and hopefully Vita Vea back, the team will stand a much better chance against Dallas’s strong running game.
Special Teams Top Performer: P Jake Camarda
He was plenty busy again Sunday, but Camarda again answered the call and kicked well. He landed two kicks inside the 20, giving him 22 total for the year, and he could’ve had one more with better coverage.
A 50.6-yard average, including a whopping 66-yarder, helped keep the field position battle in Tampa’s favor despite the backup defense and offense doing absolutely nothing with that advantage. Camarda’s talents should come in much more handy next week.