It was a concerning performance on multiple levels, as the Bucs’ offense was completely flat coming off the bye week. The running game was once again inept, Baker Mayfield missed several big plays in the passing game, and Mike Evans put up his worst outing of the year.
The defense did fairly well, but there were still critical mental errors that led to failure in keeping the dangerous Lions in check.
Ultimately, the Bucs have played two truly good teams and looked underwhelming both times. They’ll get an easier challenge next week against the Atlanta Falcons, but for now we’ll give some brief props for Sunday’s top performers and get out of here.
Offensive Top Performer: T Luke Goedeke
Yes, I am naming an offensive tackle the top performer because he kept second-year phenom Aidan Hutchinson in check, and that deserves a lot of respect. It also serves as a bundled bouquet of sorts for Goedeke, who was written off by a lot of people after his rookie year.
Luke Goedeke has done well against Aidan Hutchinson. Settling in nicely at RT so far this season— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) October 15, 2023
I threw plenty of criticism his way as well, and it’s been great to see him go back to his natural right tackle position and succeed. Him and Tristan Wirfs as the bookends of the future for Tampa is a big sigh of relief for whomever is under center.
Chris Godwin was the only reliable skill player, finishing with 6 receptions for 77 yards. It was a game to forget for literally everyone else.
Defensive Top Performer: LB Lavonte David
David had one of “those” games, much like Antoine Winfield Jr. did before the bye week against the New Orleans Saints. From the get-go, the 33-year-old played like early-era Derrick Brooks in the creamsicle jerseys.
Multiple tackles for loss, a sack, and a key pass defense highlighted the first half as David also totaled 12 tackles. He set a great tone, but it just wasn’t enough.
Gene Deckerhoff calls Lavonte David's sack to end the half pic.twitter.com/KQ5fbN7Xea— Bucs Rays Bolts (@BucsRaysBoltsYT) October 15, 2023
Vita Vea continued his strong season as well, creating a handful for a very good Lions offensive line all day. He forced double teams and still got 6 total tackles, a TFL, and a forced fumble. He worked well in tandem with first-round pick Calijah Kancey, who finally made his proper debut after a calf injury derailed the first quarter of his season.
Kancey recorded his first career sack, multiple pressures, and finished with 3 total tackles. Against more middling groups, like the one they’ll face next week, this duo could wreak some delicious havoc for a long time.
Special Teams Top Performer: K Chase McLaughlin
I mean, you score all of your team’s points, you gotta be top performer right? It really is that simple for McLaughlin, who continues to be excellently steady for the Bucs in the kicking game.
He is now 9 of 10 on the season, with that only miss being a block.