The team’s putrid offensive performance should officially be creating some concern among fans and the front office, as a bottom-third points per game league average is surely going to plummet near rock bottom after just 13 points produced (Tampa was averaging 18 ppg).
The defense wasn’t much better as three clunky turnovers from Atlanta saved this game from being a total blowout. Once again, it is my job to review top performers, not bottom, so we’ll try to maintain some optimism ahead of a short week against a pissed-off Buffalo Bills team.
Yay, let’s do it. *sigh*
Offensive Top Performer: WR Mike Evans
Evans looked fully recovered from his hamstring pull in the first half, as he bullied elite corner A.J. Terrell. He drew multiple flags and burned Terrell for a 40-yard TD one on one...then OC Dave Canales apparently forgot Evans existed for a long stretch of time.
Evans still finished with 6 receptions for 82 yards, but it’s clear he was feeling and playing well enough that he could’ve tallied much more. The team instead insisted upon dead-to-rights running plays and Baker force feeding Cade Otton, who had a season-high 5 catches but is still hardly an offensive catalyst of any kind.
Chris Godwin (6-66) and Rachaad White (6-65) played roles in the passing game as well, but nobody else could find paydirt as redzone scoring continues to plague this team.
Defensive Top Performer: Antoine Winfield Jr.
If there was a game that proves Winfield’s worthiness over Devin White as the team’s long-term defensive cornerstone, this was it. While White absolutely floundered in one of the worst games of his career, Winfield prevented two touchdowns singlehandedly — a key pass breakup in the endzone against the much bigger, 6-foot-5 Drake London and a forced fumble of Desmond Ridder that turned into a touchback and kept Tampa alive.
Shaq Barrett showed out as well with 7 total tackles, multiple pressures, a sack and a forced fumble. He and rookie Calijah Kancey (who nearly shared in that sack) were the only ones providing juice in the pass rush with Vita Vea clearly limited by his foot ailment.
Lavonte David played well again with 13 total tackles.
Special Teams Top Performer: K Chase McLaughlin
McLaughlin has scored more points by himself (13) than the entire offense (6) over the last two weeks. While this is a colossal failure on a macro level, it’s a great personal accomplishment for McLaughlin so he deserves the credit for making his kicks.