It wasn’t really as close as it looked for most of the night, but an improbable 17-play, 92-yard scoring drive (complete with two-point conversation) gave them a glimmer of hope for the stunning upset but the final Hail Mary attempt fell to the ground incomplete.
Ultimately, the truth is clear: the Tampa offense is near completely stagnant, and Todd Bowles continues to demonstrate a terrible feel for game management. Coaching woes aside, Baker Mayfield has also collapsed back to earth and seems to have presented himself as what most suspected — just a guy.
Tampa will need to do some soul searching while they recover during their mini bye, as it doesn’t get much easier with games against the resurgent Houston Texans and dominant San Francisco 49ers in two of the next three weeks.
Welp, you know the drill. Let’s do some shoutouts for the good ones tonight.
Offensive Top Performer: RB Rachaad White
As brutal as the running game has been, White has shown some incredible promise in the passing game the last two weeks. He recorded a team-high 7 catches for 70 yards one week after going 6 for 65, and even recorded a respectable nine attempts for 39 yards (4.3 average) on the ground.
Between the tackles, you’re not getting much from him, but it’s clear he possesses some real talent when you get him out in space. If they can harness that in both facets of the offense, we just might see some type of corner turned.
Chris Godwin was his usual reliable self and finally got off the scoring snide with his first TD of the year — and first since last December. He totaled 5 catches for 54 yards and he continues to be the go-to option on most third downs.
Defensive Top Performer: S Antoine Winfield Jr.
The man just does not let up.
Winfield garners back-to-back defensive top performer honors here after he again made an outsized impact. A perfectly timed pressure in the first half led to a pass deflection that was intercepted by William Gholston of all people (his first career interception in his 160th career game, bravo), setting the Bucs up for a TD. Winfield once again looked solid in coverage and made 4 total tackles.
Lavonte David saw his hands full in coverage with rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid, but he still made 14 combined tackles. And Jamel Dean finally looks to be shaking off the terrible start to his year, looking tighter in coverage and making 8 solo tackles. Rookie Christian Izien played well too with a couple highlight plays.
Special Teams Top Performer: P Jake Camarda
Camarda saw plenty of work Thursday and tried his best to dig Tampa out of disadvantageous field position most of the night.
He still pinned two punts inside the 20, which positions him well to remain top 3 in that category league-wide by week’s end, and he averaged a robust 52.5 yards per kick on six punts with a long of 63 — well in line with his league-leading gross average.