Been quite a while since the Buccaneers had a victory Monday, but after the the stunned disappointment of last week this one comes with a warm welcome. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Tennessee Titans all afternoon, coming away with a 20-6 victory and getting within a half game of first place in the NFC South.
Let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Now, That’s More Like It. The defense was buzzing on Sunday. The pass rush was not only disruptive all game long, but they were getting home. Derrick Henry was a non-factor. The Titans’ receivers were covered like a blanket. Every player on the defensive side of the ball was getting it done - and even left some plays on the field in the process. The Titans got to “goal-to-go” situations just once the entire day and were forced to settle for a field goal. Following their performance against the Texans the week before, you couldn’t script a better rebound game for the defense on Sunday. Now, if they could only play like that next week against the 49ers...
2.) More Of That. Please. This version of Devin White hasn’t been seen since week one against the Vikings. And this wasn’t the kind of game that’s going to jump out from the stat sheet - but White’s impact was heavily felt all day long. His relentless pressure on Will Levis forced multiple rushed throws, incompletions, and the Bucs’ lone interception by Antoine Winfield Jr. He was all over the place, shedding blocks, making plays, and putting a stamp on a game for the first time in months. This is the kind of Devin White the Bucs need to be successful. This is the kind of Devin White that the Bucs can look at and say, “Yeah - he’s worth the money he wants.” However, this has to be the kind of Devin White that needs to show up every Sunday the rest of the season.
3.) Mike Evans Is Unstoppable. Well, when he doesn’t drop passes that is. Despite two horrible drops - the one in the end zone probably the worst drop of his career outside of the wide open deep ball against the Panthers last year - Evans had yet another outstanding day. Six catches on ten targets for 143 yards and a touchdown - a touchdown where he was hell bent on making up for his earlier drop, so he dragged two defenders for five yards into the end zone. At the rate he’s going, we could be looking at a career year for Evans which will certainly help him in contract negotiations after the season whether that’s with the Bucs or not.
4.) On The Flip Side. There’s two sides to the Mike Evans coin, however. Chris Godwin’s usage so far this season has been, well, bad. Very bad. He’s on pace for his fewest targets per game since 2018 and things don’t seem to be getting better any time soon. As Cade Otton emerges more and more as a third down target, Godwin’s role only seems to continue to dwindle. Even after Evans’ bad drops, Godwin’s target share didn’t increase in the slightest. I’m not sure if the plays that are being drawn up for Godwin are being shut down and Mayfield has to look to another option or if Dave Canales just isn’t calling Godwin’s number enough, but there’s no logical explanation for it. Godwin is the most reliable and sure-handed receiver on the team and averaging fewer than seven targets a game is criminal. Get him the ball and good things will happen.
5.) Yep, You Know What I’m Going To Say. The freaking penalties, guys. Come on. While it didn’t play a big role in the outcome of the game, more stupid penalties by this team left me shaking my head. Twice, twice Joe Tryon-Shoyinka got flagged for lining up in the neutral zone. No excuse for it. The Bucs ended up finishing with seven penalties for 50 yards. Now, one of them for unnecessary roughness was an absolute joke considering Levis slid into the contact after the defender had committed - meanwhile Mayfield had given himself up earlier in the game and got blasted, fumbled, and there were no flags to be seen. But the easy to fix stuff - lining up in the neutral zone, illegal formations - the simple, fixable stuff that we’re still talking about after week ten has to stop. You can’t beat a team like the 49ers with stupid mistakes like those.
6.) Todd Bowles Breathes New Life. I mentioned in last week’s Pick Six that the season wasn’t over - but the Bucs had to beat the Titans. Now, they face the 49ers on the road and that one will probably result in a loss - pending what happens on Thursday night (more on that later) - but that loss was factored in to my reasoning last week. The Falcons and Saints both lost, so the Bucs are just a half game out. After the 49ers, the toughest matchup the Bucs have left is the Jaguars. Other than that, they have the Colts and 4 more divisional games including two against the Panthers. They can not only gain ground within the division but also get themselves some separation. If the Bucs beat the Colts, Panthers, and Falcons following their trip to San Francisco, you’re talking about a 7-6 team come Christmas with two divisional games to go. And that might be not just enough to make the playoffs, but enough to save Todd Bowles’ job.
Six Numbers To Consider
263 - Yards Mike Evans needs to reach 1,000 for the season for the tenth consecutive year
87 - Receiving touchdowns for Evans, tied with Andre Reed for 16th-most all-time
326 - Receiving yards by Rachaad White this season, second only to Christian McCaffrey among running backs
20 - Total yards for Derrick Henry, his lowest total since the 2017 season
22.5 - Sacks for Devin White, the most among inside linebackers since 2019
2 - Tackles needed by Lavonte David to pass Ronde Barber for second most in franchise history
Six Best Tweets
The streak continues. If the Bucs win, the Bengals lose. pic.twitter.com/i2cUQXCAqt— James Yarcho (@JYarcho_BUCS) November 12, 2023
As mentioned earlier, we’ll have a solid idea of how things will go against the 49ers based on Thursday night when the Bengals play the Ravens. So far this season, when the Bucs have won the Bengals have lost. The reverse is also true where if the Bucs lost, the Bengals have won. This strange phenomenon occurred last season as well all the way up until week 13 of last season.
Rachaad White had just a 1.1% chance of scoring a touchdown when he caught the ball on his 43-yard TD.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 12, 2023
Yards After Catch: 49
Expected YAC: 17
YAC over Expected: +32
White has gained +130 YACOE this season, +50 more than any other RB.#TENvsTB | #GoBucs pic.twitter.com/gepMBr942K
Absolute masterclass by Vita Vea:— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) November 12, 2023
- Dillard false starts
- Vea gets his helmet ripped off with hands to the face
- Will Levis still gets sacked for a 9yd loss pic.twitter.com/qYVC7rqb6R
At 4-5, Bucs have same record as they did last year at this time -- statistically better on both sides of the ball, with offense at 19.8 points per game (up from 18.4 last year) and defense at 19.2 per game (down from 21.1 in 2022). Scoring defense is now 8th out of 32 teams.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 13, 2023
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Philadelphia Eagles - Bye week, but the most complete team in the league
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - They aren’t pretty - or really all that exciting - but they keep winning
3.) Baltimore Ravens - Huge letdown loss to Cleveland, but playing angry on a short week
4.) San Francisco 49ers - Off the bye and exploded for a huge win - and didn’t meed McCaffrey to score to do it
5.) Detroit Lions - I can’t believe I just typed that, but here we are. They’re for real
15.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tough test Sunday on the road