If that’s rusty, I can’t wait to see the Bucs when they’re all shiny. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took out two and half weeks worth of frustrations on the Chicago Bears as they pounded the puffballs of the Midway 29-7.
The Bucs took advantage of the Bears being the Bears and basically had it on cruise control through the 2nd quarter.
You’d think when the Bucs open up a Warren Sapp sized can of whup-ass that ole DLT wouldn’t have anything to complain about, right?Well, you don’t know me that well yet.
Pieces of Eight
1) Now that is some Buccaneer defense. The Bucs missed a shutout of Mike Glennon and the Bears by 1:43. When your defense registers 4 turnovers (although, technically one was on special teams), 1 sack, 8 QB hits, 6 tackles for loss and a pick-six, it’s a little difficult to find stuff to complain about. How about this? The Bears were 50% on their third down conversions. To be an elite defense, you gotta get off the field on third down. Okay, I know, that’s pretty weak. Still, the Bucs got to work on that because they won’t be facing the Mike Glennon’s of the world every week. It’s one thing to give Glennon a second set of downs. It’s another to give it to Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
But hey, when you shut out an NFL team for 58 minutes, yes, even the Bears, you’re doing something special. Hell, imagine when TJ Ward knows what the hell he’s doing in this defense.
2) If any part of the Bucs team was visibly rusty, it was definitely the offense. Jameis wasn’t very precise, completing just 60% of his passes on the day and missing Desean Jackson and Charles Sims on deep balls where they got behind the Chicago secondary. It took a little while for the running game to get going but it definitely started to churn in the second half as the Bears wilted in the Tampa heat. Winston looked like a quarterback who hadn’t thrown in a competitive football game in two and half weeks.
Still, Jameis did his job. The Bucs cashed in when the defense forced turnovers and Winston didn’t create any himself. It won’t win any fantasy player of the week awards but it certainly helped his football team get a W on Sunday.
3) Mike Evans just makes it look easy. With Desean Jackson on the other side, there were several times in the ball game where Chicago left Godzilla single covered and it was bad news for the Bears (I’m so, so sorry). Evans day was a solid 7 catches for 93 yds and a vintage Mike Evans toe-tap touchdown. Once Winston and Jackson get their deep ball timing down, you’re really going to have to wonder how teams are going to stop this offense.
4) You could hear the groan in the stadium when Bucs kicker Nick Folk missed an extra point on Sunday. Yet unlike his predecessor, the veteran kicker shook off that miss and was perfect kicking field goals on the day going 3/3 including a 50 yarder. Despite the missed extra point (only his third of his NFL career), Bucs fans can rest assured Tampa Bay seems to have solved it’s kicking woes.
5) So all that handwringing about the running game? Yep, the Bucs are going to be okay. Tampa Bay pounded out 117 yards on the ground against a Chicago defense that limited the vaunted Atlanta running game to just 64 yds and 2.8 yards a carry. Quizz Rodgers led the way with 64 yds on 19 carries and a touchdown but the Bucs got some good production from Peyton Barber, who wore down the Bears with 47 yards on 10 carries. In fact, the only disappointment was Charles Sims, who was stuffed on both his carries and fumbled in the red zone ending another Bucs scoring chance (yes, it could’ve been even worse, Bears fans, you’re welcome).
6) In a way, you had to feel a bit for Glennon. Yes, he fumbled once and threw two ugly interceptions – one being Robert McClain’s first career pick-six but other than that he played a pretty decent game. Sure, it took him 45 passes to get to 301 yards but he got there. Okay, yes a lot of those were garbage time yards but earlier he had the Bears moving until he threw…you know what, forget it.
7) It looks like Kwon Alexander will be okay for next Sunday in Minnesota. The Wrath of Kwon got the Bucs defense out of trouble in the first quarter with an interception before exiting with a hamstring injury. I’ll say this, I’ve been on Kendall Beckwith all pre-season about his play at MLB but Beckwith balled out today. He had 5 tackles and 2 tackles for loss to go along with a pass defense. Not bad for your first real game in an NFL uniform.
8) Lavonte David is definitely finally comfortable in Mike Smith’s defense and is showing some of that All-Pro form we grew to love earlier in his career. He was a heat-seeking missile, all over the field with a team-leading 9 tackles and was Johnny-on-the-spot for Noah Spence’s strip sack. It’s a pleasure to see David return to the level we know he can play.
DLT’s Tweet of the Week
I live tweet all Bucs games – here’s my own favorite from Sunday.
— JC De La Torre (@jcdelatorre) September 17, 2017
The Bucs head up to Prince’s house in Minneapolis to take on the tough Minnesota Vikings. Will Sam Bradford be back for this one? Vikings fans certainly hope so after seeing that display by Case Keenum. Of course, Bucs fans remember the last couple times Tampa Bay faced Keenum as a member of the Rams. Maybe we should hope Bradford gets better?