The Tampa Bay Buccaneers snapped a two game losing streak by dismantling the hapless Chicago Bears. It was the Bucs’ first home win of the season and set the table for an interesting week. The Bucs have proven they can beat a bad team but can they stay on the field with a good one?
What I Got Right
It was an extremely tough day for the Buccaneers’ offensive line. Already down two starters, the Bucs lost replacement starting center Evan Smith minutes into the game and were forced to play Ben Gottschalk, fresh off the practice squad, at the center position. As you would imagine, Gotsschalk and rookie Caleb Benenoch (starting for injured LG Kevin Pamphile) had a pretty rough outing.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston had to deal with penetration up the middle several times during the contest as the Bears finished with 4 sacks and 7 QB hits on the 2015 number one overall pick, who was playing the role of Houdini on most plays.
While Tampa Bay certainly has to hope they get Pamphile back in the lineup this week from concussion protocol to try to stabilize the line, another concerning aspect is the play of the team’s veteran tackles, Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson, both of whom played terrible against the Bears. Caught flat footed more times than they should, both would resort to holding calls or illegal hands to the face penalities to keep their quarterback from getting creamed.
If the Bucs hope to compete against better teams in the league, they need improved play from their veterans on the o-line.
What I Got Wrong
I was a bit hard on the Bucs run defense for allowing gashing runs by the Bears and over 100 yards rushing. The problem was prevelant in the first half, where the Bears averaged 7.3 yards a rushing attempt. Tampa Bay adjusted in the second half and brought that total down to a still terrible 6.1 yards a carry, but considering how the game started, the defense certainly tightened things up, pitching a number of 3-and-out series.
While the Bucs, as a team, has surrendered over 100 yards rushing in 7 of their 9 games this season, the Bucs hadn’t allowed a single back to get to the century mark until Howard did it on Sunday and most of his production came in the first half, he had 2 carries for 11 yards in the second when the Bears began scrambling to come from behind.
Dan Hellie is a decent enough play-by-play guy. I think he has a nice blend of excitement and information, although at times his voice can get a little shrill. David Diehl is the kind of color commentator you get when you have a 3-5 team face a 2-6 team. Diehl was horrible, not knowing the players making the plays, circling the wrong players on the telestrator, it was a bit hard to listen to and a little harder to watch.
Now granted, the Bucs numbers can be a bit hard to read with their alarm clock font. I can excuse mis-identifying some guys on Tampa Bay. The Bears have no such issues with their numbers and Diehl still struggled. He obviously didn’t do his scouting. Abysmal.
The What the Buc Moment of the Game
How could it be anything other than this play?
Jameis Winston will be talking about this one for a long, long time. https://t.co/TK8LamBlAv
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) November 13, 2016
Still one of the most incredible plays I’ve ever seen.
Around the Dirty South
After consecutive weeks of the Bucs losing and everyone else winning, the Bucs flipped the script with Tampa Bay hanging the W while the Saints lost in the most Saints way ever (a blocked game winning extra-point returned for a game losing 2 point score), the Falcons were grounded in Philly and the Panthers blew a 17 point lead against the Bucs’ next opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Were the Bucs as Good as they looked?
Heck yeah they were. It was one of best team win games of the season, if not THE Best. The defense looked dominant, Jameis was his crazy self and even Aguayo made all his kicks.
The Bucs head back out on the road, where they are 3-1 this season, to take on the 7-2 Kansas City Chiefs, winners of 18 of their last 21 games. If you look at KC, they’re not a powerhouse offense or an elite defense. They’re down in the 20’s in both categories. KC’s offense is actually ranked lower than Chicago’s if you can believe that.
What they do well is win. Somehow, some way, they find a way to win. For the Bucs to beat Kansas City, they’ll need another great effort from the defense and they’ll need Doug Martin to get closer to form and help take the pressure off of Winston.
If the Bucs can pull the upset, they head back home at 5-5 and clawing back into playoff contention.