Now that, ladies and gentlemen of WhatTheBucdom, was a win. It wasn’t a fluke, like that upset in Pittsburgh in Lovie’s first year. It wasn’t beating up on a bad team. It wasn’t a close but no cigar, like that close loss in Seattle during Schiano’s last season (the 0-8 Bucs taking on the 7-1 Seahags), no my pewter clad friends – this one was a statement win. A signature victory that tells our beloved bumbling band of Buccaneers that this team can play (and beat) the best in the league.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Kansas City is not THAT great. Well, let me tell you friends – this team was winners of 17 of their last 19 game playing in one of the best divisions in football, the AFC West. They had a 10 game home winning streak. Seattle doesn’t have that on their resume. Neither does Dallas or even the Patriots.
What I Got Right
Jameis Winston was just awesome yesterday. Yes, the Bucs managed only 19 points against Kansas City, but the Chiefs are the 5th best defense in the Red zone in the league. Also, consider this – only Drew Brees has thrown for more yards than Jameis did against the Chiefs defense. Not Cam, Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, Big Ben, Phillip Rivers – none of these elite level NFL quarterbacks did as well as Jameis did. On third down, it was the third best effort of the season by ANY NFL team (per Greg Auman, TB Times).
If #3 plays like this the rest of the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be a handful for anyone.
What I Got Wrong
It wasn’t really what I got wrong but what I failed to mention. The letter. Everyone was talking about it after the game. If you haven’t heard the story, before practice on Wednesday, Jameis taped a letter in every locker. It talked about how he felt blessed that he was their quarterback and that he valued each and every one of them. It touched his team, they played inspired football and maybe, just maybe with a little confidence and swagger of a team that no longer hoped they could win but expected to win.
Jameis Winston is not only becoming a star on the field, but he’s teaching his football team how to believe in each other and expect to win. There’s a change coming, Bucs fans. No matter what happens Sunday against Seattle, believe it. This team is starting to turn the corner.
Kenny Albert and Darryl Johnston are one of the better Fox announcing teams and thanks to the 7-2 Chiefs, we got them. It was actually a little funny to hear the shock in Albert and Johnston’s voice as the Chiefs struggled and the Bucs basically moved up and down the field. I think Johnston was totally prepared with his “blowout material” and never got a chance to use it. As they game went along, they quickly began to realize the Bucs truly had a shot at the upset and got excited.
Johnston, when he’s not going on and on about Dallas, is a solid color guy with some excellent insight. For example, how the Bucs were handling the pass rush, it wasn’t just tight ends blocking, but Doug Martin doing a heck of a job picking up free guys and blitzers. On one play, Martin took on a 300 lb defensive tackle and gave Jameis just enough time to convert a third down pass.
Albert is the veteran he is. He’s done this for who knows how long, he comes from an announcing family.
What the Buc Moment of the Game
Game. Changer. Two weeks in a row!
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) November 20, 2016
Easily, Chris Conte’s interception was the moment of the game. Kansas City is driving the field with the Bucs clinging to a 2 point lead. They have the field goal in the bag. Then Conte not only picks it off, but returns the interception 51 yards to set up the Bucs offense in excellent field position for what turned out to be the game sealing touchdown.
Chris Conte, I owe you an apology. I thought you were part of the problem on defense. I’m starting to think you’re part of the solution.
Around the Dirty South
The Panthers beat up on the Saints, whose run of 4 out of 5 is starting to look a bit like fool’s gold. Of course, in the loss the Panthers sustained a death blow, losing Luke Kuechly to another concussion. The Falcons sat on their couch hoping they’d have a two game lead in the division at the end of Sunday. They don’t.
Were the Bucs As Good As They Looked?
Well, obviously there was room for improvement in the red zone. Had Mike Evans been able haul in that touchdown reception instead of having it batted away or the Bucs converted on one of the three other chances in the red zone, the game wouldn’t even have been in doubt in the final moments.
I thought the defense played well, although you’d like to see a better effort by the front four applying pressure. I thought Alex Smith was too comfortable back there. Even still, Tampa Bay did a great job in coverage, tackled well and got off the field when they had to.
Roberto Aguayo kicked the ball with authority and confidence for perhaps the first time this season. I think he’s starting to figure it out and is becoming more reliable.
Here it is, folks. Another measuring stick game for the Bucs. The Bucs have proven they can beat one of the better teams in the AFC. Can they beat one of the best in the NFC? Tampa Bay may be catching Seattle just at the right time. They’re coming off a physical game with the Eagles and they are banged up in the secondary and at running back. Plus, that long cross country trip is never fun. The Seahawks are 2-4 lifetime in Tampa and haven’t won on Florida’s gulf coast since 2006.
If the Bucs get this victory, not only is Tampa Bay solidly in the playoff hunt but it will send a message to the rest of the league that the Bucs aren’t waiting until next year to compete – they can play with anybody – NOW.
See you all at the WTB tailgate on Sunday!