The Buccaneers were down in the dumps. After their encouraging opening day victory against Atlanta, Tampa followed that game with a horrible showing in Arizona. The Bucs then dropped a heartbreaking loss to the Rams and were beaten down by the Broncos. Jameis was turning the ball over too much, there was no run game and the defense couldn’t get turnovers. That all changed Monday night in Charlotte as the Buccaneers ruined everyone’s prediction (except Charles Woodson, thanks bud). They beat the Carolina Panthers 17-14 on a last second Aguayo Field goal. This list should be a pretty fun one. Let’s get into it.
- Jacquizz Rodgers: The 6 year running back out of Oregon State showed up huge for the Bucs. One of the reasons Jameis Winston was struggling the last couple of games was because there was not an effective run game. That was not the case on Monday night as Rodgers ran right through the heart of the Carolina defense. His stat line read: 30 Att, 101 Yds rushing, receiving 5 Rec, 28 Yds
- Brent Grimes: No, Bucs corner Brent Grimes has not been spectacular this season. He hasn’t really done poorly either in my opinion. In this game, Grimes showed why the Bucs got him in free agency. Grimes was decent in coverage and made a TD saving tackle. What happened the very next play you ask? Grimes made a play in the corner of the end zone as he made a leaping grab for his first interception as a Buccaneer. There will be more where that came from. His stat line read: 4 Tackles, 1 INT
- Mike Evans: WR Mike Evans has been on a tear this season. He’s definitely been Jameis’s favorite target as he has been the most targeted wide receiver in the NFL so far. Evans has already passed his total number of reception touchdowns from last year. I believe this is the year Mike gets to the pro bowl. His stat line read: 6 Rec, 89 Yds, 1 Td
- Bradley Mcdougald: This is Mcdougald’s first time on this list and in my mind it was well deserved. Chris Conte is still awful in my opinion and Mcdougald is good at times. This time was one of those times. He made some very nice tackles and had a great pass breakup on a critical 3rd down. His stat line read: 8 total tackles, 1 pass breakup
- Vernon Hargreaves: Bucs rookie corner Vernon Hargreaves came up big in the win on Monday. No, he did not get my prediction when I said he would get his first pick but he got close enough. Hargreaves made a great play on the ball to tip it up in the air and right into the hands of Daryl Smith. His stat line read: 4 tackles and 1 great tipped ball
- Lavonte David: Yes, Lavonte is still very, very good. However, Greg Olsen was able to burn the Buccaneers multiple times for big gains. Sadly some (not all) of that was David’s fault. He will be fine but he was just off. His stat line read: 5 total tackles
- Demar Dotson: Bucs veteran offensive lineman Demar Dotson has gotten into some penalty trouble these past couple of games. That continued this game. It has really cost the Bucs and needs to be straightened up.
- Noah Spence: Many of you may not know this but I was a HUGE Noah Spence fan when he came out of college. I Actually wanted Spence to be the pick at 9. However Spence hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. I did not expect him to have 11 sacks this year but he has only 1 sack in 5 games. He has been causing some pressure though and the future is still bright. (Note: I know he is injured.)
- Bucs D-line: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got ZERO pressure on Derek Anderson. I understand that the Bucs were without McCoy, Ayers and McDonald. The remained of the battered defensive line could not muster a single sack.
- YES! FINALLY, I don’t have to put another player or unit down as a bottom 5. This is a really great feeling and lets hope that this continues.
There it is. Great game by the defense overall. I decided not to put Aguayo down as a top 5 or bottom 5. Yes he missed 2 kicks but also made the game winner. The Buccaneers really needed this win. They are now 2-3 at the bye week and will most likely get back everybody that is injured. Now lets take this bye week to relax, get healthy and prep to improve to 3-3 and go back home for a 3 game stretch. GO BUCS!