Yarcho's Pick 6: Bucs Squeak by Falcons

Each week James Yarcho shares his entertaining "Pick 6" column following each Bucs game.

Six Topics Suitable For Debate

1.)    Have the Bucs finally turned the corner? No. Don’t fool yourself. This was a huge win for the team and that’s nothing to take lightly, but the Bucs yet again blew a double digit lead (the first team in almost five years to blow 17+ point leads in back to back games) but they tightened up when it mattered the most. There is still a laundry list of things to work on, including those freaking penalties.

2.)    Is Winston the unquestionable leader of this team? In my opinion, yes. Seeing the fire and passion he displayed both on the field and on the sideline, he is becoming the leader he was at Florida State. He’s calling guys out for mistakes, he’s rallying them when the game appears to be slipping away. He’s everything the other “leaders” on this team are not. Outspoken, animated, and unbelievably passionate. These players, including the veterans, would follow this guy anywhere if he asked them. This aspect of his game is unmeasurable and will only continue to grow.

3.)    Wasn’t it nice to see this team try to score points at the end of a half, and succeed in doing so? Think about it. If we saw a typical Lovie approach of sitting on the lead to avoid any mistakes, the Bucs are only up 6-3 at half, and likely lose the game at the end. Winston’s touchdown pass to Cameron Brate to essentially close out the half was crucial.

4.)    How gutsy was Kwon Alexander’s performance? He would’ve deserved the game ball for that performance, anyway. But to do it after the devastating loss of a brother? That’s something to admire. A career game for the young rookie under the most difficult of circumstances. Thoughts and prayers with Kwon and his family.

5.)    Can we see just one big run or big defensive play that doesn’t get called back by a penalty? Kwon’s interception in the end zone. Doug Martin’s 19-yard explosion. The penalties have to stop! There is no excuse for seeing this many stupid penalties committed week after week after week.

6.)    Gerald McCoy’s body language during overtime. Now, I’m a big McCoy fan. I understand the criticism towards his kind demeanor on the field or the lack of “impact plays” late in games. I get it. But usually, I blow it off and don’t listen to much because I know how talented he is. However, his actions, his facial expressions during the coin flip of overtime and sitting on the bench during the Bucs’ offensive drive in overtime really got under my skin. That leadership the Bucs so desperately need can not come from a guy who, when things are falling apart again, is pouting, sulking, and looking just plain defeated. It was unnerving for many Bucs fans, not just me. There was no confidence that they would get it done based on the way McCoy was carrying himself. Luckily, he didn’t have to carry the team. Winston was happy to do so. All that being said, he did have a major impact play that won’t show up on the stat sheet by wrapping up Ryan’s feet, forcing a bad throw on 4th-and-7 to end the game.

Six Numbers To Consider

 3 – Number of consecutive games Winston has played without a turnover

 4 – Turnovers forced by the Buccaneers, two of which were by Kwon Alexander

 .667 – Jameis Winston’s career record vs divisional opponents

 88 – Yards the Bucs held Devonta Freeman to, who led the NFL in rushing headed into the game

 0 – Number of interceptions by cornerbacks…still…

 12 – Number of years it’s been since the Bucs beat the New York Giants

Six Top Performers

       6.) Howard Jones – Seems like this guy is always in the right place at the right time. Sacks, turnovers…another great game from a guy who was a practice squad player just a few weeks ago

       5.) Alterraun Verner – Six tackles, some great pass breakups, and an overall solid performance from a player who, for whatever reason, appeared to be in Lovie’s dog house. Hopefully this wakes up the coaches and we see Verner’s return to the starting lineup soon.

      4.) Doug Martin – Can’t say enough good things about Martin’s play this season. He didn’t have a ton of yardage, only 71 yards on the ground, but it seems like Doug finds a way to make positive yardage out of nothing. He made some crucial runs down the stretch today and as he crosses the 20-carry threshold more and more, more wins will follow.

      3.) Julio Jones – He’s an elite talent and showed it again today. Yes, he turned the ball over, but that was a great play by Alexander. Jones had over 100 yards by halftime and got the game tying score with :14 left in the game. Jones is one of the best in the business

      2.) Jameis Winston – 16/29, 177 yards, a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown, and enough fire to keep the city of Anchorage warm for the month of December. His leadership can not be contained and it’s overflowing right now.

      1.) Kwon Alexander – Again, I can’t say enough about his performance. Led the team in tackles, had an interception, stripped Julio Jones of the ball on a big gain. All of this just 48 hours after learning his brother died. Simply amazing.


Six Key Plays

1.)    Kwon Alexander stripping Julio Jones of the ball was huge. The Falcons seemed to be moving the ball at will in the first half, but to rob Jones of a huge gain mid-way through the first quarter and turning it into three points was a major play for the Bucs

2.)    On 2nd-and- Goal, Matt Ryan fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Jacquies Smith. Another opportunity for the Falcons to take control where they shoot themselves in the foot and the Bucs were able to take advantage. This led to a Bucs field goal and a 6-3 lead.

3.)    Kwon Alexander, again, gets a turnover. This time an interception (which was actually his second of the day, but the first was called back because of a penalty…surprise surprise) that set the Bucs up with great field position at the end of the first half. This would lead to a Jameis Winston touchdown pass to Cameron Brate, the first of Brate’s career, and a 13-3 halftime lead.

4.)    After a 3rd quarter opening drive 3-and-out, the Bucs force yet another turnover. This time a fumble recovery by Henry Melton. The Bucs would then get another touchdown to go up 20-3, this one a run by Winston on what appeared to be a broken play.

5.)    After scoring a field goal to start overtime, the Falcons had a chance to tie, or win, the game. On 3rd-and-7, Alterraun Verner was able to deflect a pass that would’ve been a first down.

6.)  The very next play, Gerald McCoy was able to get some pressure on Ryan. After being thrown to the ground, McCoy wrapped up Ryan’s left leg, not allowing him to put weight on it to assist in throwing. Ryan’s pass sailed incomplete, completing the Buccaneers’ upset bid in the Georgia Dome


Six Ways The Bucs Can Start A Win Streak

       6.) Promise the players they’ll get a private screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” if they beat the Giants

       5.) Tell Doug Martin that if he has the same kind of performance against New York that he did in Oakland his rookie year, the Glazers will buy the mind-erasing gadget from “Men In Black” and use it on anyone who ever calls him Muscle Hamster again.

      4.) Beat the Giants and Lovie treats everyone to dessert at Meyer’s House of Sweets

     3.) Two game win streak? Jason Licht has to come to work Monday in a tutu

     2.) The secondary holds a séance to expedite the Madden curse to before Sunday.

    1.) Don’t commit stupid penalties. Learn to defend a slant. Actually try to score at the end of the first half since everyone knows they’ll need those points by the end of the second half. Follow Jameis…he’ll lead you to the winner’s circle.


Six Final Words

Season doesn’t start ‘til November? Undefeated.

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