Six Topics Suitable For Debate on Talk Radio and Social Media
1.) Has this team officially turned the corner? I know I’ve mentioned it before, and they’ve been close. This might be the victory that finally got this entire team on the same page. The offense was incredible. The defense was refreshingly good. Jameis Winston was, well, Jameis Winston. This team is really coming together for the future, but they may be a force for the rest of this season as well.
2.) How ill-timed was the Kwon Alexander suspension? Well, for starters, see above. This team is putting it all together but now their most impactful defender is facing a 4-game suspension for PEDs. Now, Kwon says it was from an energy drink he’s been drinking since high school and he will appeal, so it’s curious as to what he actually tested positive for if it truly was just an energy drink.
3.) Will Doug Martin get a contract extension from the Bucs? The way he’s playing, he’s certainly earned one. And it makes you wonder if Licht and Co. regret not exercising the fifth year option on Martin. But this guy is running his way to an interesting free agency experience if the Bucs can’t lock him up beforehand.
4.) Can we knock it off with the stupid, mindless, inexcusable penalties?! Yep, it’s that time, in this segment, for the broken record. I keep saying it. You keep thinking it (or yelling it at the TV). The Bucs just don’t fix it.
5.) Welcome back big money guys. Lavonte started it last week. This week, he gets six tackles, two interceptions, and a touchdown. Gerald McCoy, who did look a little better last week, is beginning to come around. He only had three tackles, but he also had 1.5 sacks and a tackle for loss. He’s starting to resemble the player Bucs fans were excited to see get a $100 million dollar contract. Now, we need to see the improvement continue into next game against the Colts, much as we’ve seen the progression of Lavonte’s return to form over the last few weeks.
6.) Can this Buccaneers team really run the table? “If we believe in each other, if we have each other’s backs, then we gonna go 7-0 on these…” That was Jameis Winston to his teammates after the win last week against the Cowboys. This appears to be a team believing in each other. They certainly have each other’s backs. Did Jameis resonate with that speech? Is this truly a team that believes it can run the table? Well, they’re at Indy with Matt Hasselbeck starting at quarterback. Home against the Falcons and Saints. Heading to St. Louis on a Thursday night. Back home against Lovie’s former team, the Bears. Then ending thing in Charlotte to face the Panthers. The scariest game left is the last one, and by then the Panthers will likely have the top seed wrapped up and be resting starters. Not saying they can, but…
Six Numbers To Consider
14 – Number of 3-and-outs for the Bucs offense all season – best in the NFL
10 – Number of 20+ yard runs this season by Doug Martin – also best in the NFL
9:47 – Time of possession on Bucs’ touchdown drive to open the third quarter
40 – Amount of points the Eagles had outscored opponents by in the third quarter this season. Bucs won the third quarter 7-0
177 – Yards rushing by Doug Martin…in the first half. A Buccaneers franchise record.
72 – Total number of offensive plays run by both the Buccaneers and the Eagles.
Six Key Plays
1.) On the third play of the game, DeMarco Murray fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Buccaneers DE Jacquies Smith. Smith fumbled and it was recovered by the Eagles. During the booth review, it was clear that Smith was down by contact before the fumble. However, for whatever reason, the call was upheld and the Eagles kept the ball. Seven plays later, the Eagles were in the end zone.
2.) On their second possession, the Eagles faced 3rd-and-short. Gerald McCoy broke through the line to get a sack, forcing Philly to punt. This was a very early turning point in the game, given the Eagles were marching down the field and leading 7-0.
3.) On the ensuing possession the Bucs faced 3rd-and-1. Winston handed the ball to Doug Martin who rips off a 58-yard run to the Philadelphia 8-yard line. Two plays later, Winston finds Mike Evans for the tying score.
4.) After forcing a third consecutive 3-and-out by the Philly offense, the Bucs offense took over inside their own 20-yard line. On the first play, Doug Martin does it again, ripping off an 84-yard run down to the Philadelphia 1-yard line. After a delay of game, Winston finds Russel Shepard for a touchdown, giving the Bucs a 21-7 lead
5.) After a Darren Sproles touchdown, Winston engineers another touchdown drive. This time, he hits Charles Sims on a 14-yard pass where Sims dragged a defender three yards and dove for the pylon to get in. This gave Tampa Bay a 28-14 lead with 1:05 left in the half and they would be receiving the second half kickoff.
6.) This isn’t a key play: it’s a key drive. Orchestrating an almost ten minute long drive to open the second half was a back breaker. The Buccaneers overcame four, yes four, offensive penalties that put them in second and third-and-long situations. The drive culminated in a touchdown pass to Cameron Brate, giving the Bucs a 35-14 lead with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Six Top Performers
6.) Vincent Jackson – Welcome back! Jackson had himself a nice return by hauling in four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. It was rather nice seeing how this offense can perform with two big targets on the field. Now, once they get ASJ back and there’s three of them? Watch out.
5.) Lavonte David – As stated earlier, six tackles plus two interceptions and a touchdown. Lavonte is returning to form and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
4.) Adam Humphries – How great is this kid?! It’s reminiscent of the old “Third-and-Ike” days under Gruden. Humphries has probably the most reliable hands on the team and if it’s a crucial moment when the Bucs need a first down, it seems like Humphries is the guy to go to. This could be the slot receiver Bucs fans have been hoping for.
3.) Mike Evans – Another solid performance by the second year receiver. Four receptions, 63 yards, a touchdown. Winston to Evans is going to be a connection Gene Deckerhoff is going to be calling a lot for years to come.
2.) Doug Martin – Ok, this isn’t even fair. Any other week, Martin is unquestionably the top performer. 27 rushes, 235 yards, two rushes over 50 yards. It was incredible to watch, BUT…
1.) Jameis Winston – 246 yards. Five, yes five touchdown passes. And those touchdowns were all to different receivers. Those who doubt him, don’t believe in him, don’t want to believe in him…just give it up. There is no denying this guy is legit.
Six Things To Be Thankful For: Buccaneers Edition
With Thanksgiving just four days away, here are some things Bucs fans should be thankful for. Also, wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families.
6.) Be thankful that the Bucs remaining opponents hold a combined record of 33-27, however ten of those wins are Carolina’s. Remove them from the equation and the Bucs’ remaining opponents are 23-27.
5.) Be thankful that the secondary, behind Sterling Moore and Jude Adjei-Barimah, have seemed to tighten up and become relatively effective. Verner is playing extremely well in the slot and the pass defense has actually improved exponentially in recent weeks.
4.) Be thankful Dirk Koetter came to Tampa Bay. Seriously…from his play calling to his hilariously honest press conferences. This guy is awesome.
3.) Be thankful they aren’t the Lions. I mean, it’s Thanksgiving. Imagine every Thanksgiving you’ve ever had being ruined because your football team always loses. That really puts a damper on the day.
2.) Be thankful that Winston is who most of us thought he would be. A leader, a gamer, and an exciting player to watch. I don’t want to speak to soon, but, is this what it feels like to have a franchise quarterback?
1.) Be thankful that, for the most part, this team is healthy. Despite Seferian-Jenkins having missed significant time, the Buccaneers have done pretty well in the injury department. No top receivers or a running back or a quarterback tearing an ACL, no broken arms, no lacerated kidneys…nothing drastic or severe.
Six Final Words
How ‘bout three in a row?