The Tampa Bay Buccaneers earned their first victory of the season against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, but who were the best and worst performers who helped them earn the victory, or almost cost them a chance at winning?
Here are the three best and three worst performers for the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.
Three Up: Three Best Performers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers’ defensive tackle had never played every snap on defense in a game before Monday, according to Pro Football Focus. But against the Dolphins, McCoy played every single defensive snap, and was absolutely dominant. He was quick off the snap, and constantly pressing through gaps to get after Ryan Tannehill and the Miami running backs.
McCoy was the catalyst for a strong defensive performance, and his sack on Miami’s final drive was key to shutting down the Dolphins chances of winning the game. Gerald McCoy is in the conversation as one of the best players at his position in the NFL, and Monday night was an example of just how great he can be.
Lavonte David did not post his most impressive line of statistics on Monday, but he had a huge impact against the Miami Dolphins. The Bucs linebacker posted a safety that wound up being the difference in the scoreline (considering Miami’s attempted two-point conversion to close the gap), and his presence along with his teammates on defense shut down the rushing game for Miami, holding them to only two yards on fourteen carries.
David has emerged as one of the best linebackers in the NFL, and he has posted consistently strong performances this season. Monday night wasn’t his best stat line, but it was one of his best contributions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers featured three tailbacks on Monday, yet one member of the offensive backfield remained consistent. That was the fullback Erik Lorig, who paved the way for the running game all night, and has proven that his absence may have been the reason why the Buccaneers struggled to run the football early in the season.
Lorig made a huge impact on the running game when he played on Monday night, opening up holes to run through to Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey. When the Buccaneers don’t run from a two-back formation, the difference in their success is obvious. There aren’t many fullbacks left in the NFL, but there are also few fullbacks better than Erik Lorig.
Three Down: Three Worst Performers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Say it with me kids: Quarterback wins is not a relevant statistic.
Getting a win is not a worthwhile way to judge a quarterback. He, like every other player on the team, must be judged on his own merits and abilities. For Mike Glennon on Monday night, his impact was mostly negative.
Glennon was poor on deep passes and collapsed under pressure on multiple occasions as he posted an 11 of 22 passing performance with one touchdown (to Donald Penn) and one interception (at a crucial moment in the game). His mental lapse to run out of bounds on a third-and-short when allowing the clock to run was more important could have cost the Buccaneers a victory. He was not good enough on Monday, and the team won in spite of him.
If Charles Clay didn’t drop a deep pass against Goldson, his night would have been more obviously poor. The Buccaneers free safety made a brutal mistake by head-butting an opponent on what would become a scoring drive, and tried his hardest to commit another penalty later in the game when he dove in, head-first, at a falling receiver.
Goldson is better than Keith Tandy, but on Monday the gap between the two wasn’t quite as wide as it should have been. It was a very disappointing performance for the highly paid Buccaneer defender.
Had you heard of Rishard Matthews before Monday’s game?
Neither had Michael Adams. But by the end of the night, Adams knew all about Matthews.
Ryan Tannehill targeted the receiver covered by Adams over and over during the game, and found success nearly every time, as Matthews posted a career night from the slot as Darrelle Revis locked down Mike Wallace on the other side of the field. Adams made a good play on special teams, but his defensive performance was awful. The Buccaneers cannot wait for Danny Gorrer to get back to health to provide competition for Adams.