Buccaneers 34, 49ers 17: Immediate Reactions

October 23, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Shepard (89) scores a touchdown against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson (33) during the second quarter at Levi
October 23, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Shepard (89) scores a touchdown against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson (33) during the second quarter at Levi /

The Buccaneers went out west on Sunday afternoon to take on the San Francisco 49ers. They will return to Tampa with a 3-3 record after a 34-17 win. Here, we have immediate observations and reactions from the game.

48. Final. 17. 42. 34

The Buccaneers fell behind 14-0 on Sunday afternoon, but came back with 27 straight points to take a commanding lead. They eventually finished off a 34-17 win over the 49ers. The win is the second straight for Tampa Bay, who now sits at 3-3.

Observations and Reactions- General

-The Bucs got out to an awfully slow start. The 49ers received the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in six plays to take an early 7-0 lead. One Tampa Bay turnover later, San Francisco went up 14-0.

-Somehow, the slow start didn’t cost the Bucs. They went on to score 17 straight points in the second quarter to take the lead into halftime. They added 10 more to start the second half before the 49ers kicked a field goal.

-Tampa Bay committed seven penalties for 78 yards. Jameis Winston lost his cool at one point in the second quarter, getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct after he yelled at one of the referees.

Observations and Reactions- Offense

Jacquizz Rodgers was the star of the game for the Bucs’ offense once again. After a breakout performance as the starter two weeks ago, he went for 154 yards on 26 carries against the 49ers.

-Jameis Winston, overall, played pretty well on Sunday. He made a couple of bad decisions and bad throws, including his interception in the first quarter. He recovered well from the pick, as he completed 21 of 30 passes on the day for 269 yards and three touchdowns.

Mike Evans continued to carry the load for Tampa Bay’s receiving corps. He caught eight passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

-With Vincent Jackson out, the Bucs needed someone to step up. Russell Shepard made a huge 19-yard touchdown grab at the end of the first half, snatching a great pass by Winston out of the air. He caught a total of five passes for 77 yards and the score on the afternoon.

Peyton Barber ran for 84 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. His touchdown was a 44-yarder that sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter.

-Tampa Bay put up 513 total yards on the day, shredding a bad 49ers defense. 249 of those yards came on the ground, and that’s without Doug Martin and Charles Sims. That’s an impressive sign for the Bucs’ depth.

Observations and Reactions- Defense

-The defense looked awful on the opening drive, but recovered very well. San Francisco got going on a couple of drives, but the Tampa Bay defense managed to get off the field with some key plays.

-After the offense got on the board, the defense responded in a big way. Bradley McDougald came up with an interception near the sideline, which led to a field goal.

-Just before halftime, Keith Tandy made a key pass deflection on third down to get the ball back to his offense. The fact that the Bucs ended up scoring to take the lead made Tandy’s play even bigger.

Jude Adjei-Barimah forced a fumble in the third quarter off of a blitz. He blindsided Colin Kaepernick, which knocked the ball loose and allowed Gerald McCoy to recover.

-Speaking of McCoy, he was solid in his return from injury. He picked up a sack, which was one of the Bucs’ four. The other three came from Adjei-Barimah, Will Gholston and Noah Spence.

Observations and Reactions- Special Teams

Roberto Aguayo had a better day on Sunday, but a late miss from 50 yards out put a big blemish on his stat line. He had previously connected from 37 and 38 yards out, while also making all four of his extra point attempts.

Bryan Anger punted just three times on Sunday, averaging 39 yards per punt.

-Rookie Ryan Smith got a couple of chances as the team’s kick returner, but he didn’t look very good. On two different kicks, he brought the ball out and got tackled inside the 20, setting the Bucs up with bad field position. Adam Humphries eventually replaced him, taking his lone return back for 17 yards.

-Tandy, who made a big play on defense, came up huge on special teams to start the second half. After it looked like the Bucs had gone three and out, he recovered a muffed punt to get the ball back for his team.

Final Thoughts

The Buccaneers did what they were supposed to do on Sunday afternoon. That’s not a knock on their win at all, because they often lose games that they shouldn’t. The 49ers are a bad football team, and the Bucs showed that after some early hiccups. Winston may still have issues with turning the ball over, but his ability to step up in the pocket under pressure is what makes him successful. He showed that on Sunday, with help from a hot run game. Rodgers continued to roll, which helped open the passing game in a big way. Evans and Shepard shined, while the defense recovered from some early breakdowns to put up another solid performance.

The Bucs aren’t great, but Sunday was a nice step forward. They find themselves right in the middle of the playoff conversation right now, but they will have to keep improving week by week to be serious contenders when the season comes to an end. For now though, this was a fun win that should be celebrated. Any road win is huge, and the team now stands at 3-1 away from home in 2016.

Next: Spotlight: Jacquizz Rodgers

Tampa Bay returns to Raymond James Stadium next Sunday to host the Oakland Raiders (5-2) at 1:00.