Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week Nine Winners and Losers
By Brian DeFeo
The Buccaneers finally had a big home game in primetime. They took on division rival Atlanta Falcons. This was a big game for both teams because the division is still on the line. Bucs failed to show up big when they needed to.
Halloween may be over but the horror movie that is the Buccaneers defense is still going strong. Atlanta Falcons handled the Buccaneers easily to win 43-28 and it wasn’t even that close. The game against the Raiders last week probably would’ve had a similar outcome if they didn’t break the record for penalties. The Buccaneers are a young team that needs to develop before it can win the big games. While not everyone performed well let’s take a look at the winners and losers.
For the second week in a row the Bucs defense got torched by an above average quarterback. Matt Ryan has been an MVP candidate this year and again played like one. MVP chants were heard for Matt Ryan in Raymond James If he got to play the Buccaneers every week he’d probably break the record for most passing yards. Ryan finished with 344 yards and four touchdowns. Ten yards and two touchdowns more than week one against Tampa. Julio picked them apart with eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. The Buccaneers were coming off a short week and a game where they spent over 90 plays on defense. They got outsmarted and outplayed by the Falcons and Mike Shanahan. Fatigue is a part of the game but when you’re getting burned week in and week out you have to realize that you need more depth, or better players. Oh yeah, no interceptions too. Not a good showing from the safeties on John Lynch Day.
Winner: Wide Receiver Mike Evans
First off, what a catch. An amazing one handed catch then getting decked really summed up the season for the Bucs. Every time something good happens, BAM, they come crashing down. Back to Mike Evans, he now leads the league in receiving touchdowns. He has the franchise record for most touchdowns in eight games. He had two touchdowns in the first 25 minutes of the game. Evans is too big too physical and too good to not be a top ten receiver in the league. Evans in his third season and has 23 touchdowns for his career and is easily on pace to break all sorts of Bucs receiving records. Mark Carrier has the record for receiving yards in franchise history with 5018, Evans already has more than 2,900 yards in three years.
Loser: Offensive Line
The Buccaneers offensive line has been a weakness of this offense recently. They’ve produced more penalties than they should and they are almost always after a gain of positive yards. Ali Marpet had a huge holding penalty on fourth and one at the start of the fourth quarter. Bucs gained the first down but were brought back ten and couldn’t get the first on the next try. They have also been getting Winston hit, a lot. Winston has to move around a lot more to make plays. He may be losing some accuracy because of throwing on the run but he’s still able to get the ball down field. Imagine if he had time to throw from the pocket. Winston could get the ball down field to Evans with ease if given more time. Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, and Derek Carr have top lines in the league and it’s a reason why they are where they are.
Winner: Punter Bryan Anger
For the second week in a row Bryan Anger gets another winner of the week. Anger has been the best player on special teams all year and continued tonight. He didn’t have as many punts as four days ago but each of his punts tonight pinned the Falcons inside their own 20. The Buccaneers turned the ball over twice early and went for it on fourth down in a few times in the second half. Averaging 48 yards a punt and having no returns give you a productive night. It’s been a rough stretch for the Buccaneers, but Anger has been one of the few good constants.
Loser: Running Game
Injuries happen, but when Antoine Smith left the game, albeit late in the fourth, I just feel like this team is actually cursed. They’ve now gone through four running backs and things are looking bleak. Doug Martin’s injury is a mystery and he may miss a few more weeks. Sims is done for the season. Jacquizz may be out for a couple more games. Antoine Smith’s injury did not look good so they Buccaneers will potentially have to rely on undrafted rookie Peyton Barber and Mike James next week. Bucs managed 73 yards on 19 carries for an average of 3.8 per carry. They couldn’t get anything going late because they were down the entire time. At least they have a little break with today’s game being on Thursday and maybe get a little healthy.
Winner: John Lynch
He may not have enjoyed the game he just watched but he had to enjoy the half time. John Lynch was inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor tonight. The whole gang was here tonight, Sapp, Brooks, Barber, Dungy, Alstott and it was actually a game at halftime. They really could’ve used him on the field during in the second half. Lynch and the Super Bowl Bucs celebrated his remarkable career and he will be enshrined in Raymond James forever.
Next: Bucs Fall To falcons 43-28: Immediate Reactions
The Den of Depression is still alive and well. The Bucs lost 43-28 and fall to 3-5. They fall to 0-4 at home this year and 17-43 over the last nine seasons. I repeat, 17 wins and 43 losses. The Patriots won 18 freaking games in one season! I can’t control what they do but I hope they know that their fans are pissed off. The Cleveland Browns have been more successful at home. Fans were chanting A-T-L and MVP for Matt Ryan in Tampa Bay. That is unacceptable. I feel that this team has to realize they need to make a change if they want fans to chant for them and get an actual home field advantage again.