I gave advice for how to make the winner list in 2018, so it’s only right I share advice for how to stay off the losers list. The number one way is do not turn the football over three times. Jameis Winston finished the game on a high note with his 39 yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin, but he threw three ugly interceptions that would have lost his team the game in most weeks. The Saints failed to put the Bucs away though and put Winston in position for his late heroics.
Winston finished the game with 28 completions on 51 attempts, 363 yards, a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown, and those three interceptions. I think that Winston will have a long NFL career, but I also think that his turnovers will be a perpetual headache for Buccaneer fans. Even after a hot stretch late in the year Winston showed against the Saints that he’s still prone to those boneheaded throws into triple coverage. Hopefully another off-season spent mastering Dirk Koetter’s offense can help Winston make better, safer decisions in 2018.
Buccaneer Pass Rush
This is as much a season-long award as it is for just Sunday against the Saints. The Buccaneers have had a non-existent pass rush all season, so why would it be any different against the Saints and their league best offensive line? Drew Brees was sacked just twice on the game, which is actually a decent number for a group that had twenty sacks on the entire season, fewest in the entire NFL. Many fans wanted defensive coordinator Mike Smith to hit the road, but the Bucs recognized that it simply isn’t fair to grade him with so few capable bodies to sack the quarterback.
For the Bucs defense to have any shot at getting better next year, the team will need to draft an end with one of their first two draft picks, and also pursue at least one veteran with starting ability. We can expect to see the entire defensive end group blown to pieces this off-season, save Noah Spence and maybe Will Gholston, who will both probably become back-ups. The Bucs have been trying to fix their pass rush for years now; hopefully this will be the off-season they get it done.
Well, that’s it for winners and losers this season. Be sure to sound off in the comments with who your own winners and losers were from the game, and keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a look at the winners and losers from the 2017 season as a whole.
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