Game of the Year: Week 16 @ Carolina Panthers
In a season where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to only win five games and the defense was awful in most and the offense struggled throughout the season it is very difficult to find a “Game of the Year” award winner. The Buccaneers did not really have one “complete” game where the offense and defense played great together. I could pick the easiest one and pick the game where the Buccaneers actually beat a good team and just choose the week seventeen victory against the New Orleans Saints, but as I mentioned that would be too easy.
So instead I think that I am going to pick a game that the Buccaneers lost but as a whole for the most part the team played its best you know comparably to this awful season, and that game would be and that game would be the:
Week 16, 22-19 loss at Carolina on Christmas Eve.
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Now why would I chose a game where Jameis Winston was sacked six times and lost three fumbles because it was actually one of the defenses best games of the season, which was a rarity this year, as they gave up their second lowest total yardage of the season at 255 (first – 254 also against Carolina).
Cam completed only 62% of his passes for 160 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception by rookie safety Justin Evans and was sacked twice by the Buccaneers defense another rarity as they were only able to achieve 21 sacks the entire season. Another amazing stat was that the Buccaneers allowed opposing teams to convert the most of third downs this season at 48.15%, but in the Christmas Eve matchup with the Panthers they only converted on 30.76% of their third down attempts. The Buccaneers defense also contained the Panthers running game for the most part as they rushed 31 times for 115 yards (3.72 yards/carry) and one touchdown with Cam leading the way with fourteen carries for 52 yards (4 yards/carry) and one touchdown.
On the offensive side for the this game was probably one of Winston’s best games of the season as he completed 77% of his passes (21 of 27) for 367 yards including a seventy yarder to receiver Chris Godwin. Winston was able to complete 6 of his 8 deep passes for 167 of his yards but no touchdowns.
Peyton Barber was given the chance to be the lead back and performed adequately in a game where the Buccaneers were behind for most of it rushing thirteen times for 51 yards (3.9 yards/carry). Chris Godwin and Mike Evans came very close to very close to having 100 yards receiving by each of them with Evans getting 107 yards and Godwin having 98 yards.
As the norm though for this weird season the Buccaneers missed a field goal in the fourth quarter that would have extended their lead and ended up losing by three points on a last second two yard touchdown run by Cam Newton.
Still in my opinion even though they lost this is the best game that the Buccaneers played together as a unit and another one of many this season that should have been a win, so Week 16 loss at Carolina is my Pewter Plank’s “Game of the Year” award winner.
As always even though this season did not turn out as expected and football is over again before January for us Buccaneers fans, oh and we missed out on a Gruden return … GO BUCS!!!