After Ronald Jones was unable to shoulder the load in the Buccaneers’ first playoff game since 2007, Leonard Fournette filled the role very well.
Leonard Fournette struggled during the second half of the regular season, but all is forgiven after a stellar performance in the Buccaneers’ biggest game in over a decade. The game wasn’t pretty at times, but a win’s a win, and Fournette played a role in that success.
In Ronald Jones‘ absence, Fournette posted 93 yards on the ground with 19 carries, 39 yards on four receptions, and a touchdown on the ground. This was the player that Bucs fans expected to get when Fournette arrived at the start of the season, but better late than never.
The potent ground game mixed with a decent amount of play-action allowed for the Buccaneers to put together a dominant offensive attack against one of the best defenses in the NFL, and this momentum will be pivotal in next week’s matchup against the Saints.
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At a certain point, one has to wonder if the Bucs ride the hot hand with Fournette, even if Jones is healthy. Fournette hit the holes in ways that he hasn’t done enough this season and looked great in the passing game, so the opportunity is there.
The Buccaneers took a minimal risk on Fournette in free agency, but it has already more than paid off. The Bucs take home a playoff win in Fournette’s best game of the season, and now the possibility exists that the Bucs bring him back next season.
While one game does not shift the entire narrative from the regular season, it does go a long way in softening the fanbase up to the idea of Fournette’s return. If he fits the Bucs’ system and can improve as a receiver, is it really that bad an idea to bring him back if this is what he can do in the playoffs?
To be fair, Fournette already had more playoff experience than most of the roster, but the performance was still undeniably good.
Here’s to hoping that Leonard Fournette can post similar numbers all the way on the route to the Super Bowl.
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