Sunday was a breath of fresh air for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans who had grown increasingly frustrated with the team over the last four games. That's what losing every single game since the bye week will do to a fanbase, but the Bucs pulled thsemlves out of the pit in Week 10 and finally got back into the win column.
It wasn't the prettiest game, but it ended up being the Bucs second-biggest margin of victory and might have sparked a second-half run. Baby steps would be the best way to approach the upcoming schedule, as a brutal game against the 49ers awaits on the horizon, but the Bucs at least stopped the bleeding.
The win featured another performance where the offense managed to score at least 20 points, which has only happened five times this season. It should come as no surprise that the Bucs are 4-1 in those games, with the only loss being the meltdown in Houston.
A major source of frustration this year has been the lack of offensive production, despite the weapons the team has. There's a stubborn reliance to on an ineffective run game that slows everything to a halt, but one former Buccaneers player thinks he knows how to fix things.
Cameron Brate wants the Bucs to run the offense through Chris Godwin
Brate made an appearance on WTSP-TV Channel 10 before Sunday's game and broke down one key factor that remains almost criminally underutilized. Chris Godwin has been pretty much perfect this year, as he had 60 catches and zero drops heading into Sunday's game but continues to feel like a third option on offense.
According to Brate, fixing the offense means running it through Godwin.
“I want them to run the offense through Chris [Godwin], and get some easy passes on first and second down,” Brate said. “Find a way to get the ball in Chris’ hands and good things will happen.”
The loss in Houston was perhaps the worst case of the Bucs overlooking Godwin's contributions on offense. He ended up getting targeted six times, but three of those game in the fourth quarter and only two resulted in catches.
Godwin only has one touchdown this season -- let that sink in. It's borderline malpractice the way he's being used, but we started to see that shift on Sunday. Canales dialed his number on the first play of the game, and Baker Mayfield looked his way five more times. It's still less than what his targets should have been, but the fact the Bucs went to Godwin on a first down play is encouarging.
The same can be said for Mike Evans, who is also being underutilized and is still on pace for over 1,300 yards this season. Imagine if Canales found ways to scheme his two best players into the offense more, and relied less on trying to jump start a run game that simply isn't going to get going the way he hopes?
Godwin and Baker have had a good conection the few times it's been relied on, but the coaching staff is starting to run out of reasons why his production this season is so low.