Turning Point-Bucs Vs Panthers: Keeping It Consistent
Ah. No place like home.
Home for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday was LOUD. One of the loudest games this season. The sea of red let themselves be
Heard on 3rd downs. Chants of “defense” could be heard clear as day and cheers rang out as the Bucs did something they hadn’t done since week 2: Beat a “winning” team.
There was a lot of “It was just the 49ers” last week on social media when it came to the commanding win the Bucs had last week against San Fransisco 27-9 It was said about Mike Evans big day (6 Rec 116 yards) and about Vita Veas breakout game (4 tackles 1 sack) which by the way he beat a pro bowl OT to achieve, AND about the 2 takeaways the Bucs defense forced. “It was only Nick Mullens”
But this week?
This was both different and yet very much the same
The Buccaneers once again forced turnovers.. but this time, there were FOUR of them, and it wasn’t against a “nobody”. It was against Cam Newton. Former MVP, Cam Newton. It was 4 MORE sacks, on a 6ft 5inch 245 pound QB. JPP tacked on one more to make 11.5 on the season -with four games left to play-. Vita Vea again took a center and pushed him straight back into Cam’s lap. Gerald McCoy AGAIN made a critical play in crunch time. Last week it was a sack, this week was a massive hit on Cam Newtons shoulder to force the last of 4 Newton interceptions to seal the game.
Jameis Winston also mirrored his performance from last week, as his stats stayed squeaky clean with no turnovers, few incompletions (20/30) not forcing throws, feeling pressure, and tacking on 2 more Touchdowns. He commanded the field, hitting beautiful throws on the run and most importantly- protected the football. When he scrambled, he covered the ball with both arms. He ate sacks instead of forcing it into coverage.
When the defense had its back turned, he pulled it down and ran for a few yards to pickup first downs instead of trying to get it all at once. Smart but aggressive, and it’s payed off. Through the past two games, Jameis is 49/68 for 561 yards 4TD 0 turnovers and passer ratings of 117.4 and 114.4. Jameis is playing like a man whose trying to prove he is the face of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise.
These Buccaneers are playing as a TEAM and at an incredible turnaround pace. Since Buckner became interim DC, The Bucs have managed a 2nd most sacks (24) and only allowing 33% on third downs. Before Sunday’s game, the Bucs had held the past 3 teams to an average of 187 yards passing, when Mike Smith’s defense was getting gouged for 300+ a game.
Although this week was almost a reflection of last weeks game, one thing for sure is different: this teams confidence. Don’t look now, but with the Vikings and Packers losing, and the Bucs handing the panthers a loss.. the Bucs still have a shot at a postseason. For this team whose battled adversity and injuries all season long, maybe a little hope has sparked something.
The Bucs have a huge test against the Saints this week, they’ll be surely looking for revenge after Tampa’s week 1 win against them in the Superdome. There’s only one difference this time..
They come to Tampa where the whole city, and it’s players, are fired up.