There were so many good things to say about this game and specifically the Bucs defense.
One month ago the way the defense was playing we thought it would be years before we would see a performance like this one from the Bucs defense.
The Bucs lost another starter in the secondary in Justin Evans and yet did not miss a beat as the turnovers and the sacks just kept coming.
The defense created 4 turnovers yesterday as Cam Newton had one of his worst games as an NFL QB. Newton was picked 4 times, 3 times by newly acquired Andrew Adams as the Bucs beat the stumbling Panthers 24-17. Ryan Smith had the other pick for the Bucs.
The Bucs had constant pressure on Newton all afternoon long and even when they weren’t sacking him, they were in his face and knocking him down. Jason Pierre-Paul had another sack bringing his total to 11.5 on the seson. Vinny Curry, Kevin Minter and Lavonte David Had the other sacks.
It was great to see Lavonte David out there again and his impact was felt throughout the game. Whether it was applying pressure to Cam Newton or getting his hands up to redirect a pass, David made his presence felt all afternoon.
While the defense was the star of yesterdays game, let’s not forget the performance of Jameis Winston who turned in another solid performance.
For the second straight game Winston did not turn the ball over. He made good decisions with ball and took what the defense gave him. There was one pass where he tried to force it to Chris Godwin, but the ball fell incomplete.
Winston was the teams leading rusher as he ran for 58 yards and made plays with his legs for the second straight game.
Peyton Barber had another lackluster performance as he ran for 45 yards on 16 carries. Barber also fumbled in the end zone on what would have been a Buccaneer TD.
The OL continues to leave a lot to be desired with it’s run blocking and its propensity for taking penalties at crucial moments during the game.
Donavan Smith and Caleb Benenoch continue to struggle learning the basics of OL play in the NFL and they are 3-4 years in. Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen are the members of this starting group I would bring back next year. I think you could realistically see at least 2 new starters maybe 3 on the OL next season.
The Bucs are now 5-7 and are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, but there is no margin for error.
With the New Orleans Saints rolling into Tampa next week, the defense will again need another big time operformance and Winston will need to continue his improved play if the Bucs are to have a chance of beating the Saints.