The Buccaneer defense was better than expected on Sunday afternoon against the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately you couldn’t say the same for the Bucs offense as the 49ers get out of town with a 31-17 win.
The new and improved Bucs defense allowed just 256 total yards and allowed one touchdown in the losing effort. Vernon Hargreaves had a pick six in the first half to put the Bucs up at one point 7-3, the first pick six since Ronald McLain took one to the house in 2017.
The defense was able to stop the Niners numerous times holding the 49ers to three field goals and a touchdown. This was a stark improvement from what we saw last year under the Dirk Koetter/Mike Smith led defense.
The Bucs defense held the 49ers 100 million dollar man Jimmy Garoppolo to 18/27 for 166 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Jordan Whitehead and Lavonte David led the Bucs defense with eight and seven tackles respectively. Shaq Barrett had the lone sack for the defense.
The offense was well, disappointing. The one offensive player that stood out was running back Ronald Jones. Jones carried the ball 13 times for 75 yards averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Last year Jones had 44 yards total all season. If Jones keeps running like this, he could take the starting job away from Peyton Barber.
Barber had eight carries for 33 yards.
Chris Godwin led the Bucs receivers with three catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
The Niners defensive backs kept Mike Evans in check all afternoon as the Bucs Pro Bowl receiver had just two catches for 28 yards. Richard Sherman now 100 percent healthy after being injured much of 2018 had a pick six for the 49ers.
Penalties continued to haunt the Bucs. DeMar Dotson was called for two penalties in the first half stalling two Buccaneer drives. On the day, the Bucs had eight penalties for 87 yards. The 49ers also totaled 87 yards in penalties.
Quarterback Jameis Winston threw three interceptions including two pick sixes as Winston had one of his worst outings since the four interception game against Cincinnati last season. Winston was 20/36 on the afternoon with 194 yards passing, one touchdown and three picks. Add in the fumble by OJ Howard, and the Bucs had four turnovers on the day.
Buc fans were expecting a lot more than what we saw and what we got from Jameis Winston. The offense took a step back from last years record setting performance and could muster only 295 yards of total offense with 38 yards coming on the last drive after Winston threw his third pick of the game.
Bruce Arians in his post game conference said that he told the team the Bucs beat the Bucs. “We talked about it at half and even before the game. That was the message: when we stop beating ourselves, we will be pretty good,”
Arians also commenting on the decision making of Jameis Winston said that Winston’s decision making is a work in progress and he will get better.
The Bucs will have a lot to learn and a lot to digest from this week one loss. They will need to put this behind them quickly, as they go to Carolina on Thursday night to take on the Panthers and another ex-Buccaneer Gerald McCoy.
The Panthers were losers to the LA Rams Sunday 30-27.