The Bucs were on their way to another disappointing loss and were about to lose their fith straight game.
Thats when last weeks goat Jamel Dean stepped in front of Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk for his first interception of the season.
Dean’s interception gave the ball back to the Bucs offense and Jameis Winston was able to take the offense 92 yards for the winning score with 1:57 to go.
Final score Buccaneers 30 Cardinals 27.
This was not a thing of beauty at all. Their was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the game, but the Bucs defense stopped Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on the last drive of the game to secure the win.
Jamel Dean who was burnt to a crisp at times last week in his first start of the season in Seattle played much better and was the best Bucs player in the secondary in Sundays game.
Not only did Dean have the key interception to stop the Cardinals momentum in the fourth quarter that gave the ball back to the offense, Dean was busy all afternoon as he had three passes defended and based on this performance should earn more playing time next week even with the anticipated return of Carlton Davis.
Peyton Barber had the game winning touchdown with 1:57 to go as the Bucs lined up in a new formation called “Jack” in which Vita Vea lines up on the offensive line. Barber ran behind Vea for the winning score.
This was the first time the Bucs had used this formation in a game situation and coach Bruce Arians hinted after the game that if Vea continues to have success blocking, they might even put in a pass play in for him.
Ronald Jones had another good game this time in the passing game as Jones was the second leading receiver on the Bucs with eight catches for 77 yards. Jones also scored running the ball early in the first quarter to give the Bucs a 7-3 lead.
Peyton Barber appeared to be the fresher of the two backs especially in the second half as he ran for 43 yards and scored the game clinching touchdown.
OJ Howard was finally used prominently in the passing game as he had four catches for 47 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
Mike Evans had a sub par day by his standards as Evans only had four catches for 82 yards. This leaves him 76 yards shy of his sixth consecutive season of 1,000 receiving yards.
Jameis Winston was well Jameis Winston as he led the Bucs on the game winning 92 yard drive late in the game but also threw 2 interceptions and was sacked four times. In assessing Winston’s performance Arians said “The first interception he tried to fit one into Chris and the guy undercut it, Other than that, he was really solid, really solid.”
Winston has 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the season and the clock is ticking on whether the Bucs will sign Winston to the franchise tag, sign him to a new contract, or let him walk.
For most of the afternoon, the Bucs defense kept Murray in the pocket and kept his scrambling to a manageable level although Murray did lead the Cardinals with 38 yards rushing on three carries.
Shaq Barrett had another sack to add to his league leading total of 11.5 while N’Damukong Suh had a sack giving him 1.5 on the season.
In a somewhat surprising move, Vernon Hargreaves was benched by Arians for most of the second half for a lack of hustle and not running fast enough to make a play on a 55 yard pass play by Kyler Murray to Andy Isabella.
With the win, the Bucs are now 3-6 and get their first win at home this season and their first win at Raymond Jame Stadium since last December 2nd when they beat the Carolina Panthers 24-17.
Another division opponent awaits the Bucs next weekend when they will host Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints still holding on to first place in the NFC South were upset by the Falcons at home today 26-9.