Bucs learn to finish in win against the Rams
The word of the week in the Bucs locker room and one that permeated every practice was “Finish”.
After failing to do that a week ago in the 32-31 home loss to the New York Giants, the Bucs were able to finish the deal in Los Angeles and beat the NFC champion Rams 55-40 in what has to be considered one of the major upsets of the week as the Rams were 9.5 point favorites.
The 55 points that the Bucs scored set a new all time franchise for points scored eclipsing the previous mark of 48.
Jameis Winston had another outstanding performance as he completed 28/41 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and just one interception.
This was Winston’s third best passing game of his career. Winston set his all time high of passing yards of 405 against the Rams in 2017 in a 37-32 loss in Tampa.
This performance would have to rank as one of Winston’s best in his NFL career. To go on the road, beat the defending NFC Champions the way he carved and sliced up the number three rated defense is quite impressive.
Winston is also playing for a new contract has no contract for next season. If he can continue to play at this level, the Bucs will not hesitate to bring him back on a second contract.
Ronald Jones had another good game as he ran for 70 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown. Jones would have passed the 100 yard mark if not for two runs getting called back by penalties.
Chris Godwin after being limited in practice all week had one of his best games as a pro with 12 catches for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With the Bucs excellent receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, add OJ Howard in the mix, someone is bound to be open every play. You can’t double team that many guys. So it was Godwin who had the big game yesterday.
It was also good to see Bobo Wilson and Justin Watson get into the game with their first catches of the season.
Breshad Perriman who the Bucs signed as A free agent to be their third wide receiver left early in the game with a hamstring injury. Perriman has been plagued by injuries his entire career and it looks as if the injury bug is starting to get him again in Tampa.
One of the most impressive overlooked stats about the offense yesterday was the Bucs 5/6 in the red zone. After going 3/10 for their first three games, Arians made it a priority to get touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals. The Bucs are now 8/15, over 50 percent on the season inside the red zone.
It was also a career day for Matt Gay as he kicked a career long 58 yard field goal to help the Bucs maintain their lead in the third quarter.
The run defense was once again tenacious against the Rams holding the Rams to 28 yards rushing and limiting Todd Gurley to 16 yards on the ground and 54 yards in the air.
Although the defense gave up 517 passing yards, they made the plays when they had to to win the game. The three interceptions, the forced fumble, the sacks, all game at crucial times in the game when the Bucs needed a big play.
There are really no words or adjectives to describe what Shaq Barrett is doing and what his play has meant to this Bucs defense. Barrett continued his assault on opposing teams offense by collecting another sack, forcing a fumble, and getting his first interception of the season.
Barrett has nine sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception on the season. That is the best numbers over a four game stretch by a defensive player in the history of the NFL.
Barrett should be in line for the defensive player of the week award and he has put himself in good position to be a nominee for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
After the game, Barrett seemed more concerned with the defense giving up 40 points and 517 passing yards than he did about the plays he made to help the Bucs get the win.
“I don’t like giving up 40 points. I know we still won but,
We’re going to fix it. We’re going to change it. It’s not going to be an every-week thing. It definitely won’t.”
Barrett is right, this cannot be an every week thing. The Bucs pass defense is going to have to improve and that will be a focus of Todd Bowles and the defensive staff this week.
The Bucs are now 2-2 one game behind the 3-1 New Orleans Saints. It will be a battle for first place next weekend at the Superdome when these two teams collide.
For now, lets just enjoy a victory Monday Bucs fans. Sunday will be here soon enough.