Tampa Bay played their most complete game of the season on Sunday as they rolled over the Falcons 41-28 to pick up their second win of the season. Some games it is difficult to find five players worthy of Most Impressive, this week it was too difficult to only name five.
MOST IMPRESSIVEDT Gerald McCoyIf there were anyone still wondering if Gerald McCoy was an elite player or not, the question was emphatically answered on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. McCoy proved he was not only the best defensive player on the field, but perhaps on of the best defensive players in the league. McCoy now has six sacks on the season after recording five last year, a number that sent him to Hawaii.
McCoy finished the game with five tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss and a pass breakup.
RB Bobby RaineyAfter watching Bobby Rainey and his long near-touchdown scamper last week against Miami after filling in for an injured Mike James, you scratched your head and wondered if it was a fluke run or something he is capable of doing week in and week out. On Sunday against Atlanta, Rainey proved it was no fluke, as he almost single-handily willed the Bucs offense down the field. Rainey’s 43-yard TD dash in the first half showed the ability to cut back, turn on the jets and make guys miss all in one run.
On the afternoon Rainey finished with 163 yards on the ground, two rushing touchdowns and two receptions that also included one TD catch. Rainey became the first Tampa Bay player to have two touchdowns rushing and a TD reception in the same game.
WR Vincent JacksonAll week long, leading up to the Falcons game the Bucs coaching staff talked about getting Vincent Jackson more involved in the passing game, as the previous two weeks saw the Bucs Pro Bowl receiver nabbing just five total receptions. At times you wondered how smart that might be, as surely opponents would be double-teaming Jackson, knowing he was Tampa Bay’s only true proven difference maker at receiver. Tying to force the ball to Jackson most certainly would be a mistake and lead to interceptions was the practical line of thinking. But the staff came up with a few new wrinkles to get Jackson more involved, and Mike Glennon took some shots downfield, and was able to find Jackson deep in one-on-one coverage that led to a highlight-reel one-handed vintage Jackson grab for 53 yards.
Jackson was targeted 12 times and came down with 10 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Offensive LineThe transformation of the Bucs offensive line over the previous three games is nothing short of amazing. What was easily the most disappointing overall unit through the first six games has now become the most impressive. The pass blocking has been stellar, but what has really turned heads – and the Bucs fortune – around, is the dominating run blocking.
Jamon Meredith was inserted in the lineup against the Seahawks and since then the Buccaneers have punished opponents with power, ISO and a few tosses mixed in. As Davin Joseph told the media on Sunday after the game, there aren’t that many different running plays the team is running, it is just the line and backs are executing them to near perfection.
Sunday saw the line open up enough holes for Tampa Bay’s running backs to gain 186 yards on 38 carries.
QB Mike GlennonWhen you post a 137.5 QB rating in a game as a quarterback, it means you have played nearly flawless. And that is exactly what happened on Sunday against the Falcons with Glennon under center. Playing smart football, taking occasional deep shots down the field, and understanding the concepts of offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s offense, Glennon played as well as any quarterback in the NFL on Sunday.
Glennon finished 20-of-23 for 231 yards and two touchdowns, and more importantly zero turnovers.
Safety Dashon GoldsonGoldson was flagged for another shot to the head of defender costing the Bucs 15 yards, but more than made up for his mistake with a solid overall game, including recording his first interception of the season, picking off Atlanta’s Matt Ryan in the second half. Goldson also recovered a fumble, to go along with his two tackles and two pass break ups.
CB Darrelle RevisSomeone looking at the stat sheet but not watching the game and seeing Darelle Revis with just one tackle might assume the former Jets superstar had an off game. Nothing could be further from the truth. Revis once again pitched a near perfect game, blanketing the Falcons receivers and basically eliminating a third of the football field from the Falcons. Revis gets stronger and stronger each week and next Sunday’s matchup with Calvin Johnson should be one for the ages.
LB Mason FosterPrior to his concussion Foster was having one of, if not his best game of the season. The Bucs starting middle linebacker recorded three tackles, a pass breakup and an interception return for a touchdown, the second one of the season for the former Washington Huskie. The interception came when linebacker Dekoda Watson hit Matt Ryan’s arm, but the best part of the play was Foster’s determination to get into the end zone.
Honorable Mention: S Mark Barron, LB Dekoda Watson, DE Adrian Clayborn
MOST DISAPPOINTINGCB Johnthan BanksBanks continues to take his rookie lumps. And when Darrelle Revis is lined up opposite of you, it is almost unfair for any cornerback, much less a rookie. Not only is he a learning on the fly, but Banks gets twice as many balls thrown his way than most rookie cornerbacks, due to just the presence of Revis on the field. While it may not be fair, it is the facts, and Banks seems to have at least one big blunder each week.
This one took place in the second half when Harry Douglas ran a skinny post and beat Banks to the inside. Douglas made the grab and Banks was in easy position to bring him down before inexplicably letting Douglas go as safety Dashon Goldson approached. Of course seeing a safety bearing down would make many a player try and avoid friendly fire, but Goldson backed off and miss-timed his hit allowing Douglas to go 80 yards for an easy score. Banks was fairly solid other than that play, and finished with six tackles and one pass breakup.
Daniel Te’o-Nesheim The Buccaneers may not have a player with a higher revved motor than Te’o-Nesheim, but the effort versus production equation hasn’t been equal very often this season. Te’o-Nesheim finished Sunday’s game with just one QB hit and it may be time for the coaching staff to give Da’Quan Bowers the majority of the snaps down the road once Bowers gets over his concussion-like symptoms. Perhaps Te’o-Nesheim is better suited for that come off the bench role that Bowers has been playing through the first half of the season.
CB Michael AdamsAdams failed to show up on the stat sheet except for the worst way possible and that was by way of a pass interference penalty, extending a Falcons drive that eventually led to three points.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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