Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg

It’s time for Scott Reynolds’ 2-Point Conversion post-game column, which features two statements, two questions and two predictions based on the latest Bucs game.

Tampa Bay has now won three games in a row after a 28-22 victory in Philadelphia. Running back Leonard Fournette ran for two scores and topped 100 yards of total offense while Tom Brady tossed a pair of scoring passes to O.J. Howard and Antonio Brown. The Bucs had a 28-7 lead before the defense, which played great for three quarters, gave up 15 points in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay is now 5-1 on the season and has the weekend off.

2 BIG STATEMENTS

STATEMENT 1: Thursday Night Lenny In Effect

Last season “Playoff Lenny” became “Lombardi Lenny” after helping the Bucs win Super Bowl LV. Running back Leonard Fournette ran for a key third quarter touchdown to essentially seal Tampa Bay’s 31-9 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and claim the franchise’s second world championship. Fournette had 89 yards rushing and a TD to go along with four receptions for 46 yards in the biggest game of his life this past February.

On Thursday night in Philadelphia, Fournette turned in a similar performance in a 28-22 win that pushed Tampa Bay to 5-1 on the season. Fournette ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns and caught six passes for 46 yards. It was the third time in as many weeks that Fournette had over 100 yards of total offense for the Bucs, which is something he did in three out of four postseason games last year.

After dubbing himself “All Season Lenny” in last week’s 45-17 win over Miami where he had 67 yards rushing and his first TD of the year to go with 43 receiving yards, Fournette gave himself a new nickname after beating the Eagles in prime time.

 

“Yeah Lenny has been really, really good,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “Really solid. Run and pass and pass protection. He’s playing as a really good three-down back at a high level.”

Bucs RB Leonard Fournette

Bucs RB Leonard Fournette – Photo by: USA Today

Fournette ripped off two big plays with a 20-yard run against the Eagles and an 18-yard reception. And like he has in the previous two weeks, Fournette is winning with power and also with some juke moves. He’s winning as a rusher and a receiver. And he looks so comfortable this year, like he did in last year’s playoffs when he scored a touchdown in every postseason game.

“I came in two weeks before our first game, so just having that year under my belt makes a big difference understanding it,” Fournette said. “Especially playing with my guys for a year – trusting them and them trusting me.”

Gotta love Fournette giving himself new nicknames on an almost weekly basis. Can’t wait to see what he has in store for the Bears. And what his new nickname will be.

Fournette is reinventing himself in Tampa Bay on a weekly basis, and the Bucs are certainly the beneficiary of it.

“He’s a great back,” Bucs quarterback Tom Brady said. “He’s big, tough, catches it, runs, blocks, does everything for us. [It’s] great to have him in there. Obviously when he’s rolling, it’s tough to stop us.”

STATEMENT 2: Brown Is Becoming Bucs’ Best Receiver

Tampa Bay has the league’s best trio of wide receivers, and Antonio Brown might end up having the best season out of the three. Brown entered Thursday night’s game as the third-most productive receiver with 20 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each had 29 catches to lead Tampa Bay with Evans having 394 yards and four touchdowns, and 364 yards and two scores for Godwin. That was with Brown missing the Rams game in Week 3 with COVID-19.

After Thursday’s nine-catch, 93-yard, one-TD performance, Brown is asserting himself as Brady’s favorite and most reliable weapon on offense. And he mustered up that level of production while only playing 49 percent of the snaps on offense in Philly. Brown now has 29 catches for 418 yards (14.4 avg.) with four touchdowns and is really narrowing the gap.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today

Brown, who had a 23-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter to help Tampa Bay build a 14-7 lead, picked up two key first downs on the Bucs’ final drive to insure victory. Brown had a 10-yard catch, followed by a 27-yard catch on third-and-7 from the Philadelphia 45. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady rolled out to his right and found Brown, who was the third read and broke off his route to get open.

“It was probably the third [read],” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “The first two quick ones he breaks contain and just finds him. It’s one thing that he does. He’ll run and get to an open spot when he sees the quarterback moving.”

Had Tampa Bay not converted that third down, the team would have had to punt the ball back to Philadelphia, which trailed by six points.

“It was huge,” Arians said. “Great route and hell of a throw when you’re trying to get out of the pocket. It’s a couple times this year he’s thrown out of the pocket to the right and made a big play down the field.”

Evans now has 31 catches for 420 yards (13.5 avg.) on the year after being held to just 27 yards on two catches in Philadelphia. Godwin, who started off the night with five catches for 43 yards in the first half, was shut out in the second half. He has the most catches now in Tampa Bay this season with 34 and has 409 yards (12 avg.) and two scores.

All three Bucs receivers are over 400 yards and seem destined to hit 1,000 yards apiece if they stay healthy. But by the end of the season the explosive Brown may be on top with the way that he’s playing.

2 PROBING QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: Will RoJo Request A Trade?

After nearly rushing for 1,000 yards a year ago, the playing time of running back Ronald Jones II has severely diminished. Jones played just 14 snaps on Thursday night, rushing for 20 yards on five carries. That’s only two snaps more than seldom-used Giovani Bernard (12) and two snaps less than reserve tackle Josh Wells (16), who serves as the team’s jumbo tight end!

Bucs RB Ronald Jones II

Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today

Jones has rushed for just 118 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries (3.8 avg.) in six games. That puts him on pace to run for only 401 yards this season. Not exactly what he expected in his all-important contract year. Leonard Fournette has become a productive, three-down starter in Tampa Bay while Jones has still struggled in the passing game, although he did have one catch for nine yards.

Jones’ camp was unhappy with the Bucs over his lack of playing time after Week 1, and surely hasn’t gotten any happier as Fournette has asserted himself as the feature back. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Jones request a trade before or during the bye week. I doubt general manager Jason Licht wants to do that though, given how depth was key to the Bucs’ Super Bowl run a year ago.

With the way things stand right now Jones won’t be back in Tampa Bay next year. He’s still viewed as a liability in pass protection to play on third downs, and the Bucs put a premium on that given that the team has a 44-year old quarterback. Yet if Fournette got injured, Tampa Bay would rather start Jones with Bernard playing on third downs. For that reason they’ll hang on to RoJo for the rest of the year.

QUESTION 2: Where Was Tryon-Shoyinka?

Rookie pass rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was on the bench Thursday night – outside of 19 plays on defense and three special teams snaps. Meanwhile 31-year old veteran Jason Pierre-Paul played 41 snaps, which was 79 percent of the plays on defense. While he had his cast club off for Thursday’s game, Pierre-Paul was largely ineffective with just two tackles and a half-a-sack that he split with Shaq Barrett.

JPP played hard, but looked gassed at times, which is understandable, as the team’s oldest outside linebacker played his second game in five days and is still not 100 percent with a shoulder injury. Pierre-Paul played without the cast club that hurt his play last week when he couldn’t wrap up, but it was clear that Barrett was the best pass rusher on Thursday night. Yet Barrett, who finished with a team-high five tackles, two tackles for loss and half a sack, played four fewer snaps than JPP did!

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett and Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett and Eagles QB Jalen Hurts – Photo by: USA Today

I appreciate Pierre-Paul’s game and the energy he brings to the defense. But JPP can be just as energetic on the sidelines for a few more plays, while a healthier, younger, fresher, faster Tryon-Shoyinka gets more reps and more experience as a result. There is no reason why Pierre-Paul needs to be leading the Bucs outside linebackers in snaps other than he’s the alpha and vocally dominates the position room to get his way.

When JPP was 28 years old like Barrett is now, playing 95 percent of the snaps is fine. But three years older with two knee surgeries, an ailing hand and an injured shoulder, there is no reason for Pierre-Paul to try to be a hero and play all of the snaps, especially in Week 6 when there are still 10 more games left before the playoffs. It’s time for outside linebackers coach Larry Foote to step up and lead the room and put a limit on Pierre-Paul’s snaps and get Tryon-Shoyinka more playing time, which he needs.

There is no reason why Tampa Bay’s first-round pick, who played virtually every snap on defense for games at Los Angeles and at New England, should play 22 fewer plays than JPP and just seven more snaps than Anthony Nelson (12). Barrett, the Bucs’ $17 million man, should play the most snaps on one side, and JPP and JTS should live with a 55-45 percent split on the other. Not as lopsided as we saw on Thursday night.

2 BOLD PREDICTIONS

PREDICTION 1: Bucs Won’t Make Any Moves At CB

Bucs CB Pierre Desir

Bucs CB Pierre Desir – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Despite Richard Sherman going down with a hamstring injury on the first series of the game, I don’t think the Bucs will sign any replacements at cornerback. Jamel Dean is playing well, and the team got solid play from nickel cornerback Ross Cockrell and Dee Delaney, who stepped in for Sherman and played well. Tampa Bay has veteran Pierre Desir to lean on, and can promote Rashard Robinson from the practice squad.

That’s five cornerbacks. So the team has enough able bodies until Sherman and injured starters Carlton Davis III and Sean Murphy-Bunting can return in a few weeks after the bye, which is coming up in Week 9. Safety Mike Edwards can also play some nickel cornerback in a pinch, and the return of starting free safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. from a concussion for the Bears game should also help the ailing secondary.

PREDICTION 2: Penalties Will Haunt The Bucs In New Orleans

There will be some real voodoo happening on Halloween in New Orleans when the Bucs play the Saints. That’s when the team’s penchant for penalties will come back to bite them. So far, Tampa Bay has been able to squeak by lesser teams like New England and Philadelphia on the road despite a lot of penalties.

Saints QB Jameis Winston

Saints QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: USA Today

But when the Bucs play another good team like the Saints in two weeks, they’ll have to play a much cleaner game than they did on Thursday night. Tampa Bay entered Thursday night’s game as the second-most penalized team in the league behind Philadelphia. The Eagles had 50 penalties for 341 yards, while the Bucs had 40 penalties for 351 yards.

Tampa Bay was flagged seven times for a season-high 120 yards in prime time. Two of those penalties were pass interference calls of 45 and 50 yards, which comprised most of the penalty yardage. Still those penalties were big as they led to two Eagles touchdowns. The Bucs have to play much cleaner football next week against Chicago, but especially against the Saints. If Tampa Bay has more than six penalties in New Orleans it could be a frightening outcome for the Bucs on Halloween.

Share On Socials

About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
Subscribe
Notify of
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
eaustinyoung
eaustinyoung(@eaustinyoung)
1 month ago

Calling the Saints a “good” team is bold. They’re 28th in total offense. Jameis is on a short leash because we all knew who he was. They keep trying to run a 2 Qb system and it isn’t working. However, I also picked the Bucs to split with New Orleans. They have a defense that usually figures Tampa out. Until the team is healthy and clicking in all phases, every game is a trap game. But this years Saints are NOT last years Saints.

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1(@aredsoxfan1)
Reply to  eaustinyoung
1 month ago

I had an identical thought while reading the article, the Saints don’t really qualify as a “good” team anymore. Winston is awful and Payton is scared to death of him as seen in the play-calling. But as a division game on the road in a tough environment with a very good defense, I do see the NO game as a potential tough game. No doubt Winston will also have something to prove against his former team but hopefully we can use that to our advantage.

surferdudes
surferdudes(@surferdudes)
1 month ago

Scott, JPP wasn’t wearing the club for warm ups, but did have it on during the game. That said, it should be obvious to the staff Tryon should be on the field more. Father time has caught up to JPP, no other way to put it. Anthony Nelson? Did he play? Need to give someone else a look, Nelson just sucks. No power, no speed, no pass rush moves, what good is he? No shame for Rojo playing behind Lenny, Lenny is just better. I will say Rojo doesn’t seem to be sulking, and is running hard when given the… Read more »

eaustinyoung
eaustinyoung(@eaustinyoung)
Reply to  surferdudes
1 month ago

Id rather swap Nelson to S/T and use Pat O’Connor in his place on defense.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
1 month ago

I wouldn’t completely shutdown trade requests for RoJo it depends on a desperate teams offer. If a 2nd rounder was offered I’m pulling the trigger on that trade with no hesitation.

DT25
DT25(@dt25)
Reply to  Captain Sly
1 month ago

for a RB on the last year of his deal, we’d be lucky to get a 6th round pick. I want to see RoJo outside of Tampa with a longer leash, but it’s unlikely he gets traded or released. He’s going to have to be like Lenny last year…wait for an opportunity if it arises.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
Reply to  DT25
1 month ago

I wouldn’t take less than a 2nd only because of how valuable he is to this win now team. I agree that if he was on the open market a 6th rounder would seem about right but like in a marriage sometimes it’s cheaper to keep her!

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1(@aredsoxfan1)
Reply to  Captain Sly
1 month ago

Well you have no worries then because nobody is offering a second round pick for Jones. I agree I would keep him for depth but I sure hope Lenny doesn’t get hurt because the difference between the two is glaring, especially on short yardage plays.

Eddie
Eddie(@oct62020)
1 month ago

Lenny was running like Earl Campbell of old, didn’t shy away from 1:1 head on collision. Poor linebacker #49 got ran over a couple of time by him. Hope he stay healthy.

bucballer
bucballer(@bucballer)
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

I’m sorry bro, but I watched Earl Campbell play and Playoff Lenny is no Earl Campbell!

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
Reply to  bucballer
1 month ago

Haha. So True but let’s give Lenny some credit.

Dman
Dman(@dman)
Reply to  bucballer
1 month ago

Amen

Buc76
Buc76(@jjjj)
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

I have to echo the Earl Campbell comment. No one since Earl Campbell is like Earl Campbell. Best running back I ever saw, best combination of power and speed Ive ever seen and I’ve been watching Football since about 1975. Maybe Jim Brown was better but I never saw him. I like Fournette but he’s not close to Earl Campbell

bucballer
bucballer(@bucballer)
Reply to  Buc76
1 month ago

Earl Campbell was an absolute monster in college at Texas as well. Not only could run u over, you couldn’t catch him! An amazing physical specimen!

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

The mention of Earl “Tyler Rose” Campbell made me recall the trade the Bucs made in 1978 to the Houston Oilers for the rights to draft him. In my view the 2nd round selection of G Brent Moritz was the worst draft pick ever made. Doug Williams and deal sweetener Jimmy Giles did OK. Comparing Lenny to Earl……………laughable.

FilmBuc
FilmBuc(@filmbuc)
1 month ago

Hey Scott, I have to chime in on Shoyinka. Don’t you think that was all about discipline? The entire Bucs game-plan seemed to be to keep Hurts caged in and not have the pass rushers overshoot him and let him escape. That takes savvy and outside of a couple of plays the Bucs did a terrific job. I’m curious if Shoyinka and his high speed motor wasn’t experienced or disciplined enough in Bowles eyes to maintain the edge without overshooting it.

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1(@aredsoxfan1)
Reply to  FilmBuc
1 month ago

They had Shoyinka in early in the game spying on the QB and he completely whiffed on a third down scramble. Maybe poor play was part of the decision.

Horse
Horse(@horse)
1 month ago

I’m not seeing much value as to trading Jones. He has the same three problems since day one; can’t catch, catch block, can fumble at the worse times. would like to resign him, but pay him as a back up with incentives when he gets better, if ever. He’s average, that’s it and is the issue. Lenny is the focus as to RB signings in 2022.

DT25
DT25(@dt25)
Reply to  Horse
1 month ago

To say he has the same problems as day 1 is flat out false. He hasn’t dropped a single pass yet this season. His blocking wasn’t great for one game (one rep, specifically) but has improved since (apparently everyone blatantly ignores when he does pick up blitzes…and ironically doesn’t say a word about it when Gio misses 2 straight blitzes the very next game). His per-carry fumble rate is literally identical to damn near every top RB in the league. He averaged over 5 YPC last year…and averaged more per carry the more touches he got (exactly like Lenny this… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1(@aredsoxfan1)
Reply to  DT25
1 month ago

I disagree he hasn’t been given an opportunity. I think he’s had more than enough chances but comes up short. While I think he’s a decent player with above average skills, he has zero instincts for the game.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
Reply to  aredsoxfan1
1 month ago

Saying RoJo has “zero instincts for the game” sounds personal to me. He’s got something to be able to run for nearly 1000yds while sharing RB duties with playoff Lenny.

bucballer
bucballer(@bucballer)
1 month ago

First things first. RoJo will stay a Buc for at least this year. It takes a couple of RBs on todays NFL team. Playoff Lenny has played much better here recently. Although RoJo has shown some bursts here and there, since he is not getting the reps that Lenny is getting it’s hard to get in any rhythm. Thus, Lenny is outplaying RoJo. So, yes Lenny is playing well right now. As for AB out playing Evans and Godwin, I’ll just say that it’s nice to have the three headed monster that we do. It will take all three to… Read more »

DT25
DT25(@dt25)
Reply to  bucballer
1 month ago

Pretty much my thoughts. I’ll always be a RoJo stan but Lenny has been damn impressive the past few games and has every bit earned the role he has right now. Arguably he’s playing better than he has played in years, including during the playoffs last season. He’s running with power and breaking tackles, which ironically (for a guy his size) is something he’s been awful at throughout his career. We’ll see if he can keep it up, but for now roll with Lenny and use RoJo as the fresh legs late in the game. I actually liked how we… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by DT25
drdneast
drdneast(@drdneast)
1 month ago

AB, Godwin and Evans shouĺd call themseĺves the Krakens. You can bet the Bucs rushers wiĺl be coming after Winston. He starts throwing INT’S or fumbĺing when he gets presdure

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg