It was not the showing the Bucs players and coaches were hoping for going into their final game before Christmas against the Dallas Cowboys. But even in the 27-20 loss, there were some bright spots that deserve our attention.
These were our most impressive Buccaneers from the team’s Week 16 game against the Cowboys
WR Mike Evans
Evans once again led the Buccaneers in receiving yards and had what were likely the two biggest catches of the game. The first came on the first drive where he was able to get open for a 38-yard bomb that got them into field goal range, and the other was when he simply would not be denied scoring the final touchdown of the game.
Though those plays didn’t make the ultimate difference on the scoreboard, they were key for the Bucs attempt at success.
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WR Adam Humphries
Humphries led the Buccaneers with 10 catches this game for 79 yards. Those were some tough 10 catches, too. On more than one occasion, Humphries got leveled over the middle making grabs and yet was reliable through it all.
He was even impressive beyond his stat line. He’s having the best contract year he could have asked for, and he’s making it a tough case for the Bucs to move on from him, even if his price will be higher for his role and position.
DT Vita Vea
Vea was once again playing at a very high level, as has been the case every since he and general manager Jason Licht had their little talk.
He was a beast against the run, and even made an impact in the passing game with a sack and a tackle for loss. If this is the rookie year baseline for Vea, they should be happy with their selection of him moving forward.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
It may have been mostly in garbage time, but Rodgers was second on the team in catches on Sunday with seven for 55 yards. He also had a two-yard touchdown on the ground.
Rodgers has never been the flashy No. 1 guy in the Buccaneers running back room, but he has been steady when they have needed him. He’s been their go-to third down back in pass protection and in obvious passing situations, and every team needs one of those players. Though Rodgers’ role is limited, he does it well and it made a big difference on Sunday.
LB Lavonte David
David didn’t have as much of a stat-filled day as other games we’ve seen this season, but he did have a big impact. He recorded just five tackles, but two of them were tackles for loss. He also was a key reason why the Bucs were able to hold Ezekiel Elliott under 100 yards rushing, and held Dak Prescott to just two yards on the ground, too.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com
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