Vikings RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were flying high after their dominating 29-7 win over the Chicago Bears. However, that time in a the clouds was a short flight thanks to the 34-17 beating they took up in Minnesota against the Vikings on Sunday.
The Vikings received the opening kickoff, and from the first snap on, they never lost control of the game – and, in fact, had a death grip on it for most of the game. After a few carries for running back Dalvin Cook, which got the ball rolling, back up quarterback Case Keenum connected wth wide receiver Adam Thielen for a 45-yard pass that set up a touchdown drive for the Vikings.
The Buccaneers responded well in their first drive with three first down passes to three different receivers, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, but ultimately could not punch it in for the tie – perhaps due to a stagnant rushing attack – and were only able to get three.
After a pair of punts for both teams, the Vikings really started their attack on the scoreboard. Scarce pass rush left the Bucs cornerbacks, who were without their No. 1 corner, Brent Grimes, vulnerable. Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith were left out to dry and both Thielen and fellow Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs had field days on them. The Vikings had long passes of 49 yards and 56 yards, and plenty of long first down throws in between. Diggs and Thielen combined for nine catches for 173 yards in first half.
The Buccaneers had trouble answering them without a rushing attack. Mike Evans was in a constant battle with Vikings No. 1 cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, but he was still getting the better of him most of the time, though Rhodes had his moments, too. But, the moment that really killed the Bucs chances was when the team was driving into Minnesota territory, and Winston under threw an open Jackson in the end zone which was picked off by Trae Waynes.
At that moment, it seemed like all the wind was sucked out of their sails and the half ended with a 21-3 lead for Minnesota.
Keenum and Diggs opened up the second half (after a three and out from the Bucs) with that 59-yard bomb which extended the Vikings’ lead to 28-3.
After a pair of touchdowns on their next two drives, first to Cam Brate, the to DeSean Jackson, the Bucs started to get their momentum back while Minnesota could only manage a field goal in betwen. With the score at 31-17 entering the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers defense held the Vikings to their first three and out of the day. With the offense back on the field, after a nice first down pass to Humphries, Winston and Jackson were not on the same page once again which led to Winston second interception of the game. As if that wasn’t the killer, the Bucs got the ball back with a slim chance and Winston again threw and interception in the end zone.
The staples of the game were what let the Bucs down on Sunday. On defense, there was no pass rush for most of the game. The lack of pressure form the front four forced defensive coordinator Mike Smith to send extra blitzes. This lets the defensive backs vulnerable and therefore cooked for much of the game. What was most crushing, however, was Vernon Hargreaves, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David all going out with injuries during the game. With the injuries they were already battling going into the week, they can’t lose those guys.
On the offensive side, the Bucs had no running game. Jacquizz Rodgers led the team in carries and yards with five for 15. This team desperately misses Doug Martin, and clearly doesn’t trust the run game without him. That won’t win many football games.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum finished the game 25-for-33 with 369 yards and three touchdowns. Diggs finished the game with 173 yards on eight catches with two touchdowns and Thielen had 98 yards on five catches. Running back Dalvin Cook had 94 rushing yards on 26 carries with 72 receiving yards on five catches.
On offense for the Bucs, the lack of run game or ability to control the clock led to a bad ratio of time of possession. The two turnovers from Winston also proved to be costly, as the Bucs could not get turnovers of their own. Winston finished the game 28-for-40 for 328 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Jackson led the team in receiving yards with 84 on four catches and a touchdown. Evans was next with seven catches and 67 yards. Humphries had six catches for 68 yards, Godwin had three for 44, Howard had one for 12 and Brate had four catches 33 yards before leaving with what we assume will be announced as a concussion.
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 protected]
VH3 lit up! C Sims 3rd and 1 does not make it . I like coach K but some questionable play calls!
Wow, what a piece of garbage game that was. The injuries second game of year are staggering and ridiculous. We either have worst luck in world or should fire conditioning coaches.
Pass rush non existent, Winston was garbage, refs garbage, injuries garbage. Just garage all around really.
Bright side is get some guys healthy and beat Giants at home next week and we are 2-1.
Had this game marked as loss before season started but with Bradford out thought we could win.
That was hard to watch!
Here we go again 3 INT fumble, tomorrow we will see what the QB rating is for the “quote Franchise ” for 2 games most likely in the 60s.
Here come the Anti- jameis fans. Bet you couldn’t wait to run to the computer and complain. He played bad no doubt. Matt ryan had three picks today. Arron Rodgers just threw his second, a pick six. It’s one week, instead of trying to be that guy get behind your team. I hated the pick of Hargreaves, am I on here ranting about his play?
Last week the Steelers beat the Vikings, the Bucs beat the Bears, today the Bears beat the Steelers, the Vikings beat the Bucs. lol. #smallworld
Football is funny!
This game should be a wake up call for all of us. First- the defense is REALLY bad. Second- in spite of improved weapons, Winston is not YET, an ELITE QB. Third- The coaching must now be in question.
Normally we don’t agree but you hit the nail on the head. I’m not sure about coaching on this one. Once I saw the injury list before the game, I had a feeling we were screwed. It’s one week, hopefully we can take advantage of a beleaguered giants team.
Where is Tandy? Cotney was bad.
Wake up 1976. Cotney and his safety partner Cedric Brown are gone. Guess you meant Conte.
Sorry my mistake.
Seriously – to declare “the defense is really bad” on the basis of one game where nearly half the defensive starters didn’t even suit up due to injury and illness (the flue), and several more key starters got seriously banged up and had to leave the game?
You guys are like the most fair weather fans, as well as unserious football analysts around.
You may be right, but is it necessary to add an extra letter to the word flu?
Nope … LOL … wish this blog provided an edit function on the comments! I am not error free when a thought strikes me, and not just in spelling.
So how long are we going to pussy – foot around this off coverage play style not working? Diggs and Theilen were allowed to just run free again and again and toasted our guys, it wasn’t be cause there was “no linebacker help”. The only thing that slows guys like that down is messing up their timing, and momentum at the line. I just really, really, really don’t understand why guys like lovie and Mike Smith love off coverage so much. It has a proven record of case keen um destroying us against it, not to mention many other horrible games. Ugh so disgusted at our performance yet again.
No coverage plan works when more than half the defensive starters are sitting on the bench or not suited up by halftime.
Just want to comment on how poorly the Dolphins played today. On the road, they too were hot garbage. I think the hurricane scrambled both teams prep for the start of the season. Hopefully the Bucs will settle down at home next week. Most disappointing for me was Jameis. Will he ever not stare down receivers, and force balls to players who are well covered? It’s not a 50 50 ball when three guys are covering one. Come on Jameis, you need to be better.
How right you are. He is not even close to elite. Andy Dalton and Blake Bortles comparisons come to mind. Forget any other higher caliber companions. He has thrown up big stats in garbage time for 2 years. It’s time to start thinking about the fact we picked him way to hi with the number #1 overall pick.
First of all I hope L. David is okay. That was a tough injury to watch to that ankle.
Second of all, where is the pass rush? Where in God’s name is the pass rush? Third of all, one my biggest takeaways from training camp was the our CB’s were not playing well and nobody reacted. I brought it up again right before the season started when I said I was worried about the secondary and the next day we signed T.J. Ward. However, we still didn’t address our CB’s. I think what we witnessed today is what we can expect the rest of the season when we face WR’s with supreme size (Thelien) or speed (Diggs). We’re going to see off coverage by the CB’s with little blitzing like we saw today with the CB’s getting smoked.
Also, Sweeny sucked. Correction, Sweeny sucks. Did you guys see him get bulldozed into the lap of the QB on nearly back to back plays? Who pays former Seattle Seahawk O-linemen to come play for them? Finally, Winston played poorly but up and down play from week to week is his MO so I’m not surprised so I don’t have much emotion about it. My evaluation continues and I’ll have my final assessment at the end of the season.
What I watched today was timid CB play. Viking QB played exactly the way he has played twice before and it was like we had never seen him play. Whatever offensive and defensive schemes the Coaches pull out of their hats,it needs to be tossed against good teams. Once again, small DE’s get injured often because of their size; expect Spence and Smith injuries to be ongoing. Winston played very good in the first quarter, but as our defense failed to stop them, he took more chances which by now he should get it that he can’t do this. You can only take what they are willing to give you. Lets hope this was just a piss poor game loss and we get it together. Go Bucs!
Sorry Horse- you can’t Winston off the hook. We were driving and should have scored a TD to make the score 14-10. Instead he threw a HORRIBLE pass which was picked off. In third quarter he forced ball into triple coverage when we where driving. Vikings go down to score and it’s 28-3. Winston had a BIG part in us NOT staying in the game!
When you send the defence back on the field 3 extra times they get beat up and injuries, someday the Bucs will figure out the real problem, The Defence won games last year, hope they can get healthy today took toll on Defence
This was a dissappointing performance, no doubt about that. But surprising? Not when 4 of 11 starters don’t even suit up, and several more key starters (as in former Pro Bowlers and All Pros) leave the game due to injury. It looked iffy enough when it was just two defensive starters were listed as out before game start, but as soon as the announcers said four were out, I figured this was going to be a long afternoon.
I was surprised.that our run game was so ineffective, even with the fact that we were facing a team that sent five defensive players to last year’s Pro Bowl. We really need Doug Martin back … but I’m not sure that even he could have had a great game against the Vikings defense.
I was not surprised that Jameis got picked off three times. That’s been his tendency for years now.
It’s pretty clear that, despite all of the off-season/pre-season hype on our offensive skill players, this team is going to live or die by its defense. When the defense is at full strength and plays like it did last week, we’ll at least be in every game we play. When the defense is dependent upon backups at all three levels – line, linebackers, and backfield – as it was yesterday, we’ll be playing from behind, and that’s when Jameis throws his picks because he’s trying to carry the whole game on back.
IMO teams are going too make James beat them passing. Teams also did that with Farve early in his career.
Overreaction Monday. The sky has not fallen. Why did so many people believe that we were going to beat the Vikings? As I recall, we have never won a game when Alexander has been out of the lineup since he was drafted. He is the quarterback of the defense. And we don’t have decent backups at cornerback or on the defensive line, which was missing its key rotational run stuffer. The only way we were going to win this game was to outscore the Vikings. Now with David and perhaps Spence and McCoy out, that’s the way it’s going to be plain and simple. Take a deep breath. But the NFL is a crazy league. The Bears get stomped, are riddled with injuries and beat the Steelers, the team many prognosticators pick to be in the Super Bowl. Oakland gets trounced by the Redskins, Carolina by the Saints, the Broncos by the Bills, the Jets (yes the Jets) dominate the Dolphins, and the Patriots barely squeeze by Houston. Welcome to parity. This is now the “who wants it more today” league, and the Vikings clearly wanted it more. The Buccaneers nonverbals told you that in the first quarter. There’s been a lot of talk about the “locker room” this off season. We’ll see now what all that means. We still have to play the games. Our offense is healthy. If we put up 30 on the Giants, we can win that game, while some of our defensive players heal. But the Giants have dug a deep hole for themselves and I can’t remember us ever beating either of the Mannings. Jamies has got to realize that he has a deep receiving corps and stop feeding primarily one guy. We have to not give up on the run game and not fall behind by two scores.
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