Welcome to my weekly post-game column, where I’ll take a look at the moment(s) the game turned either in favor or against the Buccaneers. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at all the reasons the Bucs won or lost, but instead the key moment or two where things went north or south for the team.

The Game-Changer

Thank God the league is now allowing players to read Twitter on the sideline, otherwise we may never have had Week 10’s Game-Changer moment.

Once Ronald Jones saw this tweet, following his fumble on the first drive of the game, it was a wrap for the Panthers defense. Fully motivated, Jones’ 23 carries for 192 yards and a touchdown punctuated a big day for the Bucs offense, which rolled a weak Carolina defense en route to a 46-23 victory.

On the Bucs second play from scrimmage, Tom Brady hit Ronald Jones on an angle route across the middle of the field, but the Bucs third-year running back was stripped from behind by Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson. The Panthers recovered and marched to an early 7-0 lead on the short field.

For Jones, who has fumbled three times this season (one dropped handoff was credited to Tom Brady, but was Jones’ fault), dropped four passes, misplayed several others and been historically bad at the running back position in the passing game, it sure looked like it would be the final straw for a player who has seen his playing time decrease each of the past three weeks.

Week 7 – 31 snaps
Week 8 – 17 snaps
Week 9 – 16 snaps

Jones dropped a wide-open screen pass in Week 7, then sat while Leonard Fournette dominated the snaps. Then in Week 8, Jones’ early fumble helped give the Giants an early lead and nearly cost the team in a close game.

When poor ball security reared its’ ugly head again in Week 10, it seemed a foregone conclusion that head coach Bruce Arians’ would have seen enough. Instead, Arians’ had Jones in on the very next play, and rode him heavily on the way to a 23-point win.

The Game-Changer moment occurred midway through the third quarter, with the Bucs backed up at their own two-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Jones raced through a wide open A-gap thanks to key blocks from A.Q. Shipley and Ryan Jensen, then shook off free safety Tre Boston’s tackle attempt to race 98 yards to the end zone.

The longest run of Jones’ career, the splash play put the Bucs up 26-17, giving them their first comfortable lead of the game. From that point on the victory was never really in doubt, as the Bucs manhandled Carolina on both sides of the ball for the final quarter-and-a-half.

Most of Jones’ damage did come on one play, as his other 22 carries went for 94 yards, which is still a solid day. But it was his big play that broke the game wide open, putting the Bucs in position to control the rest of the contest and cruise to 7-3 heading into Week 11.

Share On Socials

About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
Subscribe
Notify of
21 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
BucRy
8 months ago

Hope y’all show some more love to Shipley today, he stepped up big time today!

Charlie
8 months ago

That’s a gnarly stat from ya boy Moo lol. Not good.

bucballer
8 months ago

Much better product today. Brady dropped a couple of absolute dimes today! Nice bounce back game today. We needed it! Next!

Pete Wood
8 months ago

I am happily enjoying my Sunday night dinner of crow. I was getting pretty pissed at the Bucs reliance on Jones, especially on first down. And then he showed there is a reason I am not an NFL coach.
Crow ain’t that bad.
Go Bucs!

BucWonder
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 months ago

This is one of the many reasons why your posts are worth reading. When you err you fess up. A very refreshing example for all of us.

Go Bucs!

danielob
Reply to  BucWonder
8 months ago

But I’m never wrong! I actually thought we would lose to the Panthers after our putrid effort against the saints. Loved that dime Brady threw to Godwin between 2 defenders, we know Lameis would probably have thrown the pick on that one.

Ron Potter
8 months ago

RoJo began heating up at the end of last year and now has even more big games this year than any other year. This play definitely was what turned the tide of this game, in addition to the JPP INT. We will need RoJo to continue his improvement, stay on the field longer by eliminating his TOs and be better in the pass game. When we play against the best NFL teams, we can’t afford to have a run game with no production, or even worse, TOs.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ron Potter
BucWonder
8 months ago

Rojo’s run was more than game changing. It was season changing.

Go Bucs!

spartan
8 months ago

I don’t want to tempt fate, but the thing with Jones is he seems to be constantly improving. A player who appears to learn from his mistakes and works on them, is much better than a player who thinks he knows it all IMO.

surferdudes
8 months ago

Well, it can’t be said we have no backs that can go the distance. Take it to the house, a home run. Rojo is one of only 4 NFL backs with a run 98 yards or more.

Ron Potter
Reply to  surferdudes
8 months ago

I remember watching the Tony Dorsett run against the Vikings and how rare this can be. Proud of RoJo!

Michael76
8 months ago

LMAO…Jon, that tweet looks more like what a biased fan would post, milli-seconds after the fumble

buddah
8 months ago

Hey Jon: That’s why you’re a reporter and not a coach. We bash the coaches constantly when things go bad, but tonight they deserve our praise. Changing the center; sticking with the run game; third-down play-calling. All positives today. He may have been a higher draft pick, but Fornette has not shown the kind of dynamism and grittiness as a runner than Jones has shown since the middle of last year. Still, I love you’re reporting, Jon and your candor.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  buddah
8 months ago

I believe Jon stance has always been that RoJo is a better runner than 4net. The only problem is that he can’t catch the ball worth a damn. Though when you are taking touchdowns 98 yards to the house it doesn’t really matter so much.

Last edited 8 months ago by PatrioticChief
GrayBalls
Reply to  buddah
8 months ago

The personnel adjustment on the line was more about changing the left guard than it was the center. Notice how Jensen was playing with Shipley to his right instead of Haeg to his left

Horse
8 months ago

I’m happy he shined!

Dman
8 months ago

Great for the Bucs, happy for RoJo. Reminded me of the run by Tony Dorsett against the Vikings.

PatrioticChief
8 months ago

My only disappointment is that he did not break 200 yards. Great bounce back game. RoJo has now gone for over 100+ yards 4 games this season iirc. Good stuff.

drdneast
8 months ago

It’s refreshing to see you admit to your own gaffes. Ledyard.
Let’s face it, Rojp is just not a good receiver but as a pure running back he is far and away the better pure runner than Fournette is who I believe you are not in love with either.
I just wish the Bucs would use him on a few more toss sweeps just to keep the defense honest.

DT25
8 months ago

Tbh, not seeing enough credit to the defender who punched the ball out on RoJo’s fumble. Jones has never had issues with fumbles and the two recent ones have both come on transitions as he was securing the ball after a catch and trying to make a play. And in both instances, the defender hit him with perfect form to punch the ball out. Those types of turnovers don’t bother me. Sometimes the defense makes a play…and it seems the coaching staff understood that and were ultimately rewarded for maintaining that confidence in him. Unfortunately for Jones, I don’t expect… Read more »

Ron Potter
Reply to  DT25
8 months ago

Well said.