Week 4 in Raymond James Stadium didn’t see too many impressive Buccaneers during the 27-7 loss to the Broncos. From first-half interceptions setting Denver up in great field position, to a fumble in Broncos territory preventing Tampa Bay from closing a one-score game, it was a particularly rough outing for the offense.
Defensively, it all fell apart in the third quarter as they let up a 17-play drive that ate eight minutes to open the half – this after they missed an opportunity to intercept a pass before half and keep Denver from kicking a field goal to extend its lead to 17-7. And while the defense held Denver to three points on both drives, a 20-7 lead with 22 minutes left is good enough for the Super Bowl Champions, no matter who’s under center. At the end of the day, though, a few Bucs stood out so here’s the obligatory list of the “Most Impressive.”
DT CLINTON MCDONALD
Considering the Bucs were without DEs Jacquies Smith (IR) and Robert Ayers (foot) to start, and Gerald McCoy (calf) by the second quarter, McDonald’s eight-tackle, 1.5-sack game looks even more impressive. He started off hot, recording both sacks in the second quarter, and was one of the few players who looked ready to begin the second half. As one of the last remaining starters on a depleted D-Line, McDonald didn’t let up through four quarters.
DE WILL GHOLSTON
Gholston made back-to-back plays on the Broncos second drive, pressuring Trevor Siemian into an incompletion on second-down before coming off the edge to stop C.J. Anderson for no gain on third-and-1. The 6-foot-6 pro set the tone early, though the offense wasn’t able to capitalize on a solid defensive effort in the first half. Instead they set Denver up inside the 30-yard line for both eventual TDs in the first half. Gholston, playing more snaps in Ayers’ absence, finished with three tackles and half a sack.
P BRYAN ANGER
It was just one of those games. Putting a punter on the “Most Impressive” list doesn’t reflect well on the rest of the team and Sunday was no exception – but Anger continues to flip the field and get Tampa Bay out of jams, nonetheless. He pinned the Broncos inside the 25-yard line three times in the first half, with two going over 50 yards with great hang time. Anger also punted a long of 59 yards in the fourth quarter. On seven punts, Anger finished with a net average of 42 yards Sunday.
LB KWON ALEXANDER
For Kwon Alexander-standards, this wasn’t a great game by any means – but seven tackles and a sack separates you from the rest of the pack on a day like Sunday. The best thing the defense did in Week 4 was limit the run – as has been the case all season – and Alexander was there to capitalize on good penetration and help contain the Broncos backfield. Anderson, Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs combined for 83 yards on 29 carries.
Honorable Mention: Cameron Brate (three receptions for 40 yards on the lone TD drive); Adam Humphries (two punt returns in the first half, the first for 11 yards to the Bucs 26 and the second for 15 yards to the 50); Gerald McCoy (sack and a lot of pressure before getting injured in the second quarter).