It looked like the Bucs had a handle on things after leading 17-7 at the half over the Falcons, but once again the Bucs had a tough time putting a full game together, and were down by the time the third quarter started before falling 34-32 to Atlanta to close the season at 5-11.
Here were the most impressive Bucs players from today’s game. Take a look and see if you agree and add your thoughts in the comments section.
WR Mike Evans
The fifth-year wide receiver continued his best season in both his career and Bucs history. His first catch of the game for 19 yards broke the Bucs single-season record for receiving yards. That’s four records he’s either tied or broken this year.
On that same drive, he had another 19-yard reception, this one for a touchdown. Evans compiled 106 yards on six catches and a two touchdowns. It was another dominant performance in a career year for the Bucs best wide receiver in team history.
CB Brent Grimes
In what was probably his last game in the NFL, Grimes turned back the clock one more time, having three pass breakups in the first half, and doing a good job trying to stop Julio Jones. Those three pass breakups were as many as Grimes had all season. It may come as a surprise considering the year he’s had was less than desirable, but there’s no denying that Grimes played well on Sunday in most likely his final NFL game.
WR Chris Godwin
After having a bit of a slump over the past three games, Godwin burst back onto the scene in Sunday’s game. He looked like the Godwin that many have expected him to be, catching six passes for 114 yards, including a beautiful 30-yard touchdown catch that he made near the sideline while trying to remain in bounds. He also added another touchdown catch which gave the Bucs their final lead.
His teammate Mike Evans will get a lot of the publicity for his milestone achievement, but Godwin was just as important for the Bucs moving the ball. He proved that it should be no problem with him as the number two receiver, now that DeSean Jackson will likely be elsewhere next season.
QB Jameis Winston
It looks like Winston is finally starting to figure out the balance between being aggressive and protecting the football. Winston aired the ball out a bit more than normal, connecting on passes of 19, 19, and 30 in the game, and even threw a block on a running play. He was absolutely masterful conducting a drive with less than two minutes on the clock near the end of the second quarter, getting the Bucs to go on a four-play, 70-yard drive that took less than a minute.
The big play there was Winston throwing a 30-yard deep ball touchdown to Godwin. Winston has had his struggles with deep passes, but threw a perfect ball for the score on that play. He did throw an interception, but it should have been caught by Evans. While the Bucs went down in the fourth quarter, Winston continued to chug along to bring the team back. He continues to excel at his best when he’s on the move. Winston was 22-of-34 in the game for 345 yards and four touchdowns.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Pierre-Paul was part of what was the biggest play of the game at the time, helping the Bucs get back into it. Down 31-26, it was Pierre-Paul’s pressure on Matt Ryan that caused him to throw an interception to Andrew Adams, and just a few plays later took the lead again. Pierre-Paul also had a sack earlier in the game, putting a nice bow on an impressive first year in Tampa Bay. He continually played with high motor despite the circumstances of the Bucs win-loss record.