CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03: Cameron Artis-Payne #34 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball during their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Sunday’s effort was not one the Bucs were looking for, as they completed a four-game losing streak to conclude the 2015 season. Momentum heading into the offseason is not in their favor, but it certainly seems as if they’ve found a franchise quarterback and have building blocks in place for the future. Of course, not many stood out in Week 17, but here are the few who made PewterReport.com’s list of Most Impressive following the 38-10 season-finale loss.
LB Lavonte David
Tampa Bay can at least take some solace in knowing its turnover drought won’t carry over into 2016, thanks in large part to David. The weakside linebacker, who tied for the team lead in tackles with 12, was there to capitalize on a great strip by Alterraun Verner in the first quarter, one that set the Bucs up at Carolina’s 45-yard line. David later showed he had no quit in him, stripping Brenton Bersin while trailing 31-10 in the third quarter. He also sacked Newton during the opening drive and helped to free Keith Tandy on the following third-down QB takedown. In short, Lavonte David did his part on Sunday, and was clearly the Bucs best player on defense.
WR Mike Evans
Four catches for 99 yards loses some of its luster when you’re ejected in the final minutes, but Evans was reliable – two third-and-long conversions – in a game that brings his receiving total to 1,206 yards in 2015. His emotions have been a real issue for the team at times and there’s no excuse for that (even if Josh Norman is building a reputation), but there’s no doubt the Bucs have their No. 1 wide receiver in place. From here, it’s about channeling emotions within the play and towards your opponent, not the official.
RB Charles Sims
With nine receptions, Sims proved to be Jameis Winston’s favorite target on Sunday. The second-year running back officially put himself over 500 yards on the ground and through the air this season, finishing with 529 rushing and 561 receiving. His best drive on Sunday was just before the half, catching three passes for 26 yards with help from center Joe Hawley on a couple screens. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they came up empty on their most impressive drive of the opening half.
LT Donovan Smith
The offensive line didn’t have a particularly good outing – nor did the entire offense – but Jameis Winston was kept relatively clean, only getting sacked twice on Sunday. The one sack Smith gave up in the third quarter to defensive end Mario Addison was after Winston held the ball a little too long and stepped into it. Tasked with edge rushers Addison, Jared Allen and Kony Ealy on one of the NFL’s best front fours, Smith held his own fairly well and continues to show promise at a crucial position.
Honorable Mention: Alterraun Verner (forced fumble), Bruce Carter (12 tackles), Russell Sheppard (immediate stop on third-quarter punt)
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Mike Evans? His “all about me” attitude sucks! He needs to stop whining to the Officials and get open. Donovan Smith caused a sack and couldn’t run on his side from the game I watched. Humphries, Dotson, and believe or not Winston wasn’t that bad because Brate slipped and fell down on the last interception. Just my thoughts here Eric.
Horse I agree Evans Is a frigging basket case. Most impressive? Got ejected for being an ass. Crazy. I don’t know if our receivers can’t run routes or what, but Winston was just holding the damn ball forever this game at times. Makes it hard to pass block for sure. Also I know this isn’t the most disappointing thread Rainey needs to go. With Sims and Martin what good is he if he can’t play special teams. Assuming they are smart and resign Martin…..
Well Zach – I agree that the OLine had a tough task today…a lot of obvious passing downs (a lot of WINSTON taking too long to throw)…but I saw our QB getting hit, and hit hard, often….way too often. Yes the stat line will say 2 sacks, but Winston’s bumps and bruises will say much more. If we accept that sort of play from the OLine, we won’t have our franchise a QB passing the ball for us much longer….sometimes the OLine is going to have a tough task and they will need to step it up too, they can’t just be good when playing with the lead against mediocre teams.
Look into know y’all down on mike but at least he cares and shows up in can’t say that for half of the roster
We are talking about the same Donovan Smith who had 2 holding calls in a row, right? Winston was under siege most of the day and bailed himself out by getting rid of balls in a hurry and moving like a Mexican jumping bean in the pocket. Bucs pass blocking is still below average, putting it politely.
Evans and Sefarian-Jenkins have the on-field maturity of a couple of 5-year-olds. Evans allowed Norman to get under his skin and get him ejected. One of these days we’re going to have people who can outsmart the opposition. Gotta keep Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin around, that’s for sure. Martin was trying to drag Evans away from the fight when Evans was losing it, again. Yet another sign in the real football world that quality football players cost real money, and relying exclusively on the draft to bring in bumper crops of athletic but meat-headed rookies is not a perfect plan at all.
The Bucs defense had a miserable day in coverage, but also came free on some blitzes for big time sacks. What about the guys who came up with those big plays?
I get that Evans needs to channel his emotions and refrain from his penchant for simulating a penalty flag being thrown, but I’m glad he has some piss and vinegar in his veins. Remember, he’s only 21 and really hasn’t played receiver that long. His skills are there. Like with most of us, the maturity will come. I’d add Keith Tandy and Jameis Winston to this list. Yes, he was inaccurate to start the game but the one interception was a result of Brate falling down.
Evans does not belong on this list. Being ejected, taking your team out of the red zone and pretty much ending the drive with 30 yards worth of penalties is FAR from impressive. If he focused more on looking each catch in instead of the refs we might have a 1500 yard receiver with a few more TDs. There’s a difference between playing mad and playing stupid, yesterday that was just stupid.
stlbucsfan, wow you mean we could have only been beaten 38-17 instead of 31-10.
The problem isn’t so much Evans as it is the refs who are becoming to involved in the game like baseball umpires.
There is a good time to get a penalty and a bad time to get a penalty. That was as good a time an any.
Besides, whoever heard of two personal foul penalties on the same play for 30 yards.
Did it really hurt his feelings that much to have the call questioned.
As Evans said, he has heard a lot worse with no penalty flag being thrown. That call is way to subjective.
Good post scubog.
I like Tandy, too.
Bobby, “fair catch” Rainey is gone baby gone.
Anyone who thinks Evans is a me first player really has either bad vision or a very poor cognitive process.
Liked your post as well Russmill. I agree with keeping Vjax and Martin. With Vjax, I wouldn’t cut him unless I knew I had a quality proven receiver with speed who could stretch the field which is something the Bucs lack.
Until then he stays.
is it a coincidence the four game skid started when we lost Vjax and Alexander at the same time. I don’t think so.
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