13 DEC 2015: during the NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
With so much on the line on Sunday, the Buccaneers let a golden opportunity slip through their hands and dropped their seventh game of the season to the Saints by a score of 24-17. Like head coach Lovie Smith said following the game, “No one played well enough.” But for the sake of consistency we will offer up the Most Impressive list from Sunday’s loss. Take a look at the players PewterReport.com thought had a good game and tell us what you think.
LB Lavonte David
At one point earlier last week, the Bucs weren’t sure David would even be able to play on Sunday due to an ankle injury suffered last Wednesday in practice. But Tampa Bay’s most recent, next-tax-bracket-player suited up and had a very good game, leading both teams in tackles, notching 13 takedowns to go along with two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. There were plenty of issues defensively on Sunday, but very few came from David who has played very well over the last month.
RB Doug Martin
The NFL Comeback Player of the Year, at least in our minds, struggled to find open run lanes at times early and once the Bucs fell behind 14-0 the staff seemed to forget Martin is a breakaway threat that can at the very least flip field position, if not score, at any point. Another reason to not abandon the run, despite being down, would be to keep Drew Brees and the Saints offense off the field with some sustained ball-controlled drives. Martin ran the ball just 11 times for 81 yards (7.4 avg.), with one reception for five yards and a touchdown. But just handing the ball to the second-leading rusher in the NFL 11 times is unacceptable unless he is hurt or your team is down by 30 points. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been tremendous for the most part this season, but like many Bucs on Sunday, didn’t have his best game.
RB Charles Sims
Charles Sims wasn’t very successful on the ground, but like Martin, he was given limited opportunities. Sims carried the ball just five times for 10 yards, but was effective out of the backfield as a receiver. Sims was targeted eight times and ended the game with six receptions for 64 yards, nearly doubling the output of Mike Evans, the second-leading receiver on the day for the Buccaneers.
LB Bruce Carter
While rookie Kwon Alexander has been very good in his rookie season prior to getting suspended for the final four games, he was still rookie and made plenty of rookie mistakes. Veteran Bruce Carter wasn’t perfect by any stretch on Sunday, but the drop off between Alexander and Carter was minimal, for this game at least. Carter finished the game with eight tackles, two for loss and an 11-yard sack. Unfortunately for the Bucs and Carter, a late game ankle injury could keep him on the sidelines against Todd Gurley and the Rams on Thursday night.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
There wasn’t a lot to like on either side of the ball, but even though Winston did not light it up, he did not lose the game for us and he still looks to be if not the Rookie of the year, pretty close.
I concur with your selections. Congratulations to Adam Humphries as well for catching his first NFL TD pass.
This young man is truly living his dream and given the chance can probably develop into the slot receiver the Bucs have sorely needed for the last infinite years.
I was Most Impressed with the Bucs fans who showed up due to, just an inkling, that the team is slowly turning the corner from Pitiful Avenue to Respectable Street. Not nearly as many Saints fans who no doubt are troubled over their own team’s woes. But according to JonnyG; how stupid are these rekindled Bucs fans for thinking, or at least wanting to believe, that the mighty Bucs are headed in the right direction. Yes, there are bumps in the road and the guy driving the bus might need to step on the accelerator. There are but 11 out of 32 teams with winning records. That tells me there a lot of mediocre teams who don’t have wins that don’t bear an asterisk; as if defeating another middle of the road team doesn’t get full credit. We are what we are a 6 win team like the majority of the league. For those fans who always want to put a “yea but” to disclaimer on the victories….. may the Highway to Hell be programmed on your GPS.
Scu- I’m touched you mention me in all your posts, but you like most fans only see wins and that’s all you want to see, the thing your being deceived about is or don’t want to see is the problems this team has, if we beat a 75 yr old Joe Ferguson at qb fans would be happy with the win and say a win is a win doesn’t matter who its a against. I guess when your use to losing you take a win against anyone you can, problem is when we actually do play a good team we will be exposed and all the joy and hope goes down the tubes and just like the song in the 90’s its “Back to life Back to reality” sorry if I told you how the magic trick is done, I won’t ruin it for you when we play the Mallets of the world next time just talk playoffs with your buddies, ha
We all see the weaknesses JonnyG. You don’t have some magic mirror on your wall. But I’m at least going to give credit where it’s due and not take anything away from what was rightfully earned any more than I’m adding wins that could have been. This year almost every team is hovering around 500. All teams play with injuries and some opponents may benefit by them. Works both ways.
I didn’t think PR would post this list after such a heartless, lethargic performance by all involved. There was no energy for almost the entire game. Although the defense actually performed up to (low) expectations, the offense was pretty pathetic. Can’t wait to look at the grades you posted.
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