Tampa Bay saved its best for last, and turned in its most impressive first half performance of the season in a 23-20 loss against New Orleans, which occurred with mostly backups in the game as the team was gunning for the number one overall draft pick. The Bucs offense was on fire, converting 8-of-11 on third downs to help the team jump out to a 20-7 lead at halftime before fizzling out in the second half as it amassed a paltry 32 yards.
MOST IMPRESSIVE BUCCANEERS VS. SAINTS
RB Doug Martin
Martin topped the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, finishing with 108 yards on 19 carries (5.7 avg.) He had 92 yards on 12 carries in the first half, including a 45-yard dash in the second quarter to set up touchdown and help the Bucs build a 20-7 lead. Martin spearheaded Tampa Bay’s ground game, which rushed for a season-high 183 yards.
RB Charles Sims
Sims had the most productive day of his rookie season, rushing for 69 yards on 18 carries (3.8 avg.). Sims had 50 yards on 10 carries by halftime, including a career-long 20-yarder in the second quarter and scored his first NFL touchdown. Sims also caught one pass for six yards.
WR Mike Evans
The rookie wide receiver went over the 1,000-yard mark with his first catch of the game – an 8-yard grab on the game’s first play. Evans became the second 1,000-yard rookie receiver in Tampa Bay history (Michael Clayton, 2004) and became a part of Bucs history as he and Vincent Jackson became the first duo to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the same year. He also caught a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Bucs a 10-0 lead, and finished the game with five catches for 54 yards. That score set a franchise record with 12 receiving touchdowns, which is a Bucs rookie record as well as a team record. Evans sat out the second half.
WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson only had one catch – an 11-yarder on the second play of the game – before a groin injury sidelined him for the rest of the game. But that catch gave Jackson 1,002 yards on the season and helped him set two records. Jackson and rookie receiver Mike Evans both passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the year, which is the first time that happened in franchise history. Jackson also tied Joey Galloway’s record of three straight 1,000-yard seasons (2005-07), as he has had 1,000 yards in each year since arriving in Tampa Bay in 2012.
S Bradley McDougald
McDougald did a great job covering tight end Jimmy Graham, limiting the Pro Bowler to six catches for 54 yards with a long gain of 14 yards. He also recorded his first career interception against Drew Brees in the third quarter and finished with four tackles.
S Keith Tandy
Tandy saw action in the second half, rotating with Dashon Goldson at free safety and he recorded his first interception of the season in the third quarter at the goal line. Tandy’s interception was the fourth of his career, and the third pick of Drew Brees on Sunday. Tandy finished with two tackles.
K Patrick Murray
The Buccaneers rookie kicker connected on both of his field goals today, connecting from 39 and 27 yards. Murray has now made 20-of-26 field goals on the season (84.6 percent), including his last 13 to end the season.
Bucs Offensive Line
Led by left tackle Demar Dotson and center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who both played exceptionally well in the running game as Tampa Bay rushed for a season-high 183 yards, the offensive line played pretty well despite its lack of talent in certain areas and its shortcomings. The line did give up three sacks, including a safety to Saints linebacker Junior Galette at the end of the game, but should be applauded for a solid effort in the ground game.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
Every time Lovie opens his mouth, it makes me want to throw up. Talk about uninspiring. Accepting of failure. Almost indifferent. I hope the Glazers will blow him and Licht out if we suffer from poor drafting, free agency, coaching and game day management again next year. But they’d be left paying three head coaches in 2016(!) so we’re probably stuck with him until ’17.
What’s up? Not dogging Dougie today?
Needing a loss for the #1 pick, Martin picked a good time to come out of witness protection!!
Agree with the individual Impressives. I’m not sure the OL deserved it; where were they in the 2nd half?
I agree with this list.
I was also impressed with Akeem Spence and Clinton McDonald for their stellar play inside. As usual I was impressed with my fellow fans in the stands who cheered on the Bucs but, like me, satisfied with the reward of eventual outcome. Saints fans knew that for nearly 55 minutes they took a butt whipping and only our focus on player evaluations allowed them to pull out the victory. Best game plan of the season.
Forgot to mention Luke Stocker. His blocking was fantastic. Really blew up a couple people.
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