The Bucs needed a big bounce back game after losing their season-opener to the San Francisco 49ers in week one and that’s exactly what they got with a hard-fought, 20-14 victory over a divisional foe in the Carolina Panthers.
The Bucs moved to 1-1 on the season and here are the most impressive performances from their victory on Thursday night.
OLB Shaq Barrett
Barret had his coming out party with the Bucs on Thursday, coming up with big sacks in some crucial moments. He finished the game with three sacks, two of them coming on back-to-back plays during a third quarter drive while Tampa Bay was clinging to a 10-9 lead.
Barrett also drew a holding call early in the fourth quarter on a third down pass rush, inevitably leading to a Carolina punt, and came flying off of the edge on fourth down later in the quarter that forced an incomplete pass from Cam Newton. He was a source of constant pressure, had four quarterback hits and forced Newton into multiple incomplete passes.
QB Jameis Winston
Winston needed a bounce back performance after his rough outing against the 49ers, and he had it against Carolina on Thursday night . Winston was under pressure often, but stood strong in the pocket, was able to escape at times and looked much more comfortable in his second game.
In the first half he completed a perfectly-placed pass to Mike Evans for a 41-yard gain before delivering a dime to Chris Godwin for a touchdown later in the drive. Throughout the night he also had a nice pass to Breshad Perriman in the end zone that wasn’t brought in and stood tall in his own end zone, dropping another well-placed ball to Godwin but the receiver couldn’t keep his feet in bounds.
Winston’s final line showed 16 completions on 25 attempts for 208 yards and a touchdown.
DE Anthony Nelson
Nelson suffered a knee injury that kept him out for a vast majority of training camp and the preseason, thus his snaps were limited in the team’s first game of the season.
Still in rotation as a backup, Nelson made his presence known when he was out there on Thursday with a pass breakup in the first quarter before forcing a fumble as Newton ran out of the pocket.
WR Chris Godwin Godwin had a heck of a night on Thursday. He hauled in his second touchdown reception of the season in the first half and he seemed to be everywhere throughout the rest of the game.
Godwin finished the game with eight receptions on nine targets for 121 yards and a touchdown.
RB Peyton Barber The Bucs’ running game has vastly improved throughout their first two games of 2019. In the team’s first game against the 49ers it was Ronald Jones who broke through with the best performance of his career, but on Thursday night it was Peyton Barber pounding the rock well.
Barber finished the game with 89 rushing yards on 23 carries, with his longest carry coming on a 16-yard touchdown run that gave Tampa Bay their lead back in the fourth quarter.
CB Vernon Hargreaves After a pick-six in the Bucs’ first game last Sunday, Hargreaves built on that performance with another big game as the whole defense stood strong, not allowing a touchdown to Carolina.
Hargreaves led the team with 12 total tackles and saved the game on the Panthers’ final play, an outside run to Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey. On fourth down, with less than a yard to go, the fourth-year defensive back ran down McCaffrey and forced him out of bounds just shy of the first down marker.