Gaining just 290 yards isn’t normally the recipe for success in the NFL but on Sunday it was just enough for the Buccaneers to pick up win number three against the Falcons 23-20 in overtime. Below are the game grades for each individual unit following Sunday’s hard-fought win over Atlanta.

QUARTERBACK
Statistically speaking, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston didn’t have his best game of the season, but at the end of the day the former FSU star helped Tampa Bay notch their third win of the season, already one more than they had all of last year. Winston was without his starting tight end – again – but found a legitimate receiving threat in Cameron Brate who caught two passes , including Tampa Bay’s first touchdown, a 20-yard strike from Winston in the first half. Winston wasn’t perfect, but was clutch in overtime, helping Tampa Bay convert three first downs in the extra period. He did miss Adam Humphries on what would have been the game winner in overtime when he short armed his last pass of the afternoon into the turf. But overall, Winston used his arm (16-of-29, 177 yards and a passing TD) and legs (three carries for 24 yards and a rushing TD) on Sunday, to get the Bucs in the win column and rebound from a devastating loss to the Redskins the week before.
GRADE= B

RUNNING BACKS
The Falcons came into Sunday’s game with a plan to stop Doug Martin who was coming off two 100-yard games, and their plan was largely effective. Martin was held to 71 yards on the ground and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry. That doesn’t tell the whole story however, as the feisty Martin turned a number of runs that looked like they would be stopped for a loss, into positive yards. Martin added one reception for seven yards. Charles Sims didn’t fair any better, gaining 22 yards on six carries. Sims also added three receptions for 24 yards as well. Overall the Falcons, knowing the Bucs would be limited with the injuries to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Louis Murphy and Vincent Jackson, went all-out to stop the Bucs running game, and to his credit offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter didn’t abandon the run at any point, calling a balanced game (32 rushes, 29 passes).
GRADE= C+

WIDE RECEIVERS
After an outstanding performance against the Redskins the week before, many were hoping that receiver Mike Evans had returned to his rookie form. Unfortunately Evans looked more like the receiver from earlier this year against the Texans as opposed to the one from the Washington game. Evans has a handful of drops again, and despite playing part of the game against a backup cornerback, only managed three catches for 48 yards, although being targeted nine times. The good thing from Sunday, was Evans was able to draw three defensive pass interference calls which were huge, particularly the one in overtime. Adam Humphries had three catches for 14 yards and Donteea Dye added once catch for four yards.
GRADE= C-

OFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line didn’t have their best game of the season but did enough to help the Bucs defeat the Falcons. Rookies Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith were solid once again and at times it is easy to forget they are rookies. Not being noticed as an offensive lineman is strangely a good thing in the NFL. Logan Mankins did have one false start but was solid on the afternoon as was Gosder Cherilus, although he did have a holding penalty that negated a 20-yard run for running back Doug Martin. The Falcons brought pressure much of the game but the Bucs line held up for the most part, giving up just two sacks on the afternoon.
GRADE= C+

TIGHT ENDS
The Tampa Bay offense and Jameis Winston need Austin Seferian-Jenkins back as soon as possible, but his absence was absorbed a little easier with the play of Cameron Brate. The Harvard grad caught two Winston passes on Sunday, including the Bucs first touchdown on a 20-yard strike from his QB. Brandon Myers notched three catches as well, adding 32 yards to his season total. Luke Stocker dropped his only target but was used primarily has an additional blocker for the running game.
GRADE=B+

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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, the beach and family time.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 mark@pewterreport.com
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Mark; not bad. Go Bucs!

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

I know Horse You are one of My true Fans You say it just like I do.Even in the Pre-season game vs Cleve. I saw that great hit from Alexander Kwon He is the next H.Nickerson and the bucs are standing there ground GO BUCS vs Giants and the Cowboys.GO Bucs

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
5 years ago

Pretty fair assessment of things here. In terms of passing , it wasn’t Winston’s most accurate day as I think he was a bit amped. But made some damn clutch third down throws. Humpheries looked like he was open and exactly where he was supposed to be throughout the game and if Jameis had hit him it would’ve been a big day for him. Line played well enough with all of our weapons out to give jameis time to throw some deep balls. ALl in all it’s good to win, even though they didn’t play their best. That usually doesn’t… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
5 years ago

Honestly, I think it’s impossible for OLinemen to get a good grade here…what does a good game look like if not that one. Do they have to score the TDs themselves, or sub-in for the DLine…there’s only so much they can do…they aren’t going to be perfect, but they did a pretty nice job of creating a clean pocket all game long, giving JW time, and opening running lanes….not sure what more they could have done to get at least a B.

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

The offensive line must be doing something right.This past week, Pro Football Focus listed Ali Marpet as the best guard in the entire league. Marpet received a rating of +6.5 in Week 8, the best among all guards in the NFL. He was, by far, the NFL’s top guard in run-blocking with a rating of +5.7. The next highest-rated run-blocker was almost two points below at +4.1. (copied from Buccaneer.com)

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

I think the OLine is just doomed in this grading system…I think if they stone-walled every DLineman for the entire game, we ran for 250 yards, threw for 400 yards, scored 7 TDs (including a Tackle eligible TD to Smith), gave up zero sacks/hits/pressures…they might get a B-…because they probably would have received a flag or two…LOL.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

Ali might be my second favorite player on this team. That dude plays with an edge , which I love. Also love how you site your sources Mac, always astute you are.

76Buc
76Buc
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