The Buccaneers continued their mid-season turnaround with an impressive road win against a solid Philadelphia Eagles football team on Sunday, whipping their opponent 45-17 on a cool day not far from the Rocky Balboa statue. While it wasn’t quite an upset of Rocky-like proportions, it was still an unexpected dominating performance by the Buccaneers who now are .500 for the first time since 2012. Below are the grades for the offensive units. Take a look and see if you agree.
No one in the local media were more pro-Jameis Winston than PewterReport.com. But even as high as we were on the former FSU Heisman winner, we couldn’t have envisioned a five-touchdown, no-interception game in only his tenth start, and on the road in a hostile environment. And if you ask the Bucs front office and coaching staff, it is doubtful they would admit looking into the future and seeing Winston’s afternoon in Philadelphia that finished 19-of-29 for 246 yards and five touchdown passes. Winston was sharp all afternoon, decisive on his throws, and looking every bit the part of the franchise quarterback the Bucs have been looking for since 1976. GRADE= A+
The last couple weeks, teams were able to slow Doug Martin down and keep him under 100 yards rushing. On Sunday against the Eagles, Martin made up the lost yards over the previous two games, busting out with the second best rushing total in franchise history, carrying 27 times for 235 yards. Martin is just a good first half against Indianapolis from eclipsing a 1,000 yard season.
Charles Sims continued his development, running hard and confident, and being one of the better receiving threats out of the backfield since the days of James Wilder. Sims finished with 43 yards on 10 carries, and also added three catches for 26 yards including a highlight-reel type 14-yard reception for a score. GRADE= A+
Jameis Winston did a great job of distributing the ball on Sunday, finding six different players, including all four active wide receivers at least once. The Bucs receivers were sure handed on a chilly Philly afternoon, especially Mike Evans who has had seven drops over the previous two games. The 2014 first-round pick led the Bucs with 63 yards on four receptions and a score.
Vincent Jackson made his return from injury and also came up with four catches, and a score on a red zone slant from Winston. Having Jackson on the field opened things up for everyone. On Sunday Jackson finished with 56 yards on his four catches.
Rookie free agent Adam Humphries is getting more comfortable in the slot, and he had his most productive day of his young career, coming down with four receptions for 50 yards against Philadelphia.
Even seldom used receiver and special teams standout Russell Shepard got in on the action Sunday, hauling in a Winston pass for his first NFL touchdown. GRADE= A
The Bucs tight ends were an integral part of Sunday’s incredible rushing totals, helping to pave the way for Martin’s outstanding day, while also being good in pass protection, although Luke Stocker did get beat for a sack in the second quarter than led to a Winston fumble. fortunately for Tampa Bay, the Bucs recovered the lose football.
Cameron Brate continued to fill in nicely for the injured Austin Seferian-Jenkins, catching three balls for 47 yards and a touchdown. GRADE= A
When you a big reason for a record setting offensive performance, you can excuse a handful of penalties. The line wasn’t perfect, but held their own against a pretty good pass rushing Eagles defense. Guard Evan Smith and tackle Gosder Cherilus both had multiple penalties on Sunday, but none turned out to be drive-stalling mistakes, as the Bucs offense was able to overcome the miscues. you would be hard pressed to find many fans or media members who were concerned with the offensive line coming into the season, but this unit is not only very good, they actually are one of, if not the deepest group on the team. GRADE= A
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 email@example.com
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