CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Getty Images
The Buccaneers and Panthers at times seemed like they were trying to keep their opponent in the game, but in the end Tampa Bay was able to pull off a 17-14 win in what could serve as a momentum boost for the rest of the season.
The six-game skid against the Panthers is over, thanks to a four-takeaway effort by the Bucs defense and 107 yards on the ground for the offense. Roberto Aguayo finally came through and all other kicks are water under the bridge, for now.
Read who made PewterReport.com’s list of “Most Impressive” and see if you agree.
RB JACQUIZZ RODGERS
Rodgers, starting for only the fifth time in his career, had his work cut out for him Monday night and he delivered for Tampa Bay. The 5-foot-6 back rushed for 101 yards on 30 carries and kept the Bucs game winning drive alive with a critical eight-yard reception on third-and-4. Rodgers ran tough and often in possibly the most run-heavy game of Dirk Koetter’s tenure in Tampa Bay, taking 10 carries on the opening drive and setting the pace on offense.
CB BRENT GRIMES
With 8:45 left in regulation and Carolina positioned at the Bucs 1-yard line, this was the Panthers’ game to lose and Grimes made sure they would. The 5-foot-10 corner read a pass to TE Greg Olsen – it was about time someone on the Bucs defense did – and put his ups on display, leaping and coming down with the ball for perhaps the play-of-the-game. With that INT, Grimes, signed away from Miami in the offseason, ended the Bucs cornerbacks’ 12-game interception drought dating back to last season. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Grimes finished the night with four tackles, as well.
WR MIKE EVANS
No QB has targeted his No. 1 WR more this season than Jameis Winston has targeted Mike Evans. While the former had a shaky night, to put it mildly, the latter turned in another nice outing, catching six passes for 89 yards and the Bucs only TD. Tampa Bay quickly responded to Carolina’s second score with a four-play, 75-yard drive capped off by Evans 26-yard TD and a two-point conversion to tie the game at 14 in the third quarter. It was the first time Tampa Bay seemed to take advantage of the Panther’s reeling secondary, and Winston and Evans were finally able to connect on a double-move. Evans also had an 11-yard reception on third-and-7 during the final drive, one of two critical conversions in the closing minute.
DT WILL GHOLSTON
Gholston came up huge for the Bucs in the fourth quarter, recovering a fumble by Derek Anderson at their own 44-yard line (forced by Davonte Lambert) and then moving the pile to stop Cameron Artis-Payne on third-and-2 with just over two minutes left. He had both tackles on first- and second-down, too, leading a defensive three-and-out and giving Tampa Bay the ball back for the game winning drive. Gholston, the only Week 1 starter along the D-Line active Monday, finished the night with five tackles and several key stops.
Lined up across one of the strongest front sevens in the NFL in Carolina, the Bucs five-man front opened running lanes for Jacquizz Rodgers throughout the night. Joe Hawley and Ali Marpet had their work cut out against the likes of DTs Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, but the Bucs interior lineman more than held their own Monday. Along with Kevin Pamphile, who Pro Football Focus graded out as one of the Bucs top performers, Hawley and Marpet could be seen pulling and getting to the second level to clear paths throughout the night and it led to 101 yards on the ground. Without Doug Martin, the offensive line still made the century mark possible.
Honorable Mention: Bradley McDougald (team-leading eight tackles), Davonte Lambert (forced fumble), Russell Shepard (heads-up fumble recovery on punt) and Daryl Smith (INT).
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
I think another Honorable Mention (at least) should go to Russell Shepard. Huge fumble recovery on a punt that flipped the field. Of course, that led to a missed FG, but it helped keep Carolina’s D on the field for longer and energized the Bucs (until they shot themselves in the foot three times starting with Gosder’s dumbass penalty). Either way, Shepard is always where he should be when he’s supposed to be there.
I hope nobody else gets hurt or we will have to bring in some players from Plant High School.
The defense as a whole impressed tonight. With only 1 starter on the DL and little to no pass rush, they stepped up. Especially the secondary! Grimes and Hargraves put in work against some big boys all night. The announcers kept pointing out the size difference all night but it was the size of the fight in the dog that won tonight!
Jaquizz Rogers is our new backup and I’m glad he performed so well. Sims will have a fight on his hands when he gets back to regain his #2 spot. I see Rogers as a more suitable replacement for Martin and Sims as a change of pace option.
I concur with 76Buc, the training staff needs to get our guys back on the field with the bye week coming up and keep them there.
1.) I was impressed with the handful of Bucs fans who no doubt were taking a ribbing from the overly confident Panther fans with each missed FG. He who laughs last laughs best!
2.) You could tell the D-line was getting gassed. I think that had something to do with the conservative game plan. I was impressed with their fight and resolve.
3.) I was impressed with the fight the Bucs put on national TV. Many times in the past the Bucs would have gone in the tank after each negative play. The O-line penalties on 3rd and short, roughing the punter, inability to cover Olsen time after time and of course the missed FG’s could have pt the good guys into a tailspin. But for whatever reason, they dug deep and got the victory. Impressive stuff the players who gutted it out on the D-line.
4.) I’m impressed with whoever had coverage on Carolina’s wideouts with virtually no pass rush to help did a great job. OK, Olsen caught a few, but the smallish CB’s did well against Benjamin and company.
5.) I’m impressed with those of you and the Pewter Report gang who stayed up past our bedtime to watch Roberto kick the game winner. Buenos Notchas amigo. Slept like a baby.
“caught a few” lol he had 190 yds on 9 receptions
Four cheers for the Bucs turnover margin tonight … no turnovers by the offense and four take-aways by the defense and special teams!
Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!
Four cheers also for Jameis Winston … this being another odd-numbered game this rather odd 2016 season, “Good Jameis” showed up tonight … 93.6 passer rating, 18 of 30 for 219 yards, 60% pass completion, 1 TD/0 INT, even recovered his own fumble. Aside from his stats, he did three really great things against CAR that we’ve all been wanting to see:
1) He started out strong on the first drive, without the crazy “why did he do THAT?” interception plays that have plagued him in the first quarters (for years, really .. going back to his FSU days)
2) He was clutch in driving the offense down at the end of the game
3) He exerted great leadership and confidence in Aguayo, who was yet again snake-bit as a Bucs kicker earlier in the game … helped Aguayo to focus and do his job when it counted most.
How does Jameis not get a “most impressive” mention this week?
I’m impressed with the job the men, and woman who got our power back after the hurricane. We survived Matty here in Melb Bch, and FPL was the best team this weekend getting us power by Saturday night in time for a weekend of football. Couldn’t cap it off better then with a win at Carolina. Impressive.
A win is a win, no matter how ugly it looks.
Unlike a lot of so called “experts,” especially on sports talk radio- are you listening JP Peterson – I expected the Panthers defense to rebound and play much better this week than they did against the Falcons.
For one thing they have way to much talent on that side of the ball not to. The Falcons humiliated them the week before and I knew they weren’t going to let that happen again on National TV.
But with three starters gone from the DL, I never expected our defense to play as well as they did. Although Olsen shredded us again as usual, at least this time he didn’t beat us. The same could be said for Derek Anderson who ha plenty of time in the pocket but found it more difficult to find his WR’s open because of the improved play and skill level of our CB’s.
The Bucs probably should have lost this game but found a way to win it. That’s what improving and good teams do.
There’s no way the Bucs win this game without Mike Smith. Despite the Bucs troubles on that side of the ball I have never said a bad word about Mike Smith bc I know he has the mind to figure it out and is too good a coach not to adjust. My issue was always that Lovie tried the same thing despite never getting the desired results. Smitty changed his scheme a bit, eliminated the safeties playing man coverage quite as much and called a hell of a game. We played hard and were in position when the plays came our way. No way Shepard gets that fumble if he isn’t hustling down the field, or that Lambert causes that fumble on Anderson if he isnt chasing the ball down the field. The effort was much better this week and were able to hold on despite the offenses’ continued efforts to lose the game. Coach Smith should be at the top of the most impressive list and it’s not even close.
Rodgers’ #s could’ve been even better if they weren’t so predictable on running on 1st down…glad to see Grimes hold onto one – a PBU would have still resulted in a FG-Huge…
Still many mental errors, but great effort to overcome it for the ‘W’!!! BIG division road win- enjoy the Bye Week all!
Positive (deep) thought: the performance of those no-names on the Dline in short yardage situations was as good as the Bucs have ever displayed (and yes that includes our hay-days). To describe it is at outstanding would be an understatement – they absolutely owned the Carolina Oline on each of those plays. Pass rush was as ghost-like as apparently Greg Olsen is to our defense (BTW, he is now averaging 75 yards per game against us over the last 4 seasons….anyone want to cover Greg Olsen???), but that run defense in short yardage…incredible display!
Negative (nancy) thought: yes Rodgers played well…particularly impressed by I) his ability to hold on to the ball (which never looked in doubt), and ii) he was always moving forward (no dancing shoes). BUT, (and I’ll be clear that this issue is not really about Rodgers, more about Koetter), he got 2/3 of his yards in the 1st quarter and only ran for 39 yards in the last 3 quarters combined. It was during those last 3 quarters that Koetter was his doing his best Mike Shula impersonation (does any one miss having that guy as our OC….I shudder at the memories)….did anyone not know that our very first play coming out of the locker room was going to be a run up the gut (what a perfect time that would have been for play-action to throw deep to Evans against 1-on-1 coverage by some rookie…anyway). The Koetter run on 3rd and 9 to try another (literal) flip of the coin field goal attempt…Shula-esque.
Dirk Koetter has taken a lot of criticism for his play calling, for “holding Jameis back”. I think Dirk wanted to make a very important point to Jameis, and he made it very well: “You cannot win games on your own; as the quarterback your most important job is to lead the offense and help your offensive teammates make plays.”
The results were obvious.
Jameis made zero INTs … Jameis was productive on his very first drive, which is almost unheard of for the “jumpy first quarter quarterback” that everybody’s been bitching about all season til yesterday. Jameis was still clutch and able to drive his team down for a second half touchdown and later on in the last drive of the game, drive his team down to where Aguayo had a short makeable kick, which he made (with encouragement from Jameis).
I think Jameis got the point very well.
This does not mean that this is how Dirk is going to playcall the rest of this season. Dirk loves big plays, he loves Jameis’ ability to chuck it down the field to his big wide receivers, and he loves Jameis’ ability to make something out of busted plays with his feet.
But Dirk had to make his point to Jameis, and he did. Dirk is not going to tolerate Jameis not figuring out his primary job as quarterback, and the resulting give-aways from his over-heroic play that were killing us this season. Without those giveaways, the Bucs could easily have been at 4-1 rather than 2-3, and alone in first place atop the NFC South.
If Jameis continues to take this lesson to heart the rest of the season, we could still contend … particularly if we get our defense healthy again after the bye.
I appreciate that perspective @naplesfan
Anybody want to explain why Bucs had all 3 QBs active for the first time this season? Message? Not being cute here. Honestly did not understand why!
they ran out of players at all of the other positions…..?
Most likely they were being held in reserve to go in and play on the D-line.
One of them was going to play DT.
This game was won by the players, but Dirk’s game plan should not be overlooked. Run the ball and stop the run. Reduce high risk-taking plays. Get into the fourth quarter with a chance to win. Wear down the defense. Carolina was gassed on that last drive. Jamies hit two huge third down passes and Dirk was not going to allow them to have the last drive to win (seeing as what they did in the last 39 seconds of the first half. No it was not pretty, but it was a well calculated plan that was carried out just well enough to win and stop the bleeding. But let’s not forget that the Buccaneers were playing with two defensive lineman from the practice squad and another picked off the street during the week. But this is today’s NFL, a war of attrition. No, we are not a good team–yet. And neither is Carolina. But nearly all realists thought that 2-3 before the bye week would be about the most we could expect. Sure, we should have beaten the Rams–but we never do. Moreover, that game and the one against Denver were good learning experiences for Dirk. He was cold and calculated especially on the last drive. I remember in the 2015 Super Bowl thinking that Belichick was crazy for not calling timeouts when Seattle was about the score the winning touchdown, but he proved right and I proved wrong. I didn’t initially get why Dirk started the last drive with two runs but then when Winston hit the third down play, I felt somehow we were going to win. And yes, Rodgers was gassed but that one 12 yard run on the last series really was a knockout blow. This team on this night played with gusto and heart and passion. They wanted it more and they got it.
Brent Grimes game sealing int, J Rogers getting tough yardage, Shepard fumble recovery, Evans being the only threat in passing game and just getting a much needed win although ugly its a win
Good job Zach. We got the win, I’m happy. There’s a strong reason why I am a fan and not a Coach as I would have done alot les running and more passing. Go Bucs!
This is my kind of ball. Run it and stop the run.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to see a great TD reception, but I love good runs.
Rodgers move up some in my book. Grinding out those yards was impressive.
I’m putting Winston on this list just for not doing anything boneheaded. Zero int’s, well done Jaboo.
Also hoping that Bobby A gets some mojo back after winning the game.
Looking at Koetters game plan, he was ultra conservative and cautious. That’s what he should be doing. We can air it out when we get the fundamentals down pat.
No obvious boneheaded calls from Koetter gets my hopes up too.
Mike Smith called a good defensive game too. With a piecemeal D line and nonexistent pass rush and Greg Olsen tearing us up, he kept us in the game.
It was ugly as hell, but I will take it.
GO BUCS. LOV YA
Koetter gets a shout for settling this team down to the solid basics. Some of the play calling was brutally bold. And it worked. Whew.. And it was good to see actually. Fancy superman stuff doesn’t necessarily win games. It was really great to see that turnover ratio in our favor. I hope the Bucs can settle down and play more “boring” football that wins games. Once they have boring down THEN maybe add a fancy thing on top of the boring fundamentals.
I think “boring” is the way to go for Jameis for a while. It worked for Cam last year. You can say it worked for Peyton as well. Eventually Jameis you’ll get faster at your decision making. But at this point, not causing your self emotional damage from coughing up the ball is very important for you long term.
I would love to see the Bucs D get that old takeaway mentality back for good. I felt a sense of it last night. Maybe they learned a thing from Talib last week.
Aguayo is just going to have to sweat this out of his system. If he goes THROUGH it (which he may have broken through last night) he will be great. That’s right brother – just “hit it” like you said.
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