Fitzmagic struck again – orchestrating a game-winning drive for the Bucs in the waning stages against Miami, as he was solid all over the field in relief of Jameis Winston. Fitzpatrick was kept clean on 29 of his 40 dropback attempts and completed 19-of-28 passes for 208 yards and both of his touchdowns. He may have seen just a 33.3 percent completion rate when under pressure (3-of-9) but he didn’t make a big enough mistake to put the Bucs in a hole (thank you to the non-safety call) as he kept the ball out of Miami defender’s hands with 0 interceptions under pressure.
Fitzpatrick saw great success putting the ball in the air, completing all four of his attempted deep passes (20+ yards) for 99 yards. He was also extremely sharp throwing the ball both down the middle of the field and to the intermediate (10-19 yard ranges). In between the numbers, Fitzpatrick completed 14-of-19 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, while at the intermediate range he connected on 8-of-16 passes for 119 yards and one of his touchdowns.
The Bucs were unable to muster much of a running game once again, and thus were not able to run out as much clock as they would have wanted to with a big lead late in the game. RB Doug Martin carried the ball 19 times but only gained 38 yards – 37 of which he gained AFTER first contact. In total, the Bucs gained 53 yards on the ground and had 45 yards after contact on the day, showing just how often they were hit in the backfield.
Mike Evans was targeted by Fitzpatrick 10 times in this one, marking the third time in four games that he has seen 10 targets. He brought down all five of which that were considered catchable, however accumulated just 6 yards after the catch showing little to no separation after bringing down his passes.
While Ali Marpet may have struggled on run blocks against Miami, he was the only Bucs offensive lineman to keep a clean sheet in pass protection on the team’s 44 pass plays. However, the real concerning factor for Bucs fans has to be the fact that on carries to either hole to Marpet’s sides, Bucs runners were forced to do much of the work, totaling four carries for 21 yards, 20 of which came after contact, showing how ineffective Marpet was at opening holes.
Week 11 Buccaneers Defensive Stats:
Gerald McCoy continues to dominate this season, registering six QB pressures and grading extremely well on both pass-rushing snaps, and against the run. His four stops in run defense were a team-high and he did so on only 16 run defense snaps.
Quiet, but stable, Robert Ayers has continued his strong season as well – bringing down another three QB pressures against Miami. Ayers also accumulated a stop in run defense and has now logged 47, 48 and 43 snaps over the past three games, without missing a single tackle in 10 total attempts.
LB Kwon Alexander rushed the passer just six times, but caused two hurries while also finishing second on the team with his four stops for a ‘win’ for the defense. Alexander also was great in coverage, despite what the box score might show. He was targeted 5 times, allowing four receptions but aside from a long one from Damien Williams, kept speedy Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry in check on the afternoon, even intercepting a pass targeted for Landry.
Rookie safety Justin Evans may have had the splash play with his interception, but had a lackluster performance on the whole against Miami. He missed three tackles in his eight tackle attempts and also allowed the long TD to Landry. On the night he was targeted 4 times, allowing 2 receptions for 75 yards with a TD and an INT for a 95.8 passer rating when targeted.
Without the services of Vernon Hargreaves, the Bucs secondary was limped through to the victory. Outside of the box score, headline-grabbing three interceptions, the Bucs as a unit allowed for 365 yards and almost blew a 13-point lead in the second half. Brent Grimes was targeted 5 times and allowed 3 receptions while Robert McClain was targeted 7 times and allowed 6 receptions for 95 yards.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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