Once again the Bucs fell three points short in a big game, this week against the world champion Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 27-24. The Chiefs jumped out to a big lead but Tampa Bay rallied in the second half to make it close before dropping their second game in a row.
Below is our weekly list of the most impressive Bucs from Sunday.
T Donovan Smith
While I obviously haven’t been able to re-watch the game yet, on first glance it appears Smith had a solid outing. But even more impressive was the fact his status was very much up in the air with an ankle injury so severe, Smith has been wearing a boot all week, including showing up at the stadium in one on Sunday. The fact he gutted it out and battled through the pain and played as well as he did puts him at the top of this week’s most impressive list.
OLB Shaq Barrett
There was a Shaq Barrett sighting on Sunday at Raymond James and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Chiefs were driving to make the score 24-0 in the first half when Barrett’s strip-sack ignited the Bucs’ first score and kept them in the game. Who knows how bad the score might have got without the big play. Barrett finished the afternoon with three tackles, two quarterback hits, a sack and a forced fumble.
RB Ronald Jones II
One of the biggest Bucs’ mysteries this year is why Leonard Founrette ever sees the field other than to give Ronald Jones a breather occasionally. Instead the offense has packages for Fournette, which is puzzling as I have seen little that he does better than Jones other than a slight advantage in pass protection. Jones is the best pure runner on the team and on Sunday he proved that again, but also showed his capability as a receiver out of the backfield when he manages to hang onto the ball. Jones’s 37-yard catch-and-run ended with the third-year back in the end zone as he tight roped the sidelines after leaping over a would-be tackler. Jones only had nine carries on the afternoon, but put up 66 yards(7.3 avg.)
WR Chris Godwin
Imagine how well he might play without 10 pins in his index finger? Godwin isn’t a speed threat like Tyreek Hill or going to go high over a cornerback like teammate Mike Evans does on a regular basis, but all he does is produce while also doing the dirty work required of a slot receiver in a Bruce Arians offense. Godwin led the Bucs in receptions with eight (97 receiving yards) on Sunday, including the catch of the day as he stretched out to haul in a 44-yard Brady deep ball.
TE Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski had his most productive game in a Bucs uniform so far this season, hauling in a team-leading 106 yards on Sunday, including a team-best 48 yards on Sunday against the Chiefs.
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