It wasn’t easy, but the Buccaneers managed to hold off a pesky Falcons team to get their 11th win of the season and secure the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs.

Below is a list of this week’s most impressive Buccaneers in the 44-27 win.

QB Tom Brady
Brady has been one of the best December/January quarterbacks in NFL history, and he lived up to that in 2020 with magnificent play since the team’s bye week. On Sunday against the Falcons, Brady was nearly flawless, throwing for 399 yards on 26-of-41 passing with four touchdowns and one interception that wasn’t his fault as wide receiver Scotty Miller dropped a ball that should have been caught. Brady has been everything the Buccaneers could have asked for last March when he was signed – and maybe even more.

WR Antonio Brown
When Mike Evans went down with an apparent knee injury, Tampa Bay and Brady turned to Brown to pick up the slack, and boy did he ever. Brown had his best game as a Buccaneer, catching 11 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the criticism from some for adding Brown to the team’s roster midseason, general manager Jason Licht is looking like a genius for picking up the troubled, but talented wide receiver.

WR Chris Godwin
Like Brown, the Bucs had to count on Chris Godwin after Evans went down in the first quarter. Godwin was able to show his talent when given the targets (7), notching five receptions for 133 yards and two scores. While Godwin hasn’t had the numbers he produced in 2019, he may have had an even better season with his dependability and toughness battling injuries and doing a lot of the dirty work that sometimes goes unnoticed.

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
What a difference in two games. Murphy-Bunting was absolutely abused three weeks ago in a narrow win at Atlanta, but came back on Sunday and played as well as he has all season. Murphy-Bunting was solid in coverage for most of the afternoon, but also very good in run support totaling five tackles, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one recovery.

LB Lavonte David
Without linebacker Devin White in the starting lineup, David had to pick up the slack and ended the game with eight tackles, good for second on the team, and also added a tackle-for-loss and a forced fumble.

OC Byron Leftwich
When an offense doesn’t punt a single time in a game, you know things were going right. Leftwich was superb with his play-calling on Sunday, and saw the Buccaneers roll up an impressive 485 total yards. The Buccaneers scored on every possession except the Miller drop-turned-interception and the kneel-down series to end the game.

Honorable Mentions: RB Ronald Jones (12 carries, 78 yards and one touchdown), K Ryan Succop (5/5 on XPs, 3/3 on FGs), LB Kevin Minter (9 tackles)

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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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PatrioticChief
6 months ago

I do think BL called a good game overall but that video that caught Brady saying “*expletive* stupid *expletive* play!” on one of his throw away’s was still pretty funny.
Brady is not a particularly nice person once he takes the field.

Last edited 6 months ago by PatrioticChief
chefboho
Reply to  PatrioticChief
6 months ago

Lol! I heard that too. This guy is a damn warrior and expects perfection from everyone. Even the coaches. Brady will end up going down as the best free agent pick up in history for this franchise and maybe NFL history at this point. If this defense can step up at all and at least play average, then this team has as good of a shot as any winning the Super Bowl. This entire offensive unit is catching the flow and damn to they look unstoppable, even without Evans. Let’s hope it’s not too serious. Go Bucs!

PatrioticChief
Reply to  chefboho
6 months ago

QoC and losing Evans will be the big beef. I still think this team has a ton to prove but you don’t pick who you play and offensively they have dominated. At the end of the day you have to beat really good teams. Personally, not convinced the Bucs are there. But I don’t think its implausible to think they could go on a run.

Dave
Reply to  PatrioticChief
6 months ago

I wonder how many times those words have come out of Brady’s mouth this year about BL’s playcalling lol. I’m sure that wasn’t the first time he’s said that

bucballer
Reply to  Dave
6 months ago

No shit! Like right Dave! That shit was funny…if I could read his lips I’m sure many could/would. That’s the perfection he demands on every play. Quite a year he had. Started off by saying WTF and ended up just saying follow me guys. His intensity and desire for perfection on each and every play is why he is the GOAT with 7 rings… what? U don’t think I know he only has six? Full speed ahead to number seven Buc fans!

Dave
Reply to  bucballer
6 months ago

He does man. That’s what makes him great. And as bad as our defense is, and as much as I don’t have faith in our coaching staff at all…I absolutely think we have a chance with Brady. The Pats/Brady have won SB’s with teams worse than we have. And Brady has made it to the SB with teams MUCH worse than this team. If the defense can just play average, we have a chance. There’s no QB in the league id rather have in the playoffs than Brady. We need our defense to step up in a major way though.… Read more »

Spitfire
6 months ago

I have a feeling that our receivers catch Brady’s balls better than Winston for a couple reasons. We always had so many dropped balls with Winston it seems like Brady throws a better paced ball but the biggest factor is I think the receivers just have way more confidence that the ball will be where it needs to be and they can get out of their head and just play ball instead of having to worry about also making up for bad ball placement, just like Howard was saying at the start of the year. So many records fell this… Read more »

PatrioticChief
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

Bucs still 6th in the NFL in drops but I know the backs count for a decent chunk of those. Fournette did have one good catch and run today though. Probably his highlight for the day.

bucballer
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

I agree! This team is getting hot and coming together at just the right time! Winning four in a row! The scary thing is that I believe that the Buc offense will get even better. They r learning to play as a team and each individual player is learning that he only needs to play his position and let his teammates play theirs. If every player can ask himself on every play… what can I do to affect THIS play. Now ur on to something special. With Brady at the helm, a SuperBowl birth is not so crazy… Go Bucs!

Bucco-Bruce
6 months ago

I wished they would have given RoJo the opportunity to get to 1000 yards!! It’s our defense that I’m mostly concerned about!! It’s hard to always match TD for TD against playoff teams. Go Bucs!!

Buc stops here
6 months ago

Atlanta’s pass defense announced at the start of the game – 31st in the league. So the Bucs should and did exploit that. If they play Washington next week it will be much, much harder. Washington’s pass defense is #1 in the league in most measures, Bucs believe it or not are #2. So I expect that game to be a slug fest and whoever can run the ball better will win. Fortunately, if the Bucs get their defensive starters back they do have the #1 run defense.

thegeebo
6 months ago

This was easily the best game Leftwich has called all year, and what we should have been seeing. I didn’t yell at my TV even once for what I call the “Leftwich Special”, which is a first down HB dive that goes for little to no gain. Instead, he used more first down passing and play action. It kept Atlanta completely off guard. Aggressive playcalling, they had no answers for all our weapons. I hope BL stays aggressive and utilizes all our weapons in a way that keeps defenses off balance. Playoffs time baby!!! GO BUCS!!!

scubog
6 months ago

Ryan Succop only makes “Honorable Mention”? I’ll put the entire offensive line on the Most Impressive list for giving Tom Brady all the time he needed and opening some holes for RoJo. Antoine Winfield Jr. had another good game. Bucs fans attending the game were “loud and proud”. Too bad more couldn’t be there.