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)