Well, you can’t win them all. The Bucs had their first loss of the season, falling to the Rams, 34-24, in Los Angeles. While there were plenty of mishaps in the game, there were some Tampa Bay players that had a positive impact, fighting to keep it close even when things weren’t going their way.
Here’s which Bucs stood out in the loss to the Rams.
QB Tom Brady
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Brady did his part to keep the Bucs in the game, completing 41-of-55 passes (74.5 percent) for 432 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Brady is now 68 yards away from becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, and that will come next week at New England on Sunday Night Football. He did a solid job avoiding some sacks, and scrambled for 14 yards. Unfortunately, Brady was the Bucs’ leading rusher as a result, and he did score a rushing touchdown on a 1-yard QB sneak.
WR Mike Evans
After a great game last week, Evans continued that again for this one. He had a team leading eight receptions for 106 yards and was making plays all over the field. Evans was particularly impactful getting yards after the catch, which hasn’t always been his best trait. Evans keeps stacking up big games, which is a great sign moving forward for a Tampa Bay offense that fell just six points shy of recording 30 points for a 10th straight game.
WR Chris Godwin
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it again. Godwin is the most consistent player on this team, and he once again proved that on Sunday. He made a couple of tough catches in traffic and was great with the ball in his hands after making the reception. Showing his versatility, Godwin was also used on a run play and scored the Bucs’ first touchdown of the afternoon. It was a big play for Tampa Bay, and also would have paid well if you read this week’s Betting The Bucs. Godwin’s stat line was six receptions for 74 yards and a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
RB Giovani Bernard
This is the Bernard that we’ve all wanted to see when he signed with the Bucs. Brady was able to dump the ball off to him and he made the most of his opportunities. He made a crucial play early on in the game where he caught a pass about seven yards short of the first down, but he worked his way and dove towards the marker to keep the Bucs’ drive going. Bernard also took a screen pass for another first down with a 32-yard catch-and-run when Tampa Bay was backed up on a first-and-20. Bernard kept the production going in the second half as Brady targeted him often, which included scoring a touchdown late in the game where he also hurt his knee. Hopefully he can recover because if the Bucs continue to utilize Bernard this way, he can do big things in this offense. Bernard finished the game with nine receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown.
OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka
Many were looking forward to the first start of the rookie outside linebackers’ career and he was making plays early. He began things with a hit on quarterback Matthew Stafford and then tipped a pass not long after. The Bucs’ pass rush struggled, but he was getting close a couple of times. Tryon-Shoyinka finished the game with two tackles and a pass breakup.
NT Vita Vea
Watching highlights of Vea manhandling blockers is one of the most enjoyable thing in the game of football. He was particularly great on one play right before the end of the third quarter where he stopped the run about three yards behind the line of scrimmage. He was also crucial on a pass rush where he altered the throw of Stafford, who was looking deep for DeSean Jackson on the play, causing an incompletion. The Rams eventually scored on the drive and Jackson played a big role in the game, but Vea was still able to have a role. He made two tackles.