The Bucs played their most complete game of the season as they beat up on the Dolphins at home with a 45-17 win. Tom Brady threw for five touchdowns – two each to Antonio Brown and Mike Evans – while the defense stepped it up with the pass rush, taking down Jacoby Brissett three times.
It was a blowout win for the Bucs, but there were still a couple of miscues out there. Here’s a list of the most disappointing Buccaneers.
OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
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It was great to see Pierre-Paul back on the field after missing the last three games with a shoulder injury. His presence is important to the Bucs defense, but he made some mistakes early on that hurt them. What was thought to be a nice pass break up on Miami’s first drive turned into an offsides penalty on him. The Dolphins got five yards and eventually kicked a field goal. On the next drive, Pierre-Paul was in coverage on Myles Gaskin when Miami scored their first touchdown of the game. Maybe there was miscommunication, but he didn’t get enough depth in his pass drop while covering Gaskin, who was running a wheel route. With his hand in a cast, Pierre-Paul also had a difficult time taking down Jacoby Brissett for a sack that would’ve prevented the Dolphins from scoring their second touchdown of the game in the third quarter. There were just little moments that built up to a less than an ideal game for Pierre-Paul’s return. He made three tackles on the afternoon.
OLB Anthony Nelson
Nelson doesn’t get too many snaps in the game compared to the other outside linebackers, so he has to capitalize on his opportunities. He had a shot at taking down Brissett during Miami’s opening drive in the second half and for whatever reason was not able to sack him. The Dolphins ultimately scored on that possession, but would have had to settle for a field goal if Nelson finished the job. It’s inexcusable that he didn’t record a sack on the play when the moment was there for him. He finished with zero tackles in the game.
CB Richard Sherman
It’s still a work in progress for Sherman, as he balances learning the playbook with getting in game shape. He allowed some important catches this afternoon, including one on the first drive where he missed tackling receiver Preston Williams, who then took the ball all the way inside the 10 on a 34-yard gain. Sherman’s biggest error, though, was getting called for a pass interference penalty in the end zone that set Miami up on the 1-yard line. The Dolphins scored two plays later. Sherman recorded three tackles and struggled in the Florida heat and humidity.
TE O.J. Howard
While Howard improved in the passing game with two receptions, he had a failed to block rookie edge rusher Jaelan Phillips that led to Brady getting sacked. Howard was provided with no help on the play and was just beaten on his one-on-one match-up. Not knowing how long Rob Gronkowski will be out, the Bucs are going to rely on Howard to pick up some of the slack when it comes to run blocking and in pass protection. Howard did not pass the test on this one. He finished with two catches for 19 yards.