Looking back at Bucs’ win over Bears

by Gary Shelton on September 19, 2017 · 5 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Koetter wasn't satisfied with a 22-point win./JEFFREY S. KING

Koetter wasn't satisfied with a 22-point win./JEFFREY S. KING

Five observations about the Bucs' win over Chicago.

1. The run defense was superb. Coming into the game, perhaps Chicago's biggest strength was its running back combianation with Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard. Instead, Cohen and Howard managed only 20 yards on 16 plays. On 10 of their runs, Cohen and Howard were held for no gain or a loss.

2. Mike Evans was superb. Jameis Winston hit only 18 passes, but seven of them went to Evans. Of the remaining 11, three went to DeSean Jackson.

3. Kwon Alexander missed more than half of the game. In his place, Lavonte David had nine tackles and rookie linebacker Kendall Beckwith had five.

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Winston had a solid quarterback grade./EFFREY S. KING

Winston had a solid quarterback grade./EFFREY S. KING

4. Dalvin Cook is third in the NFL in rushing with 191 yards for the Vikings. The Bucs' defense will have to play well again.

5. Nick Folk hit three out of four kicks. Eat your heart out, Roberto Aguayo.

Game Balls

Offense: Mike Evans. Seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Defense: Lavonte David. Nine tackles, eight of them solos.

Special teams: Cameron Lynch. His fumble recovery on a punt set up the first touchdown by the Bucs.


Five reactions from Dirk Koetter in his game-after press conference:

1. (On demanding more from his team): “Like I said last night, when you play the perfect game then you can stop worrying about what you have to work on, but I haven’t seen it yet. Everything about yesterday was really good and an exciting way to start the season – a unique way to start the season based on the set of circumstances. But at the same time, that was just one game. I just think we all have a tendency to be way over top for the good or for the bad and reality is somewhere in the middle. Every game takes on its own life. You can’t go into a game expecting you’re going to get four turnovers in the first half. That’s not going to happen every week, so we better figure out a way to play better when we don’t get those.”

2. (On Noah Spence's knack for stripping the ball away from the quarterback: “There’s a handful of players in the league who are really good at that. [Jaguars defensive end] Calais Campbell is one. We are going to play one this week in [Vikings defensive end] Everson Griffen, who is another guy that’s got that unique ability to get the quarterback in his most vulnerable position and also get the ball out. I think, as I’ve said before, Noah’s best trait is his motor. He’s got a relentless motor, so he keeps coming and he won’t give up. On one of their best runs of the day – to the offensive right, defensive left – we were actually in 3-4 defense and Noah came off the back-side edge and ran all the way around the back side. That’s a play we got cut out of a gap and it could’ve been much bigger and Noah made a heck of a play, mainly because of his motor. Some guys just have a knack.”

3. (On the Bucs' pass rush): Quarterback hits are good. Quarterback hits are a good thing. You’ve got to believe that those had some impact on those turnovers. Our goal is to get one sack in every 14 attempts and we were nowhere close to that yesterday, but I don’t think anybody that watched that game would say that our rush didn’t affect the game. Sometimes a sack number by itself can not be that accurate.”

4. (On the play of guard J.R. Sweezy): “I thought he did a nice job. J.R. loves football and it shows up. It shows up in the way he plays out there. He competes hard to the whistle. It’s not always the prettiest thing, but there are plays where it’s late in the play and he is eight yards down field trying to get after his guy or get after a linebacker. He is going to bring a dimension to our team that can be contagious and [that] you hope other guys feed off of.”

5. (On his team's ability to handle 1-0): “That’s a good question. There’s points of emphasis every week based on what the situation of the game is and I think that’s already been brought up to the players, not by me, but I think it’s a legitimate concern. We went on the road and we got handled pretty good last year in Arizona. Now that shouldn’t have any carryover to this year and I would hope it wouldn’t, but we know Minnesota is a good football team. Coming off of a loss yesterday, with Coach Zimmer they are going to have their hair on fire. We are going into a hostile environment with a loud crowd and a dome stadium and it presents its own set of challenges. Going on the road is one of those.”

The grades

Quarterback: Winston has had bigger games. But he didn't have a turnover, and his rating of 91.5 was the 14th-best of his career. He'll be needed to do more in other games. Grade: B +.

The running backs: Jacquizz Rodgers had 67 yards, but the team averaged only 3.4 yards per carry. Grade: C.

The wide receivers: Start with Mike Evans, who was splendid. But Winston kept missing DeSean Jackson deep. That has to get better. Grade: B +.

The offensive line: Winston was sacked twice (for only 10 yards). For most of the day, he had plenty of time. Grade: C.

The defensive line: The Bucs had only one sack, but they pressured Mike Glennon a lot of the afternoon. Giving up 20 yards rushing is a good start. Grade: B +.

Linebackers: Kwon Alexander says he'll be fine. He better be. Right now, linebackers are the strength of this defense: Grade: A.

Defensive backs: The Bucs gave up to high a percentage of completions to Glennon, but they were never in danger deep. Add in a pick-six, and it was a good day. Grade: A-minus.

Special teams: Not the best day by Bryan Anger, but Nick Folk was solid. The Bucs had a takeaway on a punt. Grade: B+

Five other impressive openers

1. 1997: In 1996, the Bucs thought they were onto something. In the opener of the '97 season, they knew it for sure. Tampa Bay beat a strong San Francisco team, 13-6, to establish that things were going to be different.

2. 2003: The Bucs had won the Super Bowl the previous season, but they would have one more great night. Tampa Bay destroyed the Eagles, 17-0, in one of their finest games of the Jon Gruden era.

3.1987: Talk about getting the wrong idea. In Ray Perkins' first game, his Bucs waxed the Atlanta Falcons, 48-10. It went downhill from there.

4. 1979: The Bucs won their first opening game, and then they kept winning. The Bucs were 5-0 at one point, and completed their worst-to-first journey. They ended up losing to the Rams in the NFC Conference game.

5. 2015: Dirk Koetter won his first game with the Bucs as Jameis Winston threw four touchdown passes.

Vikings' Best 5

Minnesota's five all-time best  best players

1. John Randle.

2. Fran Tarkenton

3. Alan Page

4. Cris Carter (114 receptions in 25 games against the Bucs.)

5. Ron Yary

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