Looking back on the Bucs’ victory over the 49ers

by Gary Shelton on November 27, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Jameis Winston runs with the ball./STEVEN MUNCIE

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Observation

1. Jameis Winston isn't perfect even when he's not throwing an interception. Lifetime, he is 9-11 in the games where he hasn't thrown a pick. But the Bucs are far more competitive when he's safer. It has to start there.

2. Oh, so that's what Vita Vea looks like. It took him long enough to show up for the team picture.

3. No, Rueben Foster wouldn't have made a difference Sunday. But Jimmy Garoppolo might have.

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4. The Bucs often aren't very smart very often, but they were last off-season when they looked for a star defensive end. They wouldn't pay for Robert Quinn (2 1/2 sacks for the Dolphins) or Michael Bennett (6 1/2 for the Eagles). Instead, they traded for Jason Pierre-Paul, who has more than both of them at 10 1/2.

5. Instead of moaning about chemistry, DeSean Jackson should worry about physics. Such as physically wrapping his hands around the ball he's thrown. Just a thought.

Koetter was in a better mood after winning./STEVEN MUNCIE


(From Dirk Koetter's Day-After Press Conference)

(On the thumb injury suffered by DeSean Jackson): “DeSean’s getting his thumb rechecked. He’s got it rechecked by our local hand guy today and I think he’s going to New York for a second opinion tomorrow. He made one really nice catch – that one right in front of our bench. The thing with DeSean yesterday is we just flat missed him five times. One of those was a tough over the top shot that Jameis [Winston] overthrew, but there [were] four other times that DeSean was open and we just missed him. Jameis, we didn’t miss very many throws yesterday, but the ones we did miss unfortunately were mostly to DeSean.”

(On Jameis Winston's day): “I thought he made really good decisions. He made decisive decisions. He didn’t hold it too long and he didn’t wait for plays to develop that might happen as time went on. He took the sure thing when it was there. Then he also did an excellent job on scramble plays – making decisions outside the pocket – whether to throw or run.”

(On the play of the defensive line): “You know what I thought one of the biggest keys in that game was is we really hit (Nick) Mullens a lot in that first half. We’re always talking to our guys about that how that leads to errant throws. We did get the two interceptions in the second half late, but there (were) like three or four other balls that were those balls that were it was kind of wobbling around. The one where Carl (Nassib) hit him and they called it an incomplete pass, we thought maybe that was closer to either a grounding call or a fumble. That’s not the point. The point is that those guys were getting there and they were hitting the quarterback."

(On safety Jordan Whitehead): “I think officially they had him for 10 solo, one assisted. He was, when they were checking it down there at the end, Jordan was like getting all like they were completing balls. I was going when he came off I said, ‘Hey man just look at it this way, you’re upping your tackle total. They’re throwing six-yard routes down three scores and you’re just going and tackling them. You’re padding your stats.’ I thought Jordan played well overall. You know, we played a lot of man coverage, especially in the first half when we were in base defense against their 21 personnel. Jordan, not only was he down in the box as a run player — he was the primary guy covering (George) Kittle and I thought he really stayed close to Kittle for the most part. At least three times that I can remember when they were running those against the grain boots, he was right there.”

(On how guard Alex Kappa looked in his first game of the season): “Like a guy getting his first NFL snaps. Effort, fine, toughness, fine, but he’s been doing a good job in practice. Alex has been coming on — there’s no question about that. The first time you’re going against real guys going full speed is just a little bit of an eye opener. We’ll see how it goes going forward, but it was good to get him out there that’s for sure.”

Jason Pierre-Paul looks to sack Mullens./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 of the Best Takes

"While not consistently accurate, Jameis Winston played well today, especially under pressure. He made a number of excellent decisions and throws while on the move, and his only turnover-worthy throw of the day was at least partially the fault of his receiver for getting beat on his route."

-- Pro Football Focus

"Quarterback Nick Mullens came back to earth in his first start away from Levi’s Stadium, and his hold on the starting gig over C.J. Beathard should loosen heading into next weekend’s game in Seattle. Mullens in the first half had just 45 yards on four completions against Tampa Bay’s 28th-ranked pass defense. He finished with 221 yards (with 121 through three quarters) and two late interceptions, the second and third for the Buccaneers this season."

-- Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee

"Quarterback Nick Mullens, whose second career start Nov. 12 fell short of his sensational debut 11 days earlier, continued tumbling back to earth Sunday in a 27-9 loss to the Buccaneers.

In his first road start, the 2017 undrafted free agent completed 18 of 32 passes for 221 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. After not taking a sack in his first two starts, Mullens was dropped four times.

“I don’t think he played very well, just looking at some of our situations, but that wasn’t all on him,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “No one played very well, especially in the passing game.”

-- Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle

"Neither coach Kyle Shanahan nor his players blamed Sunday’s 27-9 loss on the potential distraction of Reuben Foster’s domestic-violence arrest and subsequent release.

It was, however, a talking point before and after the game for obvious reasons, the least of which was how nothing compelling occurred on the field in the 49ers’ ninth loss in 11 games this season.

Left tackle Joe Staley best summed up the team’s conflicted mood: “I’ve always liked my interactions with Reuben. It just pisses me off that we’re sitting here talking about this after the game. I wish we could talk about football.”

-- Cam Inman, San Jose Mercury-News

"None of Jameis Winston’s 38 passes came close to getting intercepted, and this was an embattled quarterback who just reclaimed his job but torched the 49ers for 312 yards (29-of-38) and two touchdowns. DeForest Buckner had an early sack, his seventh of the season which is the 49ers’ most in five years. But the pass rush routinely allowed Winston to escape up the middle, which their scheme is not supposed to allow. Ahkello Witherspoon’s bounce-back game was marred by two pass-interference penalties, and Richard Sherman gave up his longest completion of the season (42 yards) on Tampa’s first touchdown drive."

-- Inman

Santos hasn't missed yet for the Bucs./STEVEN MUNCIE

Game Balls

Offense: With apologies to Mike Evans, this one has to go to the resilient Jameis Winston, who played error-free football. Don't forget how he had to move around in the pocket because of a faulty offensive line. This performance, a team can win with.

Defense: You can judge him on his milestone (10.5 sacks), or you can measure his impact as a defensive end. Jason Pierre-Paul also leads the Bucs' defensive linemen in tackles and ranks 16th in the league among defensive linemen.

Special teams: When is the last time a kicker was "Mr. Perfect" around here. Oh, it won't last. But Cairo Santos has been welcomed so far.

Peyton Barber moves down field./STEVN MUNCIE


Quarterback: Except for his touchdown pass to Adam Humphries, Jameis Winston didn't have a lot of highlight places. But he was smart and he was solid. Grade: A.

Running back: Peyton Barber have a rough afternoon, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. Blame that on the offensive line, which was using spackle by the end of the day. Grade: C.

Offensive line:  Give the Bucs credit for short passes and a moving quarterback, which lessened the rush. Not a keeper day for the line. Grade: D.

Receivers: Mike Evans was superb. Adam Humphries was dependable. But,  yeah, the team missed O.J. Howard. Grade: B.

Defensive line: The Bucs had four sacks and nine hits. That'll do. Grade: A-.

Linebackers: The Bucs still miss Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, which might be why Matt Breida averaged 7.6 yards per rush. Grade: D.

Secondary: Whee. Interceptions. Incompletions. Just one touchdown pass. It was a good day for the guys who have had mostly bad days. Grade: B+.

Kickers: Cairo Santos makes it look easy. Isn't it supposed to be? Grade: A.

Coaching: The staff finally convinced Winston not to push the interceptions. They adjusted their play-calling to help offset a bad offensive line. They won. Grade: A.

Adam Humphries runs in for a touchdown./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Best Plays

3-1-1 -- With the 49ers close enough to touch the end zone, quarterback Nick Mullens tried to sneak it into the end zone. He didn't make it. Devonte Bond stuffed him, and a replay confirmed the stop.

1-10-26 -- Who knew this was legal. With the 49ers close to scoring, Ryan Smith made a nice interception in the end zone. He was out of bounds, and then he was trying to run the ball. But, hey, when a team goes this long without interceptions, people forget what to do with it.

2-12-28 -- Early in the fourth quarter, Jameis Winston made a memorable play. He was rolling out to his right, then threw back toward the middle of the field to find Adam Humphries. Humphries rambled in for the clinching touchdown.

3-9-40 -- Winston found Mike Evans downfield for a 42-yard catch to set up the Bucs' first touchdown.

1-15-26 -- Jason Pierre-Paul got his big sack late in the second quarter.

Grimes makes a stop on the 49ers./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Worst Plays

2-10-13 -- The secondary wasn't perfect. On this play, they completedpass to lost receiver Dante Pettis for a touchdown.

3-10-16 -- The Bucs had forced a three-and-out early in the second period, but Carlton Davis III was guilty of defensive holding on an incomplete third-down pass, extending the drive. The 49ers ended up with a field goal.

3-9-16-- The Bucs had stopped the 49ere again, but a pass interference call against Andrew Adams kept the drive going. The 49ers eventually scored.

1-10-10 -- On their first play of the game, the Bucs blew containment. Matt Breida ran for 33 yards.

2-8-17 -- Mullens wasn't sharp, but he hit Pettis for a 22-yard gain here.

Carl Nassib sacks Mullens./STEVEN MUNCIE

Unsung Heroes

1. The Bucs have had to turn to backup safety Jordan Whitehead. Sunday he was very good, leading the team with 10 tackles.

2. Carl Nassib has been a nice find from the waiver wire. In his last six games, he has 5 1/2 sacks.

3. Safety Isaiah Johnson was second on the team with six tackles and had an interception

4. Vita Vea had four tackles, three of them for losses. He also had his first career sack.

5. Devonte Bond had four tackles as he tried to help the Bucs with their linebacker woes.

Pierre-Paul has 10 1/2 sacks./jEFFREY S. KING

5 Best Sack Seasons (Bucs)

2000                 Warren Sapp                 16.5

2002                 Simeon Rice                  15.5

2003                 Simeon Rice                  15.0

2005                 Simeon Rice                 14.0

1977                  LeeRoy Selmon           13.0

2018                  Jason Pierre-Paul (12th on the list in 11 games)   10.5

Jameis Winston gets pressure from Sheldon Day./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Best Winston Ratings

1,  2015                         Philadelphia                     131.6

2. 2017                         Carolina                            131.1

3. 2017                         Atlanta                              130.5

4. 2018                         N.Y. Giants                      129.9

5. 2015                         Washington                    128.1

The Bucs' pass rush has been better lately./CARMEN MANDATO

Opposing Quarterback Ratings (Best)

1. Eli Manning                               155.8

2. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago         154.6

3. Cam Newton, Carolina            133.2

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans       129.5

5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta                   125.5

The secondary has played too many rookies./JEFFREY S. KING

Opposing Quarterback Ratings (Worst)

1. Nick Mullens, 49ers 89.6

2. Nick Foles, Eagles 98.8

3. Alex Smith, Redskins 100.5

4. Baker Mayfield, Browns 104.4

5. Andy Dalton, Bengals 107.5

Fewest Incompletions

1. Eli Manning, Giants         1

2. Cam Newton, Carolina      6

3. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago  7

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans 8

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh 8

Alex Smith, Washington 8

Jones has had a wasted season./CARMEN MANDATO

Running Back Draft

2.  Saquon Barkley, Giants      171    829       4.8

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks       66     305       4.6

31. Sony Michel, Patriots        127   586       4.6

35. Nick Chubb, Browns           122    663       5.4

38. Ronald Jones, Bucs           19             42    2.2

43. Kerryon Johnson, Lions.      118       641     5.4

Vita Vea thad his first big game./STEVEN MUNCIE

Defensive Tackle Draft

12. Vita Vea, Tampa Bay                    6         2

13. Da'Ron Payne, Washington       39        4

29. Taven Bryan, Jacksonville.       12        0

57. P.J. Hall, Oakland                      13        0

69. B.J. Hill, Giants                         35         2

Mock Daft

Walterfootball.com             8           Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Bleacher Report                 10          Devon White, LB, LSU

CBSSports.com                    6           Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Draftsite                                5           Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Drafttek                                 7           Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

Power Rankings

Sporting News                   26

Fansided                             25

Bleacher Report                24

Massey                               23

Oddshark                            25

Martin had 41 yards for the Raiders./CARMEN MANDATO

How Ex-Bucs Fared 

LeGarrette Blount                       19-88

Doug Martin                                 11-41

Aqib Talib                                   2 tackles

Lovie Smith                                Signed an extension at Illinois

Jon Gruden                               Team lost 34-17 to Ravens

Evans has 1,000 yards already./CARMEN MANDATO

Random Stats

Passing Touchdowns         16. Fitzpatrick        17

..                                              22. Winston             10

Interceptions Thrown         2. Fitzpatrick       12

..                                              4. Winston           11

Rushing YPG                         15.  Barber           53.6

Receiving YPG                      5 Evans                97.5

Receiving 1st Downs            4. Evans              16

Donovan Smith leads the Bucs in penalties./CARMEN MANDATO

More Random Stats

Sacks                                        4. Jason Pierre-Paul       10.5

Tackles                                  34. Lavonte David              71

Punting                                  18. Anger            44.7

Interceptions                         63l  3 players tied

Penalties                                  26. Donovan Smith     8-70

Team Stats

Total Offense            1st

Passing Offense       1st

Rushing Offense       26

3rd Down Pct.             2

Red Zone Pct.           16

More Team Stats

Total Defense              27

Passing Defense         27

Rushing Defense        15

3rd Down Defense      11

Turnover Margin        32 (-21)

Closing Thoughts

1. If there was a division where the other teams were San Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland and Arizona, we might be talking about the Bucs' dynasty. Either that, or they'd be home watching Dynasty.

2. Peyton Barber is up and down (because of a leaky offensive line). Still, he's an improvement over last year. After 11 games, he has 590 yards and is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. After 11 games last year, Doug Martin had 405 yards and was averaging 2.94.

3. You know who Carl Nassib is? He's the guy who Noah Spence was supposed to be.

4. I was going to make a list of five Bucs who deserved Pro Bowl votes, but I was stumped after two. (Mike Evans and Jason Pierre-Paul).

5. If the Glazers talked to Jon Gruden, I wonder how close to $100 million they came. If it's based on what he's delivered, it would be $99,999,998.

Looking Ahead

Best Panthers

1. Julius Peppers

2. Steve Smith

3. Luke Kuechly

4. Greg Olsen

5. Cam Newton

Favorite Panthers

1. Sam Mills

2. Kevin Greene

3. Jake Delhomme

4. Cam Newton

5. Christian McCaffrey

Famous Panther Fans

1. Ric Flair

2. Brooklyn Decker

3. Sean Combs

4. Steph Curry

5. Will Smith

Best Game

When the teams met on a Monday night in October of 2016, it wasn't exactly must-see TV. Both teams were 1-3, and although both rallied a bit (Tampa Bay won nine games, Carolina six) neither was bound for glory.

Ah, but one thing sets this game apart.

It was Roberto Aguayo night.

Aguayo hit a 38-yard field goal as time ran out to lift the Bucs to a 17-14 victory. Aguayo had missed two field goals earlier in the game.

As it turned out, Aguayo wasn't long for the Bucs despite his high-price, and his departure didn't close the door on the kicking troubles. But for one kick, on one night, he was worth having. A shame that it didn't last.

NFL Predictions

Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 21

Atlanta 24, Baltimore 21

New England 30, Minnesota 21

Bears 34, Giants 31

New Orleans 30, Dallas 20

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