Looking back on the Bucs’ win over the Vikings

by Gary Shelton on December 15, 2020

in general

Arians team needs to be good down the stretch./TIM WIRT

5 Thoughts

  1. With Antonio Bryant behind used less, and Leonard Fournette not at all, it's safe to say that the Bucs are having a little buyer's remorse right about now.

2. Bruce Arians said the Bucs missed 14 tackles Sunday. Yeah, but how many after the Vikings' first drive?

3. So both Raheem Morris and Dirk Koetter -- both guys who have a history of beating the Bucs -- will be on the other sideline Sunday. What? Was Leeman Bennett busy?

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4. There are a lot of key elements in the upcoming game against the Falcons: the pass rush vs. the Atlanta line, the running game vs. the Atlanta defense, the receivers vs. the Atlanta secondary. But for me, it comes down to the Bucs' secondary vs. the terrific Atlanta receivers (Julio Jones is injured)

. I see where Tristan Wirfs is the third-highest ranking rookie in the NFL this year by Pro Football Focus. If his position was splashier, he'd be first or second.



From Bruce Arians Day-After Press Conference)

(On Wirfs): "I expect (solid play) every single week. He’s playing at a Pro Bowl level and that’s what we anticipated. He’s doing it week in and week out, so that’s kind of what I expect every week now. We had the one pre-snap penalty [on Sunday] or we would have had another no turnover, no penalty, no sack game. The offensive line got game balls – they had a great, great day. The only pressures really came from the tight ends.
“I think (Wirfs) has always been a really good run blocker – even in college his run blocking was outstanding – but his pass blocking ability is amazing for a young guy as big as he is [and] as athletic as he is"

(On a defensive line with Shaq Barrett on one side and Jason Pierre-Paul on the other): “It is a luxury and we don’t plan on Shaq going anywhere. I don’t think he wants to go anywhere because having JPP (Pierre-Paul) on the other side really helps him out and I think vice versa. Putting them over the guards this week – they did some different stuff and they’re a heck of a duo, man. When you can get people one dimensional, they’re hard to block.”

(On the belief the team still lacks an identity): I don’t really care what people say. I like the way we play football. One of our major goals was to not let [Adam] Thielen or [Justin] Jefferson get over the top – I think they had a combined 80 [receiving] yards. We’ll give up some runs to keep guys in front of us. Defensively, we whipped them in situational football. They were really good in the red zone [on] defense and offense, [but] we won both battles on both sides [and] we won third down – we were 60 percent [and] we got all those sacks [on defense]. I think we beat them in situational football. On defense, we missed 14 tackles. That’s the only negative thing about the whole day. I thought coming out, that was going to be a tough one – tackling [Dalvin Cook] and getting him on the ground. Other than that, I thought we played really, really well.”

(On the criticism of going deep in short-yardage situations): “Well, I think if the people that were saying it actually watched the film, they would see those both were short passes that were taken away. And actually, the first one to Gronk – they busted the coverage, and took the flat and short curl [routes] away, so it was late to Rob going on the corner route. Scotty was like the fourth option. Both, again, were short or intermediate throws that ended up being thrown down the field because that’s what the coverage dictated. Neither were called to go deep.”

(On the renewed energy of the Falcones under Raheem Morris): "I  think they really have identified with Raheem and Raheem brings a ton of energy. Having coached both on their offense for a couple of years and on their defense, he’s got great relationships with all of the guys. I think that they’re playing really, really hard for him and I think he’s a hell of a football coach. I think ‘Matty’ Ryan is still playing at a high level and [it will come down to] whether we can get our hands on Todd Gurley and keep those receivers in front of us. Same thing defensively – they’ve started pressuring the quarterback a lot more in recent weeks. I think they’re playing their tails off for Raheem.”

Game Balls

Offense: Spread it across the offensive line, which gave up only three hits on Tom Brady. I've been critical of the unit, but Sunday, they were good.

Defense: It's hard to ignore Antonio Winfield, who had 11 tackles, but Shaq Barrett set the tone. He had two sacks, three quarterback hits and two tackles for losses.

Kicking: Ryan Succop was solid again. Against the Vikings, that was a bright light in the sky.


Quarterback: Tom Brady has been flashier, but he took care of the ball, which is a lot of the battle. Grade: B+.

Running back: Ronald Jones II showed that the Bucs don't need Leonard Fournette. Grade: A-.

Offensive line: Brady was protected, and the team got 107 yards rushing. No problems. Grade: A.

Receivers: More and more, you have to love Scotty Miller. Grade: B.

Defensive line: Too many yards rushing, but six sacks was the stat of the day for the Bucs. Grade: A.

Linebackers: Too many missed tackles.But Lavonte David and Devin White had nine each. Grade: B.

Defensive backs: Justin Jefferson was just a rumor. A good day, all in all. Grade: B.

Kicking: Succop had two field goals, and Bradley Pinion averaged more than 50 yards per punt. Grade: A.

5 Former Bucs the Team Could Use Right Now

  1. Ronde Barber, nickel back: No, he isn't a Hall of Famer. But can't you imagine his impact in the slot?

2. Derrick Brooks, linebacker: Can you imagine him with White and David? An argument can be made he's the team's best-ever.

3. Paul Gruber, tackle: Gruber instead of Donovan Smith? Yes, please.

4. Warren Sapp, defensive tackle: He was solid against the run and terrific on the pass rush.

5. John Lynch, safety: You'd notice the Bucs' safeties then, wouldn't you?

NFL Stats

Passing Yards Tom Brady 10

Rushing Yards Ronald Jones II 4

Receptions Chris Godwin 38

Mike Evans 38

Tackles Devin White 5

Sacks Jason Pierre-Paul 8

Most TDS in a Season, Bucs

Rank Player (Season) Pass TD

1. Jameis Winston (2019) 33

2. Tom Brady (2020) 30

3. Jameis Winston (2016) 28

4. Josh Freeman (2012) 27

5. Brad Johnson (2003) 26

Bucs' Best Record After 13 Games

Six times, the Bucs have had a better record that their current 8-5 after 13 games.

2002 Jon Gruden 10-3

2008 Jon Gruden 9-4

2005 Jon Gruden 9-4

1999 Tony Dungy 9-4

1997 Tony Dungy 9-4

1979 John McKay 9-4

5 More Thoughts

  1. I keep reading where Tom Brady might look for a new team next season. Hogwash. His troubles with Bruce Allen aren't as bad as the rumors, and do you really think he wants to start over at age 44? And how many teams would invest big money in him?

2. Alex Kappa, who continues to lead the Pro Bowl voting at guard, must have a very, very big family. Nothing against Kappa, but remind me again what his best play was this season?

3. A thousand yards for a running back isn't what it once was, but when you had a 44-yard rookie season, it's like running forever. Ronald Jones II has had a very good run.

4. The only question I have about scatter-toed kicker Dan Bailey of the Vikings is this: With their history of kickers, how in the world did the Bucs not sign this guy?

5. Yeah, the Bucs sure were smart in passing on Dalvin Cook. Right?

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