Looking back on the Bucs’ win over the Falcons

by Gary Shelton on December 22, 2020

in general

Bucs need to start faster./JOE MESTAS

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Thoughts

  1. There are a lot of quarterback statistics that are, frankly, overrated. But one that isn't is fourth-quarter comebacks, and you can tell because only really great quarterbacks are on top of it. Peyton Manning has 43. Tom Brady has 39. Drew Brees has 35. The overrated guys? Roger Staubach is tied for 86th on the list. Joe Montana is 15th. Pretty impressive.

2 . If you need to be reminded why running backs aren't the big deal they used to be, check out Sunday's game. The Bucs and Falcons combined for 88 yards rushing. The Bucs won despite missing the fifth-leading rusher in the game. Anymore, the back is like a harmonica. It's good for a band to have one, but it isn't vital.

3. With their late starts, do the Bucs think they're in a different time zone?

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4. With two games to play, Mike Evans needs 221 yards for 1,000. And the Bucs need a couple of 100-yard days out of him.

5. Shouldn't there be a Devin White t-shirt that says "I sacked Matty Ice Thrice."


(From Bruce Arians' Day-After Press Conference)

(On the Bucs' slow starts): “It’s almost like, ‘Quit talking about it and maybe it will change.’ You try to emphasize starting practices with the first period being the best, you identify tackling and making sure we’re breaking down in front of ball carriers and not tagging off and getting bad position. We get a third-and-12, they throw a check down, we miss a tackle and that leads to a long drive. The game changes if we make the tackle. Those little things, they keep adding up and we’ve got to find ways to just get out there and get it done in the first quarter.”

(On the problems in the secondary): “I don’t think it was communication at all. It was just poor play. You know when you have help and you know when you don’t. You’ve got to play the proper technique. It’s one thing if you’re supposed to be dropping and you rush – that’s a problem. Especially if they throw a ball in the flat where you’re supposed to be dropping to. It wasn’t communication, it was just poor play.”

(On if the team relies too much on Brady to lead them from behind): “There’s no doubt. I think first halves of ballgames, if it’s 50-50, I love where we’re at. The sense of urgency in the locker room at halftime – it was very calm by him. ‘We’ve got the ball, let’s go make a play.’ Then, we go down and score. It lit a fire in the offense. Defensively, I was really disappointed when they answered that with another touchdown. I think our defense needs to re-evaluate themselves a little bit and get back to what we’re supposed to be doing and what we’re capable of doing.”

(On how many halftime adjustments are made): “I think as you’re going into the locker room, you’re making those adjustments in your head as the first half is being played. You go in and you get what needs to be said, said, what needs to be corrected, corrected and how we’re going to change whatever we’re doing defensively or offensively. Most of the time, guys are going to the bathroom and they’re not in there anyway. There’s not a heck of a lot that you do at halftime, but you can make those subtle corrections quickly and get everything done. There are times where you go into halftime and guys are just hollering and pissed off. That was part of it in this one [yesterday]. [I am] really happy with the way we made those adjustments offensively, and eventually defensively.”

(On cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting’s play in recent weeks): “I think Sean can play better. We expect a lot out of him. He had some struggles early in the season [but] I see him coming out of those and playing with more confidence. Again, we expect a lot of things out of him because he has a ton of talent. He can play better.”


Offense: Maybe we should just call this the Brady Trophy. Once again, he was the key player for the Bucs with 390 yards and another fourth quarter comeback. Mike Evans would be the second-place finisher.

Defense: More and more, Devin White is an impact player. He had three sacks, 11 tackles and 4.5 tackles for losses.

Kicking: Ryan Succop has hit 25 of 27 field goals this year. It isn't all about 60-yarders. You have to make your putts, too.


Quarterback: In his last 12 games, Brady has had a 100-plus rating eight times. Yeah, everyone wants him to be better. But he's still pretty darn good. Grade: A.

Receivers: Mike Evans had another great days and Antonio Bryant finally made you notice that he's here. Grade: A.

Offensive line: Donovan Smith was a bigger loss than most will admit, but there were no sacks in the second half. Grade: B.

Defensive line: The Falcons did the Bus a favor every time they ran the ball. Ryan had too much time too often, though. Grade: C+.

Linebackers: Who's better? White or Lavonte David? There is no wrong answer: Grade: A.

Secondary: The Falcons had one major threat, but the Bucs couldn't find him. Grade: F.

Kicking. Succop continues to be money. Bradley Pinion had three punts inside the 20. Grade: A.

Pro Bowl Snubs

(Jason Pierre-Paul was the only Buc to make the Pro Bowl. Some notable Tampa Bay omissions).

  1. Devin White. White is fourth in the NFL in tackles. Perhaps, as Bruce Arians said, he and Lavonte David split votes.

2. Tom Brady. There has been so much talk about what's wrong with Brady's game that no one appreciates his numbers.

3. Lavonte David. David must play a position the Pro Bowl doesn't recognize.

4. Ronald Jones II. He's eighth in the league in rushing, and perhaps the game's most improved player.

5. Tristan Wirfs: It's hard for a rookie and hard for a right tackle. But Wirfs has been a force.

Fourth Quarter Comebacks

Player Overall Comebacks Bucs Bucs Starts

Brady 39 3 14

Williams 17 11 67

Testaverde 29 9 76

Dilfer 14 6. 79

Winston 7 7 70

NFL Stats

Passing Yards Brady 5

Rushing Yards Jones 8

Receptions Evans 38

Tackles White 4

Sacks Pierre-Paul l8

5 More Thoughts

  1. At least Antonio Winfield makes. a play every now and again. His end zone deflection may have won this game.

2. Poor Raheem Morris. The Glazers won't spend any money when he's here, but three players they broke the bank for -- Tom Brady, Antonio Winfield, Leonard Fournette -- might have cost him a chance to return to the Falcons next season.

3. The Lions haven't been interesting since Barry Sanders left town...and not very often before that.

4. Yes, the Bucs may score early Sunday afternoon. Problem is, the game starts on Saturday. The slow starts are murder.

5. Matt Stafford should sue for non-support.

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