Looking back at Bucs’ win over Atlanta

by Gary Shelton on January 5, 2021

in general

Arians' team set a Bucs' points record./TIM WIRT

5 Thoughts

  1. The last time the Bucs were in the post-season, Jon Gruden was the coach, Jeff Garcia was the quarterback and Earnest Graham was the go-to back. Looking back, that wasn't very impressive, was it?

2. This year, if the seeds hold, the Bucs would have to play, in a row, the Redskins, Packers (in Lambeau), the Saints and then the Chiefs. Anyone see four more wins in a row?

3. Yes, the Redskins are preferable to the Giants, but Sunday would be so much more preferable than Saturday for a limping team.

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4. Does Atlanta only accept job applications from Tampa Bay? It was bad enough to see Rich McKay, Warrick Dunn and Matt Bryant go north, soon to be followed by Raheem Morris and Dirk Koetter. Now the team is supposedly interested in Todd Bowles. It's a little hard to believe, because the Falcons' strength is on offense and the team scored 54 points in two games against Bowles' bunch. But who am I?

5. Aren't we normally talking about the draft by today?


(From Bruce Arians Day-After Press Conference)

(On Mike Evans' injury): “The MRI showed no structural damage. It was a hyperextension. I saw him in the training room a little while ago – there’s very, very little swelling and he’ll be day-to-day. You’ve got to fight Mike. If we can go, he won’t [care] about the field.”

(On if Devin White will miss Saturday's game): “It looks that way right now. I was not overly excited about that – it could potentially cost us a couple players that [could] play on Sunday that we’re still hoping [for]. Washington – when Alex Smith plays quarterback, they’re a heck of a football team.”

(On other players who might return): “I think Carlton should be up and going. Ledbetter will be very iffy. Shaq [Barrett] will be back, not sure about Stevie [McLendon] yet.”

(On Washington defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat): “They’re legit. The two kids from Alabama inside and then those two guys – plus Ryan Kerrigan – that’s as good of a five as you’re going to see anywhere. They’re all young, very active and very athletic. It’s a heck of a building block for Ron [Rivera] right there.”

(On Evans playing through injuries this year): If he’s 80 percent, we’d have to fight to keep him off the field. Him at 80 percent is better than a lot of guys at 100, so we’ll see what he is and how he feels. His leadership and his toughness – when Chris [Godwin] was down, there was no way [Evans] was going to stay out. He went out there on one leg and played about three games on one leg and still performed well.”

Game Balls

Offense: The way this offense is cooking, a lot of players should be considered. Tom Brady, receivers Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin and running back Ronald Jones II were all great. But let's give it to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who suffers a lot of grief.

Defensive: Kevin Minter rarely gets to show off. Sitting behind Lavonte David and White is hard. But Minter came off the bench to have nine tackles on Sunday.

Special teams: Ryan Succop capped a successful season with three field goals and five extra points. For the year, he's hit 28 of 31, a nice run especially for a Bucs' kicker.


Quarterback: Somewhere, there are fans who think the Bucs should have passed on Tom Brady to keep Jameis Winston. They're the ones drinking New Coke. Grade: A.

Running back: Jones didn't touch the ball a lot, but he had energy and ran hard. Grade: A-.

Wide Receivers: So, that's why they signed Antonio Bryant. Bryant and Godwin were superb, and Mike Evans set an NFL record before being hurt. Grade: A+.

Offensive line: The Bucs averaged 4.3 yards per carry and gave up only one sack. A nice performance. Grade: A.

Defensive line: We're spoiled, but we expect more pass rush than this. The run defense should have been better. Grade: C.

Linebackers: I'm sure there were plays that Devin White might have made that Kevin Minter didn't. But not many. Grade: B+.

Secondary: Matt Ryan threw for 265 yards. The secondary covered deep, but the underneath stuff needs to be challenged. Grade: D.

Kicking. Succop was perfect. Except for kicking off, Bradley Pinion had the day off. Grade: A.

5 Biggest Bucs' Playoff Wins

  1. Jan. 26, 2003 Bucs 48, Raiders 21

2. Jan. 19, 2003 Bucs 27, Eagles 10

3. Dec. 29, 1979 Bucs 24, Eagles 17

4. Jan. 12, 2003 Bucs 31, San Francisco 6

5. Dec. 28, 1997 Bucs 20, Detroit 10.

NFL Stats

Passing Yards Tom Brady 3

Rushing Yards Ronald Jones II 12

Receptions Mike Evans 32

Tackles Devin White 6

Sacks Jason Pierre-Paul 12

Bucs' Touchdown Passes

1.             Tom Brady (2020)                                          40

2.            Jameis Winston (2019)                                    33

3.            Jameis Winston (2016)                                    28

4.            Josh Freeman (2012)                                      27

5.            Brad Johnson (2003)                                       26

Bucs' Highest QB Ratings

1.           Tom Brady (2020)                                    102.2

2.           Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018)                             100.4

3.           Brian Griese (2004)                                    97.5

4.           Josh Freeman (2010)                                 95.9

5.           Jeff Garcia (2007)                                      94.6

Winningest Seasons/Bucs' QB

  1. Tom Brady 11

2. Brad Johnson 10 2002

3. Doug Williams 10 1981

4. Shaun King 10 2000

5. Trent Dilfer 10 1997

5 More Thoughts

  1. With success comes the possibility of losing coaches. According to BetOnline.com, Todd Bowles is tied for third among favorites for the Falcons' job at 5-1. Byron Leftwich is tied for ninth at 12-1. Leftwich is 12th on the Lions' list of betting favorites and 11th on the Texans' list.

2. Those who still want to debate the Brady-Belichick argument should get a chance next season. The Bucs play the Patriots in Foxboro. Other games (outside of the division) include the Jets, the Giants, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Buffalo, Chicago and the Rams. There is a possibility the league will play a 17th game.

3. For those of you who miss the draft, here's a nugget. WalterFootball.com has the Bucs taking USC defensive tackle Jay Tufele with the 26th pick. Bleacher Report is more fun. With the 25th pick, they have the Bucs taking Najee Harris of Alabama.

4. Give him credit for this. Has another quarterback ever cut his interceptions down from 30 to zero before? Of course, Jamies Winston threw only 11 passes for 75 yards, but it's a start.

5. I see where Urban Meyer wants $12 million a year to coach the Jaguars. Meyer has been able to outrecruit the world at his last two stops, so the NFL would be different for him. But with Meyer and Trevor Lawrence, you could see tickets. They'll love those two in London.

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