Looking back on Bucs’ win over Carolina

by Gary Shelton on January 3, 2023

in general

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Thoughts

  1. Not even winning the division title can erase the disappointment of this season. But, yeah, it helps.

2. If the rumors are correct, Tom Brady is down to his last few games as a Buc. He didn't spend enough time here, but he'll be remembered as the Bucs' best ever.

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3. We'll never know, but I don't think the Glazers decided for sure that Todd Bowles will be back until late Sunday afternoon. They're not happy when the team finishes badly.

4. So did 15 weeks of game film make the Panthers figured they might as well not bother to guard Mike Evans?

5. I still think the Bucs' red zone play-calling is miserable.


(From Todd Bowles' day-after press conference)

(On if the Buccaneers will play or rest their regulars in Week 18, given that their playoff status can't change): "No, but we can get better at a lot of things, so right now I'm planning on playing them. We'll see as the week goes forward, but we can get better at a lot of things that we need to work on, and we don't need to take our foot off the gas."

(On if plans to play the starting offensive linemen): Well, we don't have many to begin with. It's not like training camp when you have 80 guys, 90 guys. We're limited to begin with, but some guys need some work on things. As the week goes forward, we'll progress and make those decisions, but right now everybody needs to plan on playing."

(On if winning three in a row to head into the playoffs would boost team morale): "It'll boost morale. Winning helps period, whether it's playoffs or regular season. You want to win every game you play. Obviously, we had some tough ones we lost, we had some tough ones we won. But winning the last two the way we did, obviously that builds morale more and you want to go in on a high note."

(On weighing the value of playing regulars against the possibility of injuries: "I mean, it's football. You can't play 16 games and then worry about the 17th. You can't play three preseason games and 16 games and practice every day and say you may get hurt in the 17th game. You can get hurt the first week, you can get hurt in training camp. If you worry about that, you're probably going to get hurt anyway. We signed up to play football and coach football, that's what we're going to do. Everybody that loves football, that loves to play, will play the game. Injuries are going to happen. That doesn't mean it happens in Week 17, the playoff game or preseason. You've just got to coach it and you've got to play it. If you worry about injuries, you probably don't need to be playing this sport."

On if punter Jake Camarda's play to save a botched punt Sunday is something they have practiced): "That was all instinct on his part. We don't practice botching a punt. It happens, but you don't practice botching a punt, especially running to the sideline and making a kick like he did. Very instinctive of him to do that. It was a heck of a play."

Game Balls'

Offense: Mike Evans was sensational, but another fourth-quarter comeback and 432 yards passing gives the award to Tom Brady. If it wasn't for Brady, this team would be drafting in the top half dozen or so picks.

Defense: Anthony Nelson had a strip-sack that led to a clinching touchdown for the Bucs.

Special teams: Jake Camarda may have saved the game when he fielded a bad snap, rolled to his left and managed to kick the ball inside the Carolina five. A penalty against the Bucs erased the play, but if Camarda hadn't punted, the Panthers would have taken over at midfield.


Quarterback: It was Brady’s best game of the season. Maybe his best of several seasons. Grade: A+.

Wide Receiver: This was the threat you remembered. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin combined for 19 catches, 327 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Grade: A+.

Offensive line: One reason Brady was able to go deep was pass protection. The team still can't run block, though. Grade: C.

Defensive line: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka had a good game for a change, and the Bucs controlled the Carolina running game. Grade: B+.

Linebackers: Lavonte David and Devin White combined for 15 tackles, and Nelson made the play of the game; Grade: B+.

Secondary: Sam Donald had 341 yards passing. That's a major fail. Grade: D.

Power Rating

  1. San Francisco

2. Kansas City

3. Cincinnati

4. Philadelphia

5. Buffalo

12. Tampa Bay

Bottom 5

32. Houston

31. Chicago

30. Denver

29. Arizona

28. Indianapolis

Best-Feeling Bucs' Titles

  1. 2002 In Jon Gruden's first year, the Bucs finally got over the ump and won the Super Bowl.

2. 2021 The year after winning the Super Bowl, the Bucs went to the conference finals before losing to the Rams.

3. 1999 The year after an 8-8 season, the Bucs made it to the conference finals.

4. 1979 The original worst-to-first finish. The Bucs' first good season.

5. 2005 Following a 5-11 season, the Bucs had a charmed year.

6. 1981 The Bucs followed a 5-10-1 season with a division title, although they were just 9-7.

7. 2007 Another 9-7 season, this one got Jon Gruden a contract extension. The next season, a 9-7 record got him fired..

8. 2022 The Bucs fall short of expectations before squeaking into the post-season.

Bucs' Single-Game Receiving

Rank      Player                                                          Rec. Yards

1.           Vincent Jackson (N.O. 2012)                       216

2.           Mark Carrier (N.O. 1987)                              212

3.           Mike Evans (Was, 2014)                           209

4.           Mike Evans (Car. 2023)                              207

5.           Antonio Bryant (Car., 2008)                        200

Quarterback Comparison

Player Seasons Wins. Tds Int. YPG Rating

Tom Brady 3 32 107 33 297.1 98.8

Jameis Winston 5 28 121 88 274.1 92.7

Brad Johnson 4 26 64 41 223.3 83.2

Josh Freeman 5 24 80 66 225.1 78.8

Trent Dilfer 6 38 70 80. 286.2 69.4

Doug Williams 5 33 73 73 274.1 66.2

Vinny Testaverde 6 24 77 112 195.0 64.4

5 Other Bad Division Winners

Year Team Record First Round Result

2010 Seattle 7-9 W, New Orleans

2020 Washington. 7-9 L, Tampa Bay

2014 Carolina 7-8-1 W, Arizona

2011 Denver 8-8 W, Pittsburgh

2009 San Diego 8-8 W, Indianapolis

Brady in the Fourth

Team Score in 4th Final

New Orleans 3-3 20-10

L.A. Rams 6-13 16-13

New Orleans 3-16 17-16

Arizona 6-16 19-16 (ot)

Carolina 10-21 30-24

5 More for the Ring of Honor

  1. Hardy Nickerson

2. Simeon Rice

3. Batman Wood

4. James Wilder

5. Ali Marpet

-- Retired Players Only

5 More Thoughts

  1. Bruce Arians will be an immortal, one supposes, until he sends a naughty email or a dozen to Bruce Allen.

2. When you're talking about the plays of the week, don't forget Blaine Gabbert, that Jet Ski-riding hero.

3. I like Ryan Succop, but in a league where kickers' legs are cannons, he's armed with a popgun.

4. If Brady is serious about wanting to play on Sunday, who in the world is going to tell him no?

5. Isn't anyone going to congratulate Akiem Hicks for his no-hitter on Sunday?

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