Bucs impressive in their second straight victory

by Gary Shelton on December 2, 2019

in general

White is masking a huge impact./TIM WIRT

Monday, 4 a.m.

Are you ready for this?

Are you braced?

Are you prepared for a Tampa Bay Bucs team that is at least competitive?

Certainly, you have waited long enough. Certainly, you have seen this team lost in the wilderness for enough seasons, wasting enough potential, squandering enough talent. Certainly, you have seen enough clueless coaches, and enough hapless offenses, and enough hopeless defense.

And, finally, there seems to be a direction out of the swampland.

The Bucs won their second straight resounding victory Sunday, blasting the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-11. That improved the team's record to 5-11, which still isn't something to brag about, but when you remember that the team was 3-11 two weeks ago and had a share of the NFC basement, it's been a staggering turnaround.

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Winston didn't have an interception Sunday.TIM WIRT

Last week, the Bucs beat Atlanta 38-22.

One of the key items this week is that it didn't feature an offensive explosion by anyone. Jameis Winston didn't throw an interception, but he threw for just 268 yards. Neither Mike Evans nor Chris Godwin more more than 60 yards receiving. Peyton Barber scored twice, but he rushed for only 44 yards.

Again, however the defense played well. It allowed just 38 yards rushing to Leonard Fournette, and it allowed a 61.0 rating to Jaguars quarterbacks. It had five sacks and two interceptions.

Once again, linebacker Devin White looked like a budding star. The young secondary lookied like it was a cohesive unit. Vita Vea and the defensive front looks aggressive and hungry. And,, finally,, the schedule looked like the opponents were finally the Bucs' size.

“I am really, really pleased," said coach Bruce Arians. "I thought the defensive effort was outstanding. (The Jaguars) got a little momentum when they put Gardner (Minshew II) in there but we were able to have that great goal-line stand that kind of put it to bed."

The Jagus closed to within 25-11 and were on the goal line, running seven plays within the Bucs' five. An interception by Sean Murphy-Bunting ended the threat, however.

Bruce Arians had a balanced attack./STEVEN MUNCIE

"That is one thing that you can take and build off for a very long time," Arians said. "For Sean to come up with that interception and to stop them a couple of times and force them to throw the football, that is something you can really build on.”

White had seven tackles, a scoop and score fumble return for touchdown and an interception for the Bucs.

“There was no doubt (of his impact)," Arians said. "With the sacks last week, we knew he was a dynamic player. He’s is really coming into his own. You can really see him blossoming each week and getting more and more confident. He’s got to work on his running back skills because the dude drilled him right between the four and the five. He should be our running back.  He is everything we thought he would be.”

Barber scored two touchdowns./TIM WIRT

With three wins in their last four games, the momentum is building for Tampa Bay.

“It’s what we are looking for," Arians said. "We want to finish this thing strong. We will add them up at the end and see if it’s enough. We want to hopefully get three in a row at home. We can’t get six in a row; we can only get three in a row. I like where we are at. We are practicing and preparing extremely hard each week. We’re coming into stadiums expecting to win.”

Arians talked about Winston taking big hits.

"He hit himself." Arians said "I thought we blocked really well, and it was tough sledding in the running game. We managed to get our 31 runs in there and I like to be more efficient, but we blocked really well on the touchdown run. Also, just get rid of it. The fourth-and-five, just throw it to the back and see if you can make a guy miss. Just doing do all the whirly-burling and take a sack.”

Great moment. Fan gets Barrett's glove./TIM WIRT

Arians said his defense is growing together.

“Yeah, especially the back end.," Arians said. "The communication, they see it. Once you see it and you put the time into it, you get the fruits of your labor. I mean, you know you have to put more time into it like Todd (Bowles) said. I show up a 4:30 (in the morning) and these cats are showing up a 5. That is what we are looking for.”

The Bucs are home Sunday against the Colts.

Howard had a good game for Tampa Bay./TIM WIRT

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