Bucs win again with solid performance

by Gary Shelton on November 23, 2021

in general

Gronkowski returned to action Monday night./ TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Now that victory has returned to the Tampa Bay Bucs, will their fans remember how to act?

For a month, the Bucs went without a win. For a month, their own followers could be accused of targeting. You heard the talk. The coaches were confused, and their quarterback was aging, and their defensive backs were playing in traffic. The pass rush sputtered, and the offensive line was being whipped, and the receivers couldn't get deep. This just in: defeat puts fans in a bad mood.

Ah, but then came Monday night, and a solid 30-10 thumping of the New York Giants. It wasn't a perfect game; it was one of those that lives in that area between success and expectations. Solid. Comfortable. Decisive.

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Oh, there were hiccups. An interception deflected off the hands of Mike Evans that essentially gift-wrapped a touchdown for the Giants, and two penalties called back gains of 30-plus yards/

But for the first time in weeks, the secondary was a bit more aggressive, and the offensive line kept the rush off of Brady, and the receivers showed up. Four of them caught at least six passes from Brady.

"Totally different," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said, "Obviously, when you have our crowd and everything. It’s been a long time. Playing like that with that total team effort I thought was outstanding. Obviously, it wasn’t perfect. We left a lot out there and gave them one. I really liked the way we showed up and played. Now, we just have to figure out the short week and how to do this on the road again.”

It was a contrast to the way Arians sounded after losing to Washington when he criticized the effort and intelligence of his team.

Brady threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns His lone interception bounced off the hands of Evans, setting up the Giants' only touchdown.

Brady welcomed back tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had been out with broken ribs. Gronkowski had six catches for 71 yards. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette all had six catches.

“It’s huge," Arians said of Gronkowski's 36-yard gain. " (Tom Brady) had all day on that play to find him – it was like the fourth read. Gronk just kept running. That’s a big target to miss running across the field. He’s easy to see. It’s great to have him back. Really great, run and pass.” 

Defensively, the Bucs gave up points on two of three possessions. On the might, however, they were forced put punt three times, had two interceptions, a fumble and lost the ball on downs twice.

"Good pass rush, really good coverage," Arians said. "I thought front and back end played well together and we fed off the crowd. We should and it makes it hard on teams to come in here and try to execute. It’s totally different this year than it was last year.”

Different, too, than last week.

“I think we had a couple of plays that weren’t the best," Arian said. "Two unfortunate penalties gave up about 80 yards and first-and-goal on the one, but we overcame that, one and had another touchdown. No, I didn’t see that type of [dumb] football played tonight.”

Said Brady: “Every day that goes by is closer to the end of the season. Every game is more important because there are fewer of them, and you don’t get any of them back. Were at a decent point but we could play a lot better than we played. You know, 7-3 through 10 games, there is a lot to learn from. Hoping our best football is ahead of us. “

The Bucs are in Indianapolis on Sunday to play the Colts at 1 p.m.

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