Godwin closing his season out with a bang

by Gary Shelton on December 16, 2021

in general

Chris Godwin has stepped up his game./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Say this much for Chris Godwin. The man knows how to conduct a salary drive.

Godwin, the wide receiver of the Tampa Bay Bucs, is having a career year in what, so far, has been a pretty good career. And the way he is going, someone is going to toss a pretty good-sized check at him. Odds are, he'll catch it.

Consider this: Over the last two weeks, Godwin has caught 25 passes (32 targets) for 248 yards. For the season, he has 92 catches for 1,052 yards, and he has five games to go.

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Still, head coach Bruce Arians stops short of saying it's the best he's seen Godwin play.

"No, I just think his opportunities have gone up," Arians said Wednesday. "He has played some great games. It's hard to say he's played better than he has in the past because he's always played outstanding – [it’s] just his targets have gone up."

Sunday night, against the Saints, Godwin will be important again. After all, fellow receiver Mike Evans has struggled mightily against the Saints over the years, and Antonio Brown is still out.

"I think it’s an honor (to play for the division title)," Godwin said. "I think it’s a testament to the hard work that everyone in this building puts in. I know there have been some pretty bad years here, and I’ve been a part of a few of them, so just to be a part of a couple of the teams that turned things around here is pretty cool.”

The Bucs have been pretty good in the late season the last couple of years. They hope to continue that Sunday.

"I think really more than anything it’s really just chipping away at your task at hand," Godwin said. "It’s a long season and we understand that. I think how we’ve been kind of doing things and gradually getting better over the course of the season is a lot better than starting off 5-0 and then losing 10 out of your next however many games. That’s not the way that you want to go.

"You constantly want to be able to learn and grow from your mistakes so that you’re playing your best ball in December and January because that’s when it really matters. I think we have a lot of guys on the team that realize that. Coach pushes us every week to try to be better and try to be the best that we can. Sometimes things go our way, sometimes they don’t. With all the veteran guys that we have, with all the guys that we have with so much experience and listening to guys like Tom [Brady], ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) and ‘Sherm’ (Richard Sherman) – I think we realize that it’s a long season and that we have a lot of things we can learn from. As long as we’re doing that and pulling the rope in the same direction, we’ll like where we stand with things when all is settled"

For all of his catches, Godwin says he enjoys blocking, too.

Yeah, I do. I do enjoy blocking," Godwin said. "I enjoy just doing whatever I can to help the team. That’s kind of how I approach the whole thing. We’re all out there together giving it our all. The offensive line, they do a great job blocking for the quarterback. Running backs do the same. Those things by turn help receivers be able to get the ball. I see it as me doing my part and reciprocating that love. They help us and we help them.”

Godwin said he's a huge fan of his offensive line.

“I’ve got a lot of appreciation for our linemen, and I tell them that all the time. They’re a group of bad asses and I love seeing them work. They’re so close. They’re such a close-knit group and they work so hard with Tom [Brady] to make sure they’re all on the same page. They put the work in, and it shows on gameday.”

The Saints have had their way with the Bucs through the years. They're 4-1 in their last five games.

"You've got two really good football teams the last few times we've played – it all comes down to turnovers," Arians said. "Whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game. They've won it the most times. I don't look at it as 1-4 because there were a lot of guys missing in some of those games and a bunch of them are back now. This is still one of the best defenses we see every single season. They look as good defensively as they ever have and Sean [Payton] finds a way to score points."

The Bucs will host the Saints in Raymond James Stadium Sunday night at 8:20 p.m.

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