Looking back at the Bucs’ win over Miami

by Gary Shelton on November 21, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Fitzpatrick led the Bucs downfield for the win./CARMEN MANDATO

Fitzpatrick led the Bucs downfield for the win./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Observations

1. When Thanksgiving arrives this week, a good Bucs fan should thank everyone in heaven for Jay Cutler. If Matt Moore plays the whole game the way he did in the second half, it wouldn't have been pretty. Bucs' defensive backs kept getting lost as if Moore was the Southern version of Case Keenum. Come to think of it, being thankful for Cutler is a standing prayer. Remember Mark Dominik's efforts to bring Cutler to the Bucs? It gives you willies. I'll never understand how Cutler beat the Bucs in their four games.

2. It's hard to wait, but if Jameis Winston is healthy enough to return to the lineup this week, he should despite of the recent accuasations against him. Innocent until proven guilty, right? It's hard not to jump to conclusions, but an accusation isn't a conviction. The key bit of evidence? A receipt saying how many people were in the car and how much fast-food ws ordered.

3. Something is badly broken with the Bucs' running game. Doug Martin averaged two yards a carry Sunday. I don't think it's for lack of effort, and I don't think his line has done him any favors. Of cousre, if you were an opposing defense, wouldn't you try to make Ryan Fitzpatrick beat you?

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

4. I love Ryan Fitzpatrick. That said, he won the two of the games on the schedule he was capable of winning. Again, Tampa Bay hasn't scored enough points. Their wins have come against teams that are a combined 13-27.

5. I think Patrick Murray would be popular regardless, but coming after Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk means there should be stuffed animals of him.

Koetter's team has won two straight narrow victories./CARMEN MANDATO

Koetter's team has won two straight narrow victories./CARMEN MANDATO


(From Dirk Koetter's day-after press conference)

1. (On starting quarterback Jamies Winston): “The medical staff evaluated Jameis sometime earlier today and they determined that he is not ready to resume throwing yet. Jameis will be out this week and re-evaluated next Monday.”

2. (On backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick: “My confidence is the same, but I am sure other people’s has grown. Ryan’s done exactly what I thought he would do, but I can understand why other people that haven’t seen him in practice would not necessarily expect that. Ryan made really good decisions. We didn’t turn the ball over. We say every week in our meetings (if) we don’t turn it over, we’ve got a great chance to win. Not only did we not turn it over, we were plus five [in turnover margin]. It starts with that. He made really good decisions. 60 percent completion, but then you factor out a couple of drops (and), I think, four throwaways. No matter how much of a veteran quarterback you are, throwing the ball away when the play is not there is still to this day one of the hardest things to get a quarterback to do and Ryan did a good job of that. He also scrambled a couple of times. One time he scrambled and got a first down running it. That very last drive [he had] that one to (Chris) Godwin right in front of our sideline, he scrambled – maybe before he really needed to, but still that was a nice play to get that drive going.”

3. (On allowing six third-down conversions of third-and-eight or longer): “One, he just had too much time. It starts with that. You give any quarterback that much time and you’re playing zone defense – the guy is in the NFL. He has enough time against zone defense. You’re going to find a hole. Too much time – number one. Then we still are just inconsistent in our zone drops. It wasn’t just one guy – it was a guy here and a guy there and a bust on the long touchdown at the end. Like we’ve been saying all year, the rush, the intermediate coverage and the deep coverage – they’ve got to work together. When they don’t, you aren’t going to like the results and we didn’t like those.”

4. (On running back Doug Martin): “It’s not him that is not consistently moving the ball. In my opinion, he is not the reason we are not moving the ball on offense. If you look at that tape, Doug’s making a little bit out of not too much more often than not. We went over this exact thing last week. When the passing game is not going well, the quarterback takes the heat. When the running game is not going good, the running game probably takes too much heat. It’s a team effort. If we went through all 19 of Doug’s carries we would see he had an explosive on the trap on the first drive [and] he had a nice seven-yard run that he bounced outside. Doug had a couple really nice runs that were four-yard gains.”

5. (On the offensive line): “I wouldn’t say attacking differently. I think (they are) just different defenses. Miami’s front did a good job. Their front four was physical and we were a little too high in our pad level at times. We did not do a great job of run blocking in this game, but that‘s an O-line thing. That’s a tight end thing. That’s a lead blocker issue. The running back is going to take the hit. Believe me if we thought Gale Sayers was sitting back there behind Doug, he’d be in there. I haven’t seen Gale out there.”

Murray nails the winning field goal./CARMEN MANDATO

Murray nails the winning field goal./CARMEN MANDATO

5 of the Best Takes

"Anyone who has watched this team for the past 15 years has seen some version of Sunday before, many times, though maybe not with this many turnovers (five) or penalties (17) that confirm a team in full disarray.”

-- Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel

"That’s how you lose to bad teams. You beat yourself. Hey, the Dolphins have made a living letting bad teams beat themselves the last two seasons. The Chargers (missed field goal) and Jets (awful interception) beat themselves against the Dolphins earlier this season. That’s what stings Sunday more than anything — the Bucs aren’t any good.

-- Hyde

"This Dolphins team has much to consider now. No, I’m not talking about gathering a game plan for next week. Nobody cares about that. That thing is moot.I’m talking about what to do going into the offseason. And next season. Because this season is a mess.

-- Armando Salguero, Miami Herald

"Sunday’s 30-20 loss to Tampa Bay was the most embarrassing and unforgivable loss of the season. And it was that not because of the score or the frustrating manner in which Miami lost, but because anyone with eyes knows the Bucs are bad. That was a terrible team with a backup journeyman quarterback that came to Hard Rock and whipped the Dolphins. The Bucs stink. And so the Dolphins stink more right now. We all see that clearly. It would be wise for the Dolphins to finally see it. Because that’s who they are. That’s what they are.

-- Salguero

"There’s no other way to explain why the  head coach refuses to hand Moore the keys to the Dolphins’ lemon of an offense, even though Moore seems to be the only person who can get it out of neutral. Moore doesn’t execute the offense as designed. Moore plays an unorthodox game. Moore isn’t disciplined enough to be an starter. That’s the justification — or excuse — the team has privately and publicly used for why Moore can’t, won’t, shouldn’t be the team’s starter unless Ryan Tannehill, and now Jay Cutlerare medically prevented from playing.

-- Omar Kelly, Sun-Sentinel

McCoy had seven tackles and a sack./CARMEN MANDATO

McCoy had seven tackles and a sack./CARMEN MANDATO

Game Balls

Offense: It has to go to Fitzpartrick, who started his season by being criticized for still bring in the league. But Fitzpatrick is 2-0 as a starter for the Bucs, the last win coming on a late drive for a winning field goal. Fitzpatrick makes a lot of throws that make you shake your head, but he's a calming influence in the huddle.

Defense: The Dolphins struggled to block nosetackle Gerald McCoy, who had seven tackles and a sack. Except for a 69-yard run early, the Dolphins were completely unable to run the ball.

Special teams: Can there be any doubt? Patrick Murray hit three field goals, including the game winner. Don't you wonder if Nick Folk telephoned Roberto Aguayo to talk about it?

Fitzgerald will start again this week./CARMEN MANDATO

Fitzgerald will start again this week./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Comebacks by Fitzpatrick

Dec. 6, 2015 – Playing for the Jets, Fitzpatrick and his teammates trailed the Giants 20-10 going into the fourth quarter. But Fitzpatrick's touchdown pass with 27 seconds left forced overtime, and the Bills won 23-20.

Nov. 24, 2013 – Fitzpatrick threw the winning touchdown with 10 seconds to play in a 23-19 comeback over the Raiders. For the day, he passed for 320 yards.

Nov. 15, 2005 – In his first come from behind win, Fitzpatrick and the Rams trailed 24-3 at the half. Fitzpatrick threw for 310 rds, however, and the Rams came back to win 33-23.

Sept. 25, 2011 – The Patriots would make it all the way to the Super Bowl. But they couldn't stop Fitzpatrick on this day. Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards in a 34-31 win over the Patriots, leading them to a field goal as time expired.

Dec. 19, 2015 – Dallas tied the game with 1:55 to play, but Fitzpatrick led the Jets from their own 20 to the Dallas 22 for a field goal with 36 seconds to play. For the day, he threw for 299 yards.

Fitzgerald has filled in admirably for Winston./CARMEN MANDATO

Fitzgerald has filled in admirably for Winston./CARMEN MANDATO

Quarterback Comparson

Winston                                                                 Fitzpatrick

  2-6                               Record                                       2-0

  240                         Yards per game                             164

 3.9                             TD percentage                              5.9

2.3                              Intercept percentage                   2.5

87.3                                 Rating                                       88.2

Godwin signals for the first down after catch./CARMEN MANDATO

Godwin signals for the first down after catch./CARMEN MANDATO


Quarterback – Fitzpatrick was efficient in his game-winning drive. For the day, however, he wasn't exactly explosive. Still, they remember the final chapter. Grade: B.

Running backs – This won't cut it. The Dolphins front four is good, but they've been gashed before. Grade: F.

Offensive line – Again, we are faced with a situation where the Bucs were pretty good against the pass but not so much against the run. Grade: C.

Wide recievers –Mike Evans had a solid day, but the talk is going to be about Chris Godwin, who had two huge catches on the winning drive. Grade: A-.

Defensive line – Against the run, they were very good for every play but one. But there still wasn't enough of a pass rush. Grade: C.

Linebackers: Kwon Alexander had a good game, and Lavonte David was as good as ever. Grade: A.

Defensive backs: Once Matt Moore came in, the Bucs were playing chase. Too many huge gains, and too much of it on third down. Grade: D.

Special teams: Solid, as we've come to expect. Grade: A.

Martin hasn't seen much daylight lately./CARMEN MANDATO

Martin hasn't seen much daylight lately./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Tough Days (This Year) for Doug Martin

Miami – Martin had 38 yards on 19 carries.

New Orleans – Martin had seven yards on eight carries.

Buffalo – Martin carried it 20 times but gained only 49 yards.

Jets – Martin carried it 20 times but gained only 51 yards.

Cardinals – Martin gained 53 yards on 14 carries.

Howard catches a touchdown from Fitzgerald./CARMEN MANDATO

Howard catches a touchdown from Fitzgerald./CARMEN MANDATO

Rookie tight ends

Evan Engram, Giants 41 452 5

George Kittle, 49ers 27 277 1

David Njoku, Browns 20 211 3

O.J. Howard, Bucs 17 279 4

Jonnu Smith, Titans 13 127 1

David leads the Bucs in tackles./CARMEN MANDATO

David leads the Bucs in tackles./CARMEN MANDATO

Leading tacklers

Player                                 Tackles     Assts    Total    NFL rank

1. Lavonte David 46 11 57 46

2. Kendall Beckwith 43 8 51 69, tie

3. Chris Conte 38 10 48 90, tie

4. Justin Evans 34 10 44 111th, tie

5. Vernon Hargreaves 37 5 42 122, tie

Top Rookie Wide Receivers

1. Cooper Kupp          38            461

2. JuJu Smith-Schuster   33    568

3. Zay Jones, Bills             20    126

4. Corey Davis, Titans      16    176

5. Chris Godwin,                15    189

Kwon Alexander led the Bucs in tackles against Miami./CARMEN MANDATO

Kwon Alexander led the Bucs in tackles against Miami./CARMEN MANDATO

Defensive Stats

Category                 NFL Rank

Total Defense             29

Passing defense         31

Sacks                            29

Opp. QB rating          24

Points per game         16

Evans caught five passes for 92 yards./CARMEN MANDATO

Evans caught five passes for 92 yards./CARMEN MANDATO

Mike Evans' Decline

He has missed a game because of suspension. He has more targets around him. His quarterback has been hurt. Whatever the reason, Mike Evans' numbers are down for the season. The numbers, through 10 games.

2016                                                                                 2017

121                                   Targets                                      84

 65                                   Catches                                      45

916                                    Yards                                      624

   8                                 Touchdowns                                4

 14..1                            Yards/Reception                      13.9

Looking Ahead

5 Best Falcons

Claude Humphrey

Deion Sanders

Tommy Nobis

Julio Jones

Matt Ryan

Favorite Atlanta Falcons

Alex Hawkins

Greg Brezina

Warrick Dunn

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson

Matt Bryant

Best Game

Vinny Testaverde won. Ray Perkins lost.

And in the middle, the Bucs took one of their biggest wins, a 23-17 victory over the Falcons in 1990.

Testaverde threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns, including an 89-yarder to Willie Drewery. He threw the game's winning touchdown pass with 39 seconds to play.

The comeback wasn't enough for Perkins, however, who was fired the day after the game. "I hate to think what they would have done if he had lost," said Atlanta coach Jerry Glanville.

{ 0 comments… read it below or Subscriptions }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: