The bad news: we lost yet another game (or for those of you who want the Bucs to tank this might actually be good news). The good news: Jameis Winston played an outstanding game! Winston passed for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns, did not turn the ball over, and brought Tampa Bay back in Field goal range with a chance to tie the game as time was winding down. Unfortunately, Kicker Patrick Murray could not take advantage and missed a very difficult Field Goal from over 50 yards. Nonetheless, the offense’s performance, especially Winston’s, was very solid against one of the better defenses in football right now. The game could have easily taken a different direction in favor of Tampa Bay if Mike Evans had not been called for offensive pass interference on two big plays which were negated by the referees. In addition to that, Running Back Peyton Barber turned the ball over inside Atlanta’s five-yard line as the Bucs were on a roll and on the verge of tying the game. Other than that Barber played well, as he was filling in for the surprisingly suspended Doug Martin.
Our injury-plagued defense did not play well. Devonta Freeman ran with authority and punished our defenders. Tampa Bay’s pass rush was non-existant for most part of the game, giving Matt Ryan all day to find his targets. Clinton McDonald, however, recorded the Buccaneers’ only sack of the game in a very crucial situation late in the fourth quarter. To make matters even worse, our talented Rookie Safety Justin Evans did not finish the game as he was forced to leave early with an injury. The emergence of Justin Evans has been one of the few bright spots of our defense this season.
All in all, this game had a lot of positives. We did NOT embarrass ourselves in front of the whole nation, as many expected, not at all. We could easily have taken this game if a few more things had gone our way. Jameis’ performance was excellent and leaves plenty of hope for a bright future! Coming up on Sunday is another divisional game in Carolina.