DLT’s Doubloons – Brady Breaks The Bills Hearts Yet Again

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers blew a 21 point halftime lead and found themselves in overtime against the Buffalo Bills, but Bucs’ QB Tom Brady broke Buffalo fans’ hearts again and sent Raymond James Stadium into euphoria with a 58-yd touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman to capture Tampa Bay’s 10th victory of the season.

What I Liked

  • The Bucs’ utter dominance in the first half.
  • The Bucs’ 3rd down defense.
  • Mike Evans’ unbelievable highlight-reel touchdown catch.
  • Three sacks of Josh Allen in the first half.

What I Didn’t

  • The Bills’ utter dominance in the second half.
  • The Bucs’ offense going ice cold in the second half.
  • The Buccaneers’ second-half run defense.
  • Basically, the second half.

Pieces of Eight

One

Well, that one sure wasn’t for the faint of heart was it? The Bucs absolutely dominated the first half, building a 24-3 racking up 303 yds in the first half against the league’s top defense, including 216 through the air by Brady. It was a butt-whooping of epic proportions.

The Bucs pretty much sleepwalked through the third quarter, allowing Buffalo to pull within 14 before Brady marched the Buccaneers on an 11 play, 84-yard drive. Had it ended in six points, the ball game may have been over – but Buffalo held on for a field goal and Tampa Bay had a 17 point lead with 11:20 left in the ball game.

Then, Josh Allen put on a superman cape and somehow willed the Buffalo Bills to a tie game (and almost damn near won the thing in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter). It was stunning to see the Bucs blow that lead – it’s not something they typically do, but Buffalo was a desperate football team that needed this win badly. Once Allen led a 70 yd scoring drive in a lightning quick 2:13 seconds to pull the Bills within 10, and then the Bucs went three-and-out from their own 10 yd line (thanks to a penalty on the kickoff), with only bleeding 51 seconds off the clock, you knew Tampa Bay was in trouble.

After surviving Buffalo’s final drive – a 14-play, 70-yard drive that narrowly ended with a Tyler Bass 25 yard field goal (and trust me, the Bucs were thankful that’s all they got), Buffalo got the ball to start overtime and a feeling of dread began to hang over Raymond James Stadium.

The defense was exhausted, Tampa Bay’s pass rushers weren’t dominating as they did in the first half and looked gassed after chasing Allen around the ballpark all day. Would Tom Brady even see the football in overtime?

Somehow, someway, the Buccaneers defense made one more 3rd down stop in overtime, but Buffalo’s punter uncorked a 63-yd bomb that pinned Tampa Bay back at their own 6-yard line. Admit it, Bucs fans. Memories of Jameis Winston’s last pass as a Buccaneer danced in your mind (at least it did for me). Brady and the Bucs would get out of the hole marching to the Tampa Bay 42 yd line. Facing 3rd-and-2, Brady found Breshard Perriman late on a crossing route and Perriman turned on the jets, zipping 58 yards for an earth-shattering touchdown that rocked Ray Jay (and all of upstate New York).

You’ll hear about Perriman’s story all day today. First round bust out of Central Florida, he’s bounced around seven teams, including a previous stop in Tampa Bay where he had his best season as a pro. He was re-signed in Tampa last month after being released by the Lions and the Bears, where he languished on the Bucs’ practice squad until a couple of weeks ago when he replaced Scotty Miller as the Bucs’ deep threat while Antonio Brown recovered from his ankle injury and served his suspension for faking his vaccination card in training camp.

Unbelievable that it was Perriman, of all the Bucs’ weapons, to stick the dagger in the Bills.

Two

Buffalo is a hell of a football team and Josh Allen is a great quarterback. How this team is 7-6 is astonishing to me. It could be Buffalo’s offensive line, which was manhandled by the Bucs’ front seven in the first half. When the teams returned from halftime, Allen knew if they had any chance, he had to do it.

That kid gave every single ounce he had. Buffalo’s top-ranked defense finally figured out a way to slow down Brady, who missed some uncharacteristic throws he typically makes and the Bills roared back to life, matching Tampa Bay’s first-half 24-3 domination with a 24-3 second-half domination of their own.

I’ll be honest, I was stunned when the Bucs jumped to such a large lead and seemed to outclass this Bills team. I was equally shocked at how Allen led the Bills back and had the Buccaneers on the ropes about to go down.

I’m not sure how the Bucs survived this game, but they did and the Bills took another tough loss, while Tampa Bay stayed undefeated at home with a chance to wrap up the NFC South next week against the hated Saints.

Allen was in a walking boot after the game, I’m hoping the kid will be okay and that Buffalo will be able to recover from these two losses and make it into the postseason. I would absolutely love to see a rematch of this game in Los Angeles in February.

Three

I don’t know how Mike Evans can be so constantly underrated. Yes, he does tend to disappear from time to time but Evans is easily one of the premier receivers in the National Football League. He had some clutch catches on 3rd down on Sunday and his touchdown will be on highlight reels all season. He’s now just 115 yds away from his record setting 8th consecutive 1,000 yd season and entering tonight’s Monday Night Football game is tied with LA’s Cooper Kupp for the league lead in touchdown receptions at 11.

While Godwin, AB, and Gronk get all the headlines, Evans quietly does his job and does it better than any Buccaneer receiver in franchise history.

Perriman even credited Evans with the “legal pick play” that sprung him for his game winning score.

Four

What else can be said about Tom Brady that hasn’t already been said? The G.O.A.T. is wrapping up his second season in Tampa Bay, but he’s already provided Buccaneers fans a lifetime of memories.

Never has our team been this good. Not last year, not in 2002. This is an elite football team.

Never has our quarterback been this outstanding. That says more about the guys the Bucs’ have had a quarterback than Brady, but take nothing away from this quarterback – what he’s doing is simply astonishing.

Never have Buc fans believed in their team more than they do now.

Never have the standards been higher – we’re disappointed when they don’t score 30 points, as if it happens all the time in this league.

While the Bucs have a great team and coaching staff around him, this new normal for the Buccaneers organization can be attributed directly to TB12. He’s taught the Buccaneers organization from top to bottom how to be a championship caliber team.

I don’t know how much longer we will have Tom Brady. This could be his last season, or next year may be it, or maybe 5 more years down the line – who knows? I just know we, as Buccaneers fans, need to enjoy every second of it. Finishes like Sunday, we’re usually the fans leaving in utter disappointment, not exalting in victory.

Enjoy this. This is not how the N.F.L. is supposed to work and it’s definitely not typical for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Five

Man, the Buccaneers sure are snake bit in the secondary. It would be nice to get through one game with none of the top corners on the team missing any snaps. Heck, Richard Sherman was only supposed to play safety in emergencies and played 20 snaps.

Early in the game, Carlton Davis left with an undisclosed injury. He would later return. Then Jamel Dean left in the second half feeling a little “woozy”. Remember, Dean was coming off a concussion. He passed all the protocols but it’s possible he was still feeling some effects.

Jordan Whitehead is still out with a lower-body injury. Can the Bucs’ secondary be fully intact in the playoffs? They’ll need to be to compete with the best teams in the NFC.

Six

Buffalo Bills fans feel they were jobbed by the refs during Sunday’s game. Typically I discard this as fans whining because their team lost but after rewatching the game once I got home last night – I have to admit, the Bucs lucked out on some non-calls and some questionable calls that went in their favor.

Most egregiously, Carlton Davis was holding Stefon Diggs all night long, including a deep pass late in the first half that should have been an obvious DPI where he literally pulled Diggs jersey as the speedy wideout got past him. Davis III was tugging and pulling on Diggs all night. Buffalo’s top weapon would finish with 7 receptions for 74 yds on 13 targets.

I also think the pass interference call drawn by Gronk in the 2nd quarter on 3rd-and-5 was a bit ticky-tack. That would eventually lead to a Bucs’ touchdown. The one Evans drew in overtime was awful – in fact, Evans could have been called for OPI more than the defender for DPI. Yet the crowd moaned and the flag was thrown. The fans drew those penalties with a roar and I think there was definitely some home cookin’ going on for the refs. It wasn’t all Buccaneers though, the refs missed an obvious Buffalo defensive pass interference on a pass to Gronk in the fourth quarter and called a real weak roughing the passer call on Will Ghoston (who was blocked into Josh Allen) during Buffalo’s final touchdown drive.

I don’t think there’s some grand NFL conspiracy to get Tom Brady back to the Super Bowl. The Refs suck. We all know this. The Bucs have had their fair share of bad calls this season, too. In my estimation, these things often even themselves out.  Still, I do think Bills fans have a right to be salty.

Seven

The Bucs were hoping to wrap up the NFC South on Sunday, but unfortunately, the New York Jets just weren’t up to the task of keeping the Saints reeling. New Orleans thrashed New York 30 to 6, although it should be noted that Sean Payton was his typical a-hole self, running it up on the poor Jets with three scores in the final five minutes to turn a 10 point game into a 24 point game. The Falcons did their job, beating Carolina and eliminating them from the NFC South mix. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they got eliminated from the NFC South race, too, as soon as Brady hit Perriman for the game winning touchdown in overtime.

The chase for the number one seed is still TBD with the top seeded Cardinals hosting the Rams tonight. If the Rams win, the Buccaneers will move to the second seed and the Cardinals tumble to the third. Green Bay would take over the top spot thanks to their owning of the Chicago Bears yet again.

Eight

Here it is. The opportunity the Bucs have been waiting for. Sunday Night Football. It will be a Red Out (the Bucs encourage all their fans to wear Red jerseys or t-shirts for the game). Tampa Bay can slay the dragon that is the New Orleans Saints and take the NFC South crown from their cold dead hands. Nothing would be sweeter than to end the Saints’ reign of terror on this division by blasting them on National Television. Can the Bucs do it or will the Saints keep that voodoo going?

DLT’s Who to Root For This Week

NFC Playoff Standings Table
Tm W L T Position Reason
Arizona Cardinals (1) 10 2 0 West Champion
Green Bay Packers (2) 10 3 0 North Champion conference win percentage
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3) 10 3 0 South Champion
Dallas Cowboys (4) 9 4 0 East Champion
Los Angeles Rams (5) 8 4 0 Wild Card #1
San Francisco 49ers (6) 7 6 0 Wild Card #2
Washington Football Team (7) 6 7 0 Wild Card #3 conference win percentage
Minnesota Vikings 6 7 0 win percentage in common games
Philadelphia Eagles 6 7 0 head-to-head record
Atlanta Falcons 6 7 0 head-to-head record
New Orleans Saints 6 7 0
Carolina Panthers 5 8 0 conference win percentage
Seattle Seahawks 5 8 0
New York Giants 4 9 0 conference win percentage
Chicago Bears 4 9 0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/13/2021.

 

Tonight: Root for the LA Rams to beat Arizona

Depending on what happens tonight on Monday Night Football, this table may drastically change. If the Rams beat Arizona, the Cardinals fall to 10-3 and lose the tie-breaker to both Tampa Bay and Green Bay. Green Bay will move to the one seed, Tampa Bay to two and the Cardinals drop to the three seed. If Arizona wins, nothing changes.

For the rest of the week:

Detroit to beat Arizona – Yeah, I know.

Philadelphia to beat the Washington Football Team  – Improves the Bucs’ strength of victory tie-breaker metric.

Atlanta to beat San Francisco – Now that the Falcons are no longer a threat in the NFC South, the Bucs would love to see them win a bunch of games to improve Tampa Bay’s strength of victory and strength of schedule metrics.

Baltimore to beat Green Bay – Both teams’ QB’s are nursing injuries. Rodgers likely will play, will Lamar? If the Ravens can pull off the win, it knocks the Packers behind Tampa Bay (assuming the Buccaneers take care of business against the Saints) and depending on what happens tonight in Arizona, potentially up to the number one seed.

Seattle to beat the LA Rams – Doesn’t really affect the Bucs as tie-breakers go, but keeping the Rams away from the NFC West title just in case Tampa Bay and Arizona stumble down the stretch would be a good thing. If the Rams win, it does improve the Bucs’ strength of schedule metric, but honestly, that one is so far down the tie-breaker list it hardly ever comes into play, and strength of victory is more important. SOV is not affected either way in this one.

Chicago to beat Minnesota – Helps the Bucs’ SOV.

Tweet of the Game

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