In what amounted to a wild must-win game the Buccaneers’ offense puts some of its larger pieces together! Ultimately defeating the Carolina Panthers, securing the NFC South, and a playoff spot. Here are my thoughts and grades after the game.
The Run Game
What amounts to the missing and final piece to having a fully balanced and well-rounded team the run game disappointed in full fashion, again. In total the team had 25 attempts for 67 yards. Amounting to an abysmal 2.7 yards a carry. By the game’s finish, they had six first downs via the run and one touchdown. Leonard Fournette led the team with 10 carries for 28 yards (2.8 yards a carry).
Though there were some flashes, but the run game never really flourished. In first and ten situations, a contentious play at all times for Buccaneers fans, the team had a clear cut leader. Even though his numbers were poor, Fournette averaged 2.5 yards a carry on first downs while Rachaad White averaged only 1.3 yards. Of the 17 first and ten runs only two left them in second and short situations.
If Ryan Jensen can come back at full health he will provide a boost to the run game. Until then the run will continue to hamper this offense.
Run Grade: D
In clearly one of Tom Brady’s best games of the season the offense showed poise and the threat they can actually bring to the field. Brady posted his best totals yards, second best completion percentage, and best yards per pass in a game this season. Giving him his best quarterback rating of the season and best QBR on the year. The biggest change in the right direction was the Brady to Mike Evans connection.
Taking more deep shot this week Brady had three long touchdowns to Evans with a 63, 57, and 30 yard darts. Needless to say it looks like they found their chemistry. Adding to the mix and not forgotten, Chris Godwin had over 100 yards in this game a well.
The rookie tight ends struggled this game. On more than one occasion they dropped key passes, were unable to keep defenders at bay, and keep running into open space. There is much room for improvement there.
What I observed today was Brady had more trust in his offensive line and made his way through some progressions when normally (this season) he would have taken a quick underneath throw.
Passing Grade: A
Final Thoughts and Grades
Given the explosiveness we saw this week the play calling should receive a positive grade. But with how many wide receiver screens I saw, not a single half back screen, and poor run game design I can only give play calling a C+. Execution stood out with a few hiccups. The tight ends as mentioned and the run game drag this grade down. C.
Overall the offense earns a B-
I’m left wondering how much they can improve with just the addition of Jensen. The biggest question is, will Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles learn from this game? Let’s hope so because this team is going to the playoffs!
The Bucs Report/ Sports Talk Florida Postgame Show!
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