The Bucs’ losing streak finally ends thanks to a good all-around effort.
The Tampa defense, facing a much worse unit, played like its capable of all day long in limiting the Titans to a paltry 209 total yards. Rookie Will Levis was on the opposite side of the performance spectrum compared to C.J. Stroud from last week, as he failed to crack 200 yards passing and completed just 19 of 39 passes with no scores and one interception.
The offense was generally efficient despite multiple miscues, and there were some encouraging tendencies that will need to translate over to next week when they play a much more difficult opponent on the road in the San Francisco 49ers.
Let’s do victory shoutouts for the first time in more than a month.
Offensive Top Performer: WR Mike Evans
Evans never seems to shake his nagging drop issues, and they were especially rough on Sunday with a bobble on a key early third down and then an absolute gimme touchdown that fell through his hands.
However, Evans also abused the Tennessee secondary all day long and still recorded his second-best outing of the year with 6 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown — including a huge 44-yard catch and then a fantastic display of strength on his score. Even with the hiccups, Evans can still be elite and game-changing.
Mike Evans is too strong
— NFL (@NFL) November 12, 2023
Rachaad White recorded his third straight contest of being an impact presence in the passing game. He took a wonderfully executed screen pass 43 yards to the house for Tampa’s longest scoring play of the year. He came just shy of his 3rd straight 100-yard game, recording 98 overall yards on 22 touches. It’s worth noting that several carries late were just meant to burn clock with the game well in hand and Baker Mayfield seemingly taking it easy due to a thumb injury, so the averages were really better than they ended up being.
Rachaad White had just a 1.1% chance of scoring a touchdown when he caught the ball on his 43-yard TD.
Yards After Catch: 49
Expected YAC: 17
YAC over Expected: +32
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 12, 2023
Speaking of whom, Mayfield played well again and did enough to ensure the win. A shaky start and drops affected his final stat line, but even then he went 18 of 29 for 278 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception that was really more like an arm punt.
Defensive Top Performer: DT Calijah Kancey
Tampa’s first-round pick is arriving in a big way. Kancey’s electric speed and advanced skillset are starting to get the better of NFL guards, and the result Sunday was his best day as a pro.
Kancey recorded two tackles for loss, and he became the first rookie to notch back-to-back weeks with multiple TFLs since 2021 when Jaelan Phillips and Micah Parsons accomplished the feat — pretty good company. He also took sole possession of second place for TFLs among rookies with 6, passing the heralded Jalen Carter (who has played basically three more games).
The team still needs more consistent edge production, but Kancey and Vita Vea, who recorded a sack himself on Sunday, are doing their jobs on the interior.
Absolute masterclass by Vita Vea:
– Dillard false starts
– Vea gets his helmet ripped off with hands to the face
– Will Levis still gets sacked for a 9yd loss pic.twitter.com/qYVC7rqb6R
— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) November 12, 2023
On the note of edges though, YaYa Diaby was another rookie to make some noise. He tallied a sack, two QB hits, and two tackles for loss as he continues to gain valuable experience and make his case for higher snaps.
The secondary partially redeemed itself with a much better performance, as Jamel Dean kept DeAndre Hopkins in check with just 3 catches for 27 yards and Antoine Winfield led the team in tackles (6 total) and notched an interception — remarkably the first by a starting Bucs safety or corner this year.
Special Teams Top Performer: K Chase McLaughlin
Another perfect day for McLaughlin helps him maintain his hold on this distinction. Two-for-two on field goals improved his yearly tally to 17 of 19, and he also hit two extra points to remain perfect (15 for 15).
We’ll soon be talking about an extension for the 27-year-old, who may be in line for his first Pro Bowl nod.