Wed. Jun 12th, 2024
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tampa Bay Bucs
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

‘Twas a beating before Christmas, and the cannons fired all throughout Raymond James Stadium.

It’s Christmas Day! The sounds of freshly tattered wrapping paper echo through the halls, the aroma of a winter morning brew pleasantly perfumes the air, and Victory Monday rings true in the hearts and minds of little Bucs fans everywhere.

Yes, it’s indeed the season for giving…massive beatings to struggling opponents like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who looked overwhelmed from whistle to whistle as Tampa Bay recorded its most resounding win of the season, 30-12.

The offense, long maligned through the months of October and November, has fully kicked into gear over the last month. Baker Mayfield is riding high, Mike Evans is having one of the best seasons of his career, and everyone generally looks more confident as the franchise is just one win away from a third consecutive division crown.

Let’s shout out some top performers and enjoy some holly jolly victory vibes.

Offensive Top Performer: WR Mike Evans

With two more scores, Evans is now leading the league in receiving touchdowns with 13 total. He logged 7 receptions for 86 yards, finessing multiple defenders with his underrated route-running prowess and top-notch jump ball skills.

He’s clearly locked in sync with Mayfield right now, and that bodes incredibly well for the team’s short- and long-term success — and yes, I definitively say “long-term” because it sure feels likely both players will be around next season.

Speaking of No. 6, he ran over the Jags in the first half (figuratively and literally) like a reindeer running over grandma…RIP, grandma and Duval.

After going 19-of-24 for 193 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, Mayfield finished 26-of-35 for 283 yards as he’s been red-hot in the month of December. He’s got to clutch up one more time, and I wouldn’t bet against him.

Defensive Top Performer: EDGE YaYa Diaby

Meanwhile, the Bucs seem to have officially hit on a rookie edge rusher with YaYa Diaby. Diaby logged his best game as a pro with 5 total tackles (2 for loss) to go with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The 24-year-old now touts 6.5 sacks, which leads the team, and 9 TFL in 2023, and the arrow is only pointing up since seizing the starting role from former first-rounder Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.

Of course, Antoine Winfield, Jr. also remained spectacular. He doesn’t need validation from a small-time blogger like me, but him usually gripping a stranglehold on this honor (and I try my hardest to justify other players!) further reinforces how incredibly good he’s been this year.

He racked up stats on stats, totaling 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery and an interception. On the season, he now has 110 total tackles, 11 pass breakups, 5 forced fumbles, 5 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, and 3 interceptions — also spelled more succinctly as “Give him his damn first-team All-Pro.”

Similarly a stalwart, Lavonte David played like his usual pristine self with 8 total tackles and a sack.

More surprisingly, and refreshingly, was Devin White returning from his injury and related drama to play a key role in the victory. White grabbed the Bucs’ first interception of the game and notched a half-sack as well to go along with 4 total tackles while splitting time with K.J. Britt. Who knows if he can create any consistently, but it’s nice to see it in this moment at least.

Special Teams Top Performer: K Chase McLaughlin

Show up to stadium, crush every kick attempt that’s requested, go home.

That’s been McLaughlin’s concise itinerary and every week is the same story. He deserves the recognition every time, with this game providing 3 more field goals (with a long of 51) and 3 extra points to further expand on his impressive 2023 totals — 26-of-28 on field goals, 32-of-32 on extra points.

Or, spelled more succinctly as “Give him his damn All-Pro.”

By admin