Wed. Apr 24th, 2024
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Bucs
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bucs still need to sort things out but looked a little better Sunday

Tampa is still a team that needs to quickly find answers, but for the time being a 21-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons should take the edge off.

It should’ve been a contest that the Bucs won by several scores, but a terrible 4th quarter allowed the Falcons to get within 6 points. It was only thanks to the help of some questionable officiating decisions that the Bucs’ offense managed to put the game away late.

Nevertheless, a lot of players did show out so we’ll give some credit.

Offensive Top Performer: QB Tom Brady

Brady has lost 3 games in a row once, and that was 20 years ago. Coming in, he held a 10-0 record against the Falcons, including that one very notable comeback.

So yeah, him being on his A game was one of the safer bets you could mark down on your sportsbook ticket.

Brady lit up the Atlanta secondary in the first half, going 24 of 33 for 256 yards before finishing 35 of 52 for 351 yards and a score. With how ineffective the run game has been, Brady’s efficiency is a saving grace for an offense that needs an identity.

While Fournette again looked iffy on the ground — a couple big runs making his 14 for 56 line look better than it was — he looked extremely effective in the pass game. Large Head Lenny caught a career-high 10 passes for 83 yards, and his two total scores proved pivotal in putting enough distance between the two division foes.

Mike Evans looked like he scored on an excellent 40-yard reception, but I’m sure he’ll settle for 4 receptions for 80 yards, including this phenomenal grab.

Lastly, rookie Cade Otton got the most action of his young career and delivered. He caught 6 balls for 43 yards, serving as a valuable safety valve for Brady. If he’s getting more comfortable in the passing game, he should take over as primary tight end over Cam Brate, who simply lacks the athletic upside and blocking ability of the younger Otton.

Defensive Top Performer: DB Antoine Winfield Jr.

The Bucs notched 5 sacks throughout the day, but the most important might’ve come from Winfield Jr.

With the Falcons driving at the end of the first half for a score, Winfield delivered a huge takedown of Marcus Mariota and forced a fumble that made it a much more difficult field goal attempt for Atlanta. Not only did Younghoe Koo miss his 52-yarder, but that field position allowed the Bucs to steal a field goal prior to halftime instead.

Given how the game would play out, that six-point swing proved massively valuable. Winfield totaled 8 tackles and a pass defensed as well, further cementing himself as an elite defensive back.

Joe Tryon-Shoyinka produced maybe his best outing of the year, as he logged his first full sack of the year and created other pressures as a consistent nuisance. Rookie Logan Hall flashed a few times too, as did Vita Vea. The latter really needs to get right after a rough first month, and Sunday was a good sign.

Deadrin Senat, a former Falcon who suffered from myriad injuries, is finally healthy and proving to be a valuable contributor with Akiem Hicks out. Senat has helped shore up the run defense a little bit and even notched his first career sack.

Special Teams Top Performer: PR Jaelon Darden

Uneven punts from Jake Camarda and some bad coverage from the gunners give this one to Darden by default, who notched a pair of nice returns for 40 total yards.

Helping to keep the team out of bad field position and not turning the ball over is all you can ask from Darden, who has generally been invisible through the first 5 weeks.

By admin