Tonight, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended their six game losing streak against the Carolina Panthers by defeating them 17-14 with the help of Roberto Aguayo’s game winner, which should boost his confidence. Also, forcing four turnovers helped give the Buccaneers a 8:58 minutes difference in the time of possession department. This win improves the Bucs record to 2-3, and landing second place in the NFC South standings.
Now, after this team effort, I saw some players perform at a more impressive rate over others. In this win, Bradley McDougald, Jacquizz Rodgers, Mike Evans, DaVonte Lambert, and the key plays by Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves stood out.
First off, entering the game, the defensive line was in for a rude awaking, but DaVonte Lambert steered the line into holding the Panthers to only 136 rushing yards. The pass rush was not really a factor, but they made the Panthers a one-dimensional offense and forced backup Derek Anderson to make plays with his arm. Lambert finished the game with a key force fumble and four tackles.
Next, Bradley McDougald was one of the only Buccaneers to slow down Greg Olsen. The safety played well in both the pass and run game, as he notched eight tackles and one pass deflection. He was making plays all over the gridiron. A big notable play by the Kansas product was when he gave Olsen a nice hit near the sidelines to force an incomplete pass.
Furthermore, the running game gave the Bucs offense life to give Winston some room make some passes, as the Panthers’ defense was thinking all night on what play the Bucs will call. Jacquizz Rodgers was the man of the match for me. He was the bell cow. He piled up 30 carries for 101 hard fought yards. The former Falcon also picked up five catches for 28 yards, plus he picking up blitzs well. Interestingly, I do think Rodgers stole some playing time from Martin with this performance.
On the other side, all thanks to Rodgers, Mike Evans was able to reel in six catches for 89 yards. He scored one touchdown, as before he scored, he destroyed the ankles of the Panthers’ cornerback.
In addition to the list, Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves were actually playing good football. Hargreaves had a nice step to the ball that he tipped up for Daryl Smith, which resulted in an interception. Also, Brent Grimes got a big time interception in the end zone. He showed off his ups and proved the ESPN staff that short corners can hang in the air with big receivers like Kelvin Benjamin.
Finally, the Bucs will have week six off. This bye week will be beneficial to the team, as they should be getting many defensive linemen back from injury (Ayers, McCoy, McDonald) and two key offensive pieces (Martin, Stocker).