SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Bucs playing on the West Coast is like the Titanic going on the road to play the iceberg. Not good.
Tampa Bay's away record against the 49ers was 2-12. Make that three wins now after Sunday's 34-17 victory. The Bucs fell behind 14-0 but then ripped off 27 unanswered points.
Turned out to be a heck of a trip. Beautiful weather. Awesome scenery. And a victory. So give the travel agent an A for setting up a nice trip, and now here are some other grades from Tampa Bay's victory.
JOSE, CAN YOU SING? (Grade: D-)
For the record, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (below, center) took a knee for the national anthem. After hearing the performance by (name withheld to avoid embarrassment), it's a surprise he didn't stand then run for the exits. Think old Bob Dylan meets a garbage disposal.
MIKE CHECK (Grade: A)
How many receivers in the game are better than the Bucs' Mike Evans? The Bucs were without Vincent Jackson, meaning the 49ers could gang up on Evans. But the Bucs receiver still carved them up for eight catches and 96 yards and two touchdowns. This guy is putting up huge numbers, and he's only 23 years old and in his third year. And he has dropped his drops from a season ago. Scary.
KICK IN THE GRASS (Grade: Incomplete)
I was about to say it was a good day for K Roberto Aguayo, the kind of day that makes you see why the Bucs spent a second-round pick on him. But then he totally shanked a 50-yarder that just looked, uh, weird. Left it short and kicked it wide right. Just was … weird.
CHIPS AND DIPS (Grade: A)
Once upon a time, Chip Kelly was supposed to coach the Bucs. He pulled out, the Bucs hired Greg Schiano. Then Lovie Smith. Then Dirk Koetter. Kelly has gone from Philadelphia to San Francisco. So, did the Bucs miss a great chance to hire a good coach or dodge a bullet? For now, the Bucs should be happy with what they have. Coaching grade Sunday is for Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith.
IT KEEPS YOU RUNNING (Grade: A+)
No Doug Martin. No problem. The Bucs continue to pound the rock, even with their top two backs — Martin and Charles Sims — out with injury. Jacquizz Rodgers had another career day (154 yards on 26 carries), and Peyton Barber had a close-the-door 44-yard touchdown run.
SACK LUNCH (Grade: A)
Bucs' sack of the year? No question: Jude Adjei-Barimah. Wait, isn't he a cornerback? Yep. On a corner blitz, "Hey Jude" blew up 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick midway through the third quarter and forced a fumble recovered by DT Gerald McCoy. That set up a Bucs touchdown and a 27-14 Tampa Bay lead.