Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Chiefs report card: Tampa Bay excels in every way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Want to know why the Bucs beat the Chiefs on Sunday? Because they were the better team. Simple as that. They deserved to win. They were better on offense. On defense. On special teams. They won the turnover battle, had way more yards (442-343) and dominated the time of possession (35:18-24:42). The final score was 19-17. It easily could have been something like 31-17. Or worse. Here's our game report card. Get ready for plenty of good grades for our star pupil, the Bucs:

Good times

If Bucs receiver Mike Evans was distracted by his controversial week in the aftermath of his national anthem protest before the previous game of Donald Trump's election as president, it didn't show. He stood for the anthem, then went out and played a heck of a game. He had six catches for 105 yards. None was bigger than his catch to give Tampa Bay a first down with just more than two minutes left to all but ice the win. "It feels awesome,'' Evans said. This guy is proving to be among football's best. GRADE: A

Cheering for the other guy

The Chiefs fans are considered among the loudest in the league, but boy, did they mess up big time. They didn't realize that their "war chant" is the same as Florida State's, the chant that used to pump up Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston in his college days. "It made me feel at home,'' Winston said. He even did the chant with the fans at the beginning of the game. Grade for Chiefs fans: F

Kicking the habit

How about that Roberto Aguayo? The Bucs kicker, the target of criticism and ridicule in the first part of the season, has become Mr. Reliable. He made all five of his kicks Sunday, four field goals and an extra point. And he was perfect in less than ideal conditions. As coach Dirk Koetter said, it wasn't like he was kicking in Siberia, but with the temperature in the 40s and a stiff breeze blowing, it wasn't Florida, either. Aguayo has made eight of his past nine field goals and looks like, well, a second-round draft pick. He had a much better day than most NFL kickers. Grade: A

Mellow yellow

Coach Dirk Koetter wouldn't bite on it after the game, but his team was much more disciplined than it had been in recent memory. Last week against the Bears, it was penalized nine times for 85 yards. The week before that against the Falcons, it was flagged 11 times for 85 yards. Sunday? Just seven times for a mere 42 yards. Not only do the Bucs deserve a good grade, but the officials do, too. They didn't take over the game, as we've seen officials do this season. The Bucs, Chiefs and refs all deserve high marks. Grade: A

Traffic jam

There might not be a more lovely sports complex in America than what Kansas City has with Arrowhead Stadium and Royals Stadium sharing a giant parking lot. They are two old stadiums — both built in the early 1970s — that have more than stood the test of time. They are as pleasing to the eye as any venue in football or baseball. But if you're going to a Chiefs game, you might want to leave early. Like five hours early. Or else you'll be stuck in traffic, frustratingly seeing Arrowhead through the thick haze of tailgaters' grills cooking up the best barbecue in the country. It's right there, oh so close, but actually getting to it takes forever on the one road leading to the stadium. Can we get another road or two? At the least, could someone hand us a chicken leg while we sit in traffic? GRADE: D

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