Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants at Bucs: 5 things you might have missed

TAMPA— On a day of drops and disappointment, here are five things you might have missed in the Bucs' 32-18 loss to the Giants.

1. The quiet production of WR Adam Humphries

The undrafted rookie, promoted from the practice squad 10 days ago, came through with five catches for 55 yards, catching every pass on which he was targeted. Humphries had a big third-down conversion and connected with QB Jameis Winston much better than fellow rookie WR Donteea Dye, who had one catch for 4 yards on four targets.

"Jameis put the ball on the money," Humphries said. "It was good to go out there and get the opportunity to make some plays."

2. Mike Evans had eight catches for 152 yards amid his six drops

Sunday was a prime example of where Evans has struggled this year. Of the top 50 receivers in the NFL, none has caught a lower percentage of his targeted passes than Evans, who went into the game catching 45 percent of them.

Eight catches Sunday on 19 balls thrown his way were barely below his average, but the misses were more glaring because of six flagrant drops, costly misses that were drive-killers in the second half.

"He's playing his tail off, and when it started raining, all eyes are on him," QB Jameis Winston said. "It's a lot of pressure, but nine times out of 10, he's going to come through."

Unfortunately for Evans, with 32 catches out of 73 targeted passes for the season, his production is about half of that. Being without injured WR Vincent Jackson means tougher coverage for Evans, but that had nothing to do with his drops Sunday.

3. Keith Tandy stepping up at safety

The Bucs started the game with only three safeties — Major Wright and D.J. Swearinger were out with injuries — and then they lost Bradley McDougald to a concussion, giving them no reserves behind starter Chris Conte and backup Keith Tandy.

Tandy, a special teams player who had six total tackles in the first seven games, had eight tackles in the loss — only LBs Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander had more — including a tackle for loss.

4. Gerald McCoy is being silenced by opponents

The tackle faces more double teams and extra coverage than any Bucs player, but opposing offenses have effectively taken him out of the past two games.

For the second week in a row, McCoy was held to a single tackle. In the past three games, he has zero sacks and four total tackles. And usually the extra attention devoted to McCoy frees up other pass-rushers to take advantage of one-on-ones, but the Bucs had zero sacks Sunday, and the defensive line had zero tackles for loss in 73 Giants plays.

McCoy had a more complete disappearance after the game, when the team leader and co-captain declined to speak with reporters. He's frustrated, understandably, but needs to step up now, not fade away.

5. Buzz Aldrin took in Sunday's game

As part of the team's "Salute to Service" honoring the military, Aldrin — the second man to set foot on the moon in 1969 — donned a No. 11 jersey (for Apollo 11) and saluted the crowd from the pirate ship as he was honored as the team's "Hero of the Game."

If seeing an American icon wasn't enough of a thrill, the Bucs had a flyover during the national anthem, paracommandos jumping in with the flag before the game, and at halftime, 200-plus recruits lined up at midfield and took their oath of enlistment. Three days early, this was a Veterans Day to celebrate at Raymond James Stadium.

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