Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Instant analysis: In upending Chiefs, Bucs simply were the better team

KANSAS CITY —The Bucs deserved this one.

They were the better team. On offense. On defense. On special teams. Nothing fluky about this one. The Bucs beat the Chiefs because they deserved to beat the Chiefs.

And, in the end, it was Tampa Bay's most significant victory since ... well, since I don't know when. Maybe Greg Schiano's first season?

The Bucs went on the road, overcame a first half in which they couldn't score touchdowns and had to kick field goals, and still came out with a 19-17 road victory against a quality opponent.

Here are some random thoughts from Sunday's huge Bucs victory that evened their record at 5-5.

•Wasted chances. That pretty much sums up the Bucs in the first half. Tampa Bay had four impressive drives, taking the ball to the Kansas City 17, 12, 4 and 23-yard lines. And all they could muster was three Roberto Aguayo field goals. They went to the half trailing the Chiefs, 10-9, but it felt like Tampa Bay should have been up 21-10. When your drives end up with three points instead of seven, especially on the road against a good team such as the Chiefs, you're asking for trouble. It made for a nervous second half, but it did not cost the Bucs the game.

• One of the Bucs drives that did not result in points in the first half ended because of a Jameis Winston fumble. It was the first drive of the game. Winston connected on three consecutive third down throws — to three different receivers — and had Tampa Bay set up in the red zone. But on a first down, Winston faked a handoff to running back Doug Martin and then the ball slipped out of his hands. The Chiefs recovered, ending the Bucs drive. But looking closely at the replay, one might argue that Winston was attempting to throw the ball. It easily could have been ruled an incomplete pass. Yet, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, obviously relying on advice from someone upstairs, decided not to challenge the call. Seemed challenge worthy.

• The red zone trouble continued into the second half. Again, first drive of the second half, the Bucs moved it 56 yards inside the Kansas City 20, but again watched the drive stall out. They settled for an Aguayo 36-yard field goal that gave Tampa Bay a 12-10 lead. Sounded good until you realized the Bucs easily could have led 28-10 at that point.

• If you have watched the Bucs this season, you have seen plenty of penalty flags and loads of facetime for the referee. Whether it's the other team (remember the Raiders setting an NFL record a couple of weeks ago?) or the Bucs, penalties are almost as common as a forward pass. Yet, Sunday's game was moving at a jaguar's pace because the first 28 minutes had no penalties. That's right: zero. The first flag wasn't thrown until 1:09 was left in the second quarter. Then the officials decided to make up for lost time. In the final 1:09, five penalties were called. No wonder the first 28 minutes of this game were so fun and minute No. 29 was so crummy.

• If the Mike Evans national anthem protest of last week was weighing on Evans' mind, it certainly did not show in his play.

• Interesting decision to start the fourth quarter. Leading 12-10 and having started a drive at their own 4-yard line, the Bucs faced a 4th-and-25 at the Kansas City 36. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter could have sent out kicker Roberto Aguayo for a 54-yard field-goal attempt. Instead, Koetter elected to punt. The whole thing ended up back-firing. Not only did Bryan Anger's punt drift into the end zone, the Bucs were penalized for holding. After that penalty was tacked on, the net yardage picked up by Tampa Bay was all of six yards.

• How about Chris Conte? A week after the Bucs safety had a pick-six against his old team, the Bears, he had a huge interception Sunday, intercepting an Alex Smith pass in the end zone and returning it 55 yards to midfield. Turned out to be the play of the game. After getting the ball, the Bucs put together a nine-play, 52-yard drive that finished with their first touchdown of the game: a 3-yard TD pass from Winston to tight end Alan Cross.

• If Conte's pick wasn't play of the game, this one was: Facing a 3rd-and-3 at their own 30 with 2:11 left and leading 19-17, the Bucs converted when Winston hit Mike Evans for a 14-yard gain. That first down took the game to the two-minute warning, and the Chiefs had only one timeout left.

   
Comments
Brent Grimes happy to be back, healthy at Bucs practice

Brent Grimes happy to be back, healthy at Bucs practice

Veteran cornerback Brent Grimes had returned to practice in a limited capacity Saturday, but Monday saw him back in 11-on-11 full-squad work for the first time in nearly two weeks."We want Brent Grimes out there. He's our best cover guy, so it's grea...
Published: 08/13/18

Madden 19 predictions: The Bucs are bad, the Browns are good and the world might be ending

You thought the Buccaneers’ playoff drought was going to end last season. Instead, they lost six of their first eight games and limped to a 5-11 finish.If only someone or something had warned you.Actually, something did.A video game.While every...
Published: 08/13/18
Even bigger: Bucs TE Antony Auclair up to 270 for 2nd NFL season

Even bigger: Bucs TE Antony Auclair up to 270 for 2nd NFL season

A year ago, when Antony Auclair made the Bucs' roster as an undrafted rookie, the Canadian import was already the largest tight end at 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds.That's even more the case now as he heads into his second season with the confidence that c...
Published: 08/13/18
Peyton Barber has edge on starting RB job over Ronald Jones

Peyton Barber has edge on starting RB job over Ronald Jones

It's still too early in the preseason to declare a starter at some positions, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter took a step in that that direction Monday at running back.After an underwhelming performance by rookie Ronald Jones in the preseason opener at M...
Published: 08/13/18
Koetter on Bucs’ practice fight: ‘Big deal. I mean, it’s football’

Koetter on Bucs’ practice fight: ‘Big deal. I mean, it’s football’

One day after a video showed an extended fight at Jaguars practice, and two days before the Bucs start joint practices with the Titans, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he wasn't worried about a minor late-practice skirmish between players."We had a figh...
Published: 08/13/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is Bucs’ QB depth the best in franchise history?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is Bucs’ QB depth the best in franchise history?

Do the Bucs have the best trio of quarterbacks they have ever had? What does Vernon Hargreaves' injury mean for the secondary? How did Tampa Bay's running backs fare in the preseason opener? Rick Stroud answers these questions and more on today'...
Published: 08/13/18
Alan Cross may not look like a typical NFL tight end, but there’s nothing he can’t do on the football field

Alan Cross may not look like a typical NFL tight end, but there’s nothing he can’t do on the football field

TAMPA — Alan Cross always has been the boy on the bubble. A linebacker in high school, he walked on to his college team, Memphis, as a long snapper. He had no scholarship offers. Hugh Freeze, then head coach at Arkansas State, told Cr...
Published: 08/12/18
Bucs claim cornerback De’Vante Harris from Saints

Bucs claim cornerback De’Vante Harris from Saints

The Bucs got help for their injury-depleted secondary on Sunday, claiming third-year cornerback De'Vante Harris off waivers from the Saints.Tampa Bay has veteran Brent Grimes just returning from injury and Vernon Hargreaves and Javien Elliott dealing...
Published: 08/12/18
Unheralded receivers stepped up for Bucs on game-winning drive

Unheralded receivers stepped up for Bucs on game-winning drive

TAMPA — The Bucs' come-from-behind finish Thursday night, going 67 yards with no time outs in the final two minutes to set up a game-winning field goal, would be impressive under most any circumstances.Add in the chaos of the end of a preseason...
Published: 08/12/18
DeSean Jackson is having “an excellent camp” and asserting himself as a leader, coach Dirk Koetter says

DeSean Jackson is having “an excellent camp” and asserting himself as a leader, coach Dirk Koetter says

DeSean Jackson had a disappointing first season with the Bucs by almost any measure.In 2017, Jackson's 50 catches for 668 yards were career-lows in seasons in which he played at least 12 games.  His 13.4 yard average was a career-worst.Certainly...
Published: 08/12/18