Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Jones' Two Cents: Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Atlanta Falcons

RECOMMENDED READING


Best result

We can debate just how hard the Falcons actually played in what was a meaningless game for them, and thus we can debate just how meaningful the Bucs' victory was.

While we're at it, don't put too much stock in the theory that Sunday's victory gives the Bucs momentum heading into next season. Winning Sunday isn't going to do much for a team that won't play a real game again for nine months.

But this is Sport 101: winning beats losing. And that's true regardless of the opponent or the opponent's will. Maybe beating a team that wasn't going all out isn't that impressive, but losing to such a team would have been disheartening. Besides, it looked like the Falcons were trying to me.

If nothing else, the Bucs won't have to hear over and over for the next nine months that they ended the season with a six-game skid.

Best player

Based on this season, how many running backs would you take ahead of the Bucs' Doug Martin? There's the Vikings' Adrian Peterson, maybe the Texans' Arian Foster, then there's … uh. Seriously, you could argue that Martin, with his running and receiving skills, is among the NFL's top three all-around running backs.

His 142 yards on the ground and his 18 receiving Sunday gave him a total of 1,766 from scrimmage. Especially impressive is the rookie touched the ball 336 times this season and fumbled only once.

That's a team MVP right there.

Biggest question

How does a quarterback as tall as the 6-foot-6 Josh Freeman get so many of his passes tipped by defensive linemen?

On the other hand, as much as some want to rip into Freeman, this is a fact: He set team records for passing yards and TD passes, and the Bucs offense scored more points and gained more yards than any team in franchise history. If you're looking to place blame for the Bucs' losing record, start on the other side of the ball.

Three things that popped into my head

1. You know which loss will keep the Bucs up all offseason? The 23-21 home clunker to the hapless Eagles on Dec. 9. That was Philly's only victory in its final 12 games. Just think how much better you'd feel about the Bucs if they had won that game and finished 8-8.

2. The victory could have cost the Bucs a few spots in the draft, but it's not like they lost themselves the first overall pick. With several games Sunday affecting the draft order, and draft-day trades and free agency changing the needs of teams, you cannot suggest the Bucs should have purposefully lost to get a higher pick.

3. Ronde, how about one more season, okay?

Final thought

Rays pitchers and catchers report in 43 days.

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will play Sunday against the Dolphins without Vernon Hargreaves, who has been their nickel defensive back the past two games.Hargreaves, the 2016 first-round pick out of Florida and a former Wharton High standout, has been ruled out ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

TAMPA — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver’s assertion that he was her only p...
Published: 11/17/17
Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Tampa Bay Times has listened to a voicemail Jameis Winston received from Uber relating to the March 2016 incident in Arizona.The NFL is investigating the allegations that Winston grabbed a female Uber driver's crotch in 2016.In the call, someone...
Published: 11/17/17

Jameis Winston says groping allegations are ‘false’

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston denied allegations by an Arizona Uber driver that he groped her in 2016. The NFL confirmed it is investigating the incident.Winston released a statement on his Twitter account saying the driver was 'confused,' by the n...
Published: 11/17/17
Bucs’ linemen ready for challenge of containing Dolphins’ Suh

Bucs’ linemen ready for challenge of containing Dolphins’ Suh

Asked if Miami's Ndamukong Suh is the toughest defensive tackle he's gone against, Bucs center Ali Marpet stops short of an answer."I'll let you know after the game," said Marpet, preparing for Sunday's game against the Dolphins as the Bucs seek thei...
Published: 11/17/17
Bucs-Dolphins: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game Sunday at Miami:LET’S GO STREAKINGRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: It’s been 11 months since the Bucs had a winning streak. That was when they posted five W’s in a row with a win ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones actually agree on their prediction for the Bucs-Dolphins game that will see Ryan Fitzpatrick make his second straight start in place of the injured Jameis Winston. They’ll give you the keys to the ga...
Published: 11/17/17
NFL Week 11: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

NFL Week 11: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

Below are the Times staff picks for week 11 of the NFL season:GameTime/DayErnest Hooper, @hoop4youTom Jones, @tomwjonesMartin Fennelly, @mjfennellyThomas Bassinger, @tometricsGreg Auman, @gregaumanRick Stroud, @NFLStroudAgainst the spread (last week)...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17