Down 7-3 after a Bucs pick 6 of Jay Cutler (stop me if you’ve heard that one before), Chicago intercepted Jameis Winston (In fairness…ditto) on a deflection (OK getting old) that set them up in “glorious” field position if were to go by the TV Commentators. After the possession, the score was still 7-3! Vernon Hargreaves had a shot at a pick in the end zone but Jeffries smartly knocked the ball out of his hands switching roles from WR to DB as a good WR does.
You know what else good players do? They make plays at big moments.
Noah Spence is a rookie, but he is building up a reputation now as a possible “Answer” to the question “Will the Bucs find an edge rusher to compliment Gerald McCoy”!? Spence came around his end position and came behind Cutler, timing perfectly swatted the ball out of his hand: Bucs Ball, Turnover cost: ZERO!
Last week I wrote that Bucs fans should not be surprised if the defense comes to play. You can see it here…
My reasoning was simple: the Bucs defense was learning Mike Smith’s new scheme this year, and was starting to get good at it. But the fact remains, and its why I tell Bucs fans not to fixate or get excited about playoff talk/news, this team is not a playoff team, it has a lack of talent in key defensive areas. With 4 Head Coaches in 6 years, that drains from the talent pool as new coaches get rid of former coaches players, and so forth, to the point where the Bucs are now; a lack of depth on the defensive side especially (at least the offense got 2 full drafts full in ’14 & ’15).
With the Bucs starting to play better on defense against Denver (look at game stats before the turnovers affected the game flow), and subsequent games after, Tampa Bay faced a superior talented team in Oakland. Yet the Bucs still hung in there with the Raiders…all the way deep into the overtime period, weakening the defense. 4 days later the Bucs were forced to play the Falcons, and by the second half the Bucs defense simply did not have the depth to play good football in that time frame. So everyone thought the Carolina and San Francisco games were skewed against poor talent.
They got it wrong. After 10 days of rest, the Bucs defense played the Bears like it was the next week after San Francisco. This is not an excuse, next year the Bucs will have more talent on the roster, and more depth to be able to compete when situations get bad. Other teams have injuries too, and if they have depth in those areas, they can continue. Look at the Cowboys over the last few years: When Romo gets hurt, Cowboys can’t compete. This year, the ‘Boys have depth at QB, and they’re winning. Translate that to defense and defensive positions, and you can get excited about next year, and the rest of this year…too!
Special Teams will be looked at tomorrow, but a great play pinned the Bears inside their ten with Bucs still up 7-3 without an offensive Touchdown. Behind the running of Howard, the Bears were moving the ball out of their 10 getting closer to midfield, when Clinton McDonald, who had a vicious sack earlier in the game, stripped Howard enabling Bucs to recover. In only a few plays, Jameis made the Bears pay with a TD pass to Cameron Brate. 14-3 Bucs, and defense was responsible for the points!
Thats the defense making a comeback, although they would tell, they were never gone.