You remember the play last year, it was home against Atlanta, and Jameis was all but down on 3rd and forever. But he was still fighting, and in the end he escaped and ran for the long yardage to get the first down. It was ultimate Jameis, and it cemented his leadership role on the Bucs last year. Fast Forward to yesterday, and the Bucs had dominated the Bears, but only led by a touchdown thanks to the Bears amazing Hail Mary play right before halftime. It took some of the wind from the sails at Raymond James, who in spite of some blue splattered throughout, were quiet save Bucs fans due to the game flow!
The Bucs get the ball to start the second half and are in 3rd and long before you know it. Listen to Fox announcer David Diehl, who says the Bucs were lacking energy…
The play was huge because it set up this play next:
It gave the Bucs a 2 TD lead that the Bucs would never look back from.
It really startles me that there can be Bucs fans out there that question the selection of Jameis Winston in the middle of his second season. Take a look at Chicago Bears fans, ask them if they would like Winston! Of course these same fans were stifled again this week as Gerald McCoy and the rest of the Bucs D line put the pressure on the Bears offense.
The biggest reason for McCoy’s detractors are the Bucs inability to secure an edge rusher to compliment him. Someone who can make something out of McCoy’s double teams, and its been one free agent failure after another, one draft failure after another since Simeon Rice last had a double digit sack season in 2005.
Perhaps until now: Rookie Noah Spence has a sack in 3 of the last 4 games, and with 4 total on the year, and with McCoy enjoying 4.5 sacks just past the midway point, we may see that double digit sacker finally after all.
I would caution Bucs fans to not get too excited about the standings or events of the NFC South losses that have the Bucs 1.5 games out of first place; Tampa Bay has a date at Kansas City where the Chiefs play EXCELLENT defense. The Bucs do play well on the road, but a Win in KC would do the following:
- Be a signature win over playoff team/Excellent Defense/Traditional Home power
- Even up the Bucs record at 5-5 in November
- Would probably involve a defensive game, furthering confidence of Bucs defense
- Another step to show fans the Bucs may have turned the corner.
One of the most impressive things the Bucs have done this season is not make excuses about massive injuries, and its performance with backups starting in key areas. So Bucs fans, dont talk playoffs, thats not the goal. The absolute goal of this Bucs team is to improve, and Bucs fans need to see improvement, especially in the last part of the year.
In 1996 the Bucs turned the corner as a franchise in Tony Dungy’s first year, but by the end of the season the fans could tell it was a whole different Bucs team. There was no doubt that Bucs fans would experience a winning team the next season, because it was a “Winning Team” at the end of the season. The 6-10 record didn’t show that, but the team was 1-8 before the turnaround, so it was a 5-2 team in the last 7 games, and the team had a different feel to it!
Just like this team has shown its playing different. The Bucs have now won 3 of the last 5 games, thats 3-2 football, with a chance to do better. If Tampa Bay can finish strong like it did in 1996, The Bucs fans, media, players, and staff can feel good about FINALLY, at LONG LAST, going into next year as a team IT, The Media, and the Fans will expect to start hot in 2017, and playoffs will then be an expected playoff team.