Well, what a difference a week makes. The Buccaneers came out firing on all cylinders. The offense was moving well and the defense was forcing turnovers left and right. The Bucs had almost everything go their way today. Let’s take a look at the who took the lead and who struggled to make a difference.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reacts to a touchdown scored by running back Doug Martin (not pictured) against the Chicago Bears in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Quarterback Jameis Winston
If the Bucs are going to make a run in the second half it is all going to fall on the shoulders of the offensive captain. If he can play every game like he did today the Bucs are going to be a team to watch. Winston finished the day completing 23 of 33 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He did have an interception but it was off a tipped pass.
He also had potentially the play of the year in this game. Winston was hurried, ran backwards twenty yards into his own end zone, broke a couple of tackles, and heaved the ball forty yards down field to a well covered Mike Evans.
.@Jaboowins escapes the ENTIRE Bears pass rush. And still finds Mike Evans for 39 yards.
This play reminded me of his twenty yard rush against the Falcons last year. He has the heart of a champion and will never give up on a play. Congratulations Mr. Winston, you are the winner of the week.
Dec 14, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Demar Dotson (69) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter. The Panthers defeated the Buccaneers 19-17 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Offensive Tackle Demar Dotson
Demar Dotson is the worst offensive lineman of the starters. He gives up hurries constantly and is the most penalized player on the team. He had two penalties on one drive today. The offensive line is young but he is the most experienced of them all and is paid the most he should not be performing this poorly. Demar Dotson may be a player on the chopping block this offseason.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers (91) is congratulated after he got a safety against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Buccaneers Defensive Line
Welcome back Clinton McDonald. Finally fully healthy since week two the Bucs were finally able to get after the passer. Recording all four sacks the defensive line was pressuring Jay Cutler all day. Not only did they have four sacks but they also had a strip sack and forced the two early interceptions from Jay Cutler. Noah Spence had another sack and is emerging as a great pass rusher for the Bucs. Robert Ayers looked fully healthy, posting 1.5 sacks and a safety. McCoy with McDonald are really helpful for the defensive line and it looks like they can actually start getting after the passer.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) stiff arms Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Running Back Doug Martin
I’m kind of reaching here but in Doug Martin’s return he struggled to move the ball. Martin was stuffed at the line all day gaining only 33 yards on 16 carries. He did have a late touchdown but only averaged two yards per carry. It is definitely nice to have Martin back on the offense and they were clearly keeping him limited in this one but only being able to muster up two yards a carry is not a good day for the resume. Hopefully the game action helped Martin gain some confidence in his leg but he struggled today and that is why he is on the loser list.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) kicks a field goal against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Kicker Roberto Aguayo
Six for six. Roberto Aguayo finally had a good game. He made both of his field goal attempts and all four of the extra points. Many Bucs fans including myself were able to take a sigh of relief when he made all of his attempts. He didn’t have a long kick attempt today, with the longest field goal being 30 yards, he made all of them. I repeat, Roberto Aguayo did not miss a kick today. This is not a drill Roberto Aguayo did not miss any of his kicks.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Rush Defense
The Bucs defense wasn’t all good today. With the Bucs leading late the Bears weren’t forced to run the ball in the second half but in the first half the Bears ground game was extremely efficient. The Bears finished the game with 20 carries for 122 yards on the ground. That’s good enough for an average of 6.1 yards per carry. With the pass rush being a focus of the defense today maybe they didn’t pay close enough attention to the ground game. The defensive line needs to find a healthy balance between pass rush and rush defense if this team wants to be a top defense in the future.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Tight End Cameron Brate
With a successful game by Jameis Winston someone on the offense needed to make plays. Today Cameron Brate was Mr. Reliable today. Catching all seven of his targets he finished with 84 yards and a touchdown. With Evans being constantly doubled and focused by the defense someone else needs to step up in the passing game. Cameron Brate is becoming the player they thought Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be. With five touchdowns on the season and one in each of the past three games, Brate is becoming a real threat or the offense. Together this offense can make the Bucs Brate Again. I’m sorry.
Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. The New Orleans Saints won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Lovie Smith
We didn’t forget about you Lovie. After losing both of his attempts against the Bears in his tenure as Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter won easily in his first try. Not only that he did today what Lovie has tried to do for his entire career. The Bucs forced turnovers and rushed the passer all day. Outside of a deflected hail mary touchdown at the end of the half the Bucs defense gave up three points. I would say this isn’t a huge deal but this is pretty much the same exact defense Lovie had in his tenure with the team. I mean Chris Conte had a pick six today. Now that’s really saying something.
The Bucs looked the best they did all season in this game. Winning easily 36-10 the Bucs looked like a complete team today. The offense, defense, and special teams were making plays when they needed it most. As I stated earlier the entire NFC South lost today making the Bucs second place in the division, a game and a half behind Atlanta. This was a good game for the team and hopefully they can use the momentum for next game against the Kansas City Chiefs.