The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on the road this week to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. One of the loudest stadiums in the league Tampa really needed this game to stay in contention in the NFC South.
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The Buccaneers came up with a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs to get back to .500. Here are the winners and losers.
Winner: Kicker Roberto Aguayo
Whatever Aguayo has been doing these past two weeks he’s got to keep it up. He single-handedly won the Bucs in the game today. He made all of his attempts today including three field goals in the second quarter. He still has yet to hit one from 50 plus this season but he made them all when they needed to today. In a day where there were 8 missed extra points in the early games including one by Adam Vinatieri, Aguayo making all of his kicks is a great accomplishment.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) takes the field prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Linebacker Lavonte David
What has happened to Lavonte this season? His production has diminished severely over the past few seasons. Lavonte’s rookie season was phenomenal, except the first game against the Jets but I won’t get into that. His production has dipped every year and now that he’s got a hefty contract it seems like he’s not trying as hard. He hasn’t made a play when it counts and hasn’t been the tackling machine we all know he can be.
David finished with three tackles, two solo. He did recover a fumble but that was the on the last-ditch effort lateraling play to end the game. He may have handed the torch over to Kwon Alexander too early when the Bucs need them both to lead this team. A disappointing performance by him this week.
Nov 20, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Chris Conte (23) intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Tampa Bay won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Safety Chris Conte
I never thought I’d see the day but Chris Conte is a winner this week. Conte has now two consecutive games with interceptions, last week a pick six, this week a pick in the endzone late in the game that was really big for the defense. Not only did he pick off the rarely intercepted Alex Smith but he did so in the endzone and returned it 53 yards near midfield.
He could have taken a knee and had the Bucs get the ball at the twenty but he saw open field and gained a lot of yards that the Bucs offense really used well. The Bucs took the turnover and went on to score the game winning touchdown at the end of the drive. Conte also lead the team in tackles with seven. So congratulations and thank you Chris Conte, you are a big winner this week.
Nov 20, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) runs the ball tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (21) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Tampa Bay won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
While Chris Conte had a good game the rest of the secondary really struggled. Grimes got injured early forcing Hargreaves and Verner to try and defend the Chiefs speedy receivers. They both got burned relatively consistently and Verner even had to come out with an injury in this one. Verner returned, but it was late in the fourth and the Chiefs had to force downfield passes at that point. Let’s just say they were lucky that Maclin was out this week because even with Alex Smith at quarterback, if he had another reliable target he’d probably have had a better game.
Nov 20, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Tampa Bay won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Quarterback Jameis Winston
Winston has a scored a touchdown in every game of his career. It wasn’t looking great for him early in this game fumbling in the red zone and settling for multiple short field goals. He did score when it counted though. He hit Alan Cross on third down at the three yard line for the game winning touchdown. Jameis was also huge on third down converting 11 of 16 attempts.
Time of possession was going to be really important in this game and when you are able to convert 69% of third downs you should be able to control the clock. None of them were bigger than when he hit Mike Evans for 14 yards on third and three with two minutes remaining and the Chiefs down to their last timeout. It practically sealed the victory as the Bucs were able to wind the clock down and the Chiefs had no time to get downfield into scoring range. Winston finished 331 yards, one touchdown, and a huge road victory to get the Bucs back to .500 on the season.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Pass Rush
The Bucs pass rush did not look the same this week as they did last week. The Bears offensive line has made a few teams look good but the Bucs gave Alex Smith all day to throw today. Smith is known for his accuracy and when given the time he got today it makes sense that he only had seven incompletions. Noah Spence has looked great over the past few weeks and may be the Bucs most effective defensive lineman, however, Ayers, McCoy, Spence, Spence, Gholston and McDonald combined for one tackle for loss and McCoy didn’t even record a tackle. The defensive line played well enough against the run but if Russell Wilson gets the same amount of time that Smith had this week the Bucs are in for a long game.
Nov 20, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Alan Cross (45) celebrates after scoring during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Tampa Bay won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Bonus Winner: Tight End Alan Cross
Alan Cross has had a very interesting career. He started out as a walk-on long snapper at Memphis and made the Bucs as an undrafted free agent. He had the most important catch of his career today, catching a three yard touchdown to win the game for the Bucs. His lone catch of the game helped the Bucs win in a very important game at this part of the season. With the Falcons on bye and the Saints losing to Carolina the Bucs are a game back in the division with a huge game against the Seahawks next week.
We had some unexpected high level performers today. With the incredibly tough Seattle Seahawks coming up next week the Bucs need a win to stay in the race. If the Bucs can get their players to play like they did today they may have a shot to beat Seattle next week at home.