By Tristan W. and Eli B.
Tampa- The Buccaneers routed the Carolina Panthers by a score of 46-23 this past Sunday. The Buccaneers continue to improve, winning their seventh game of the 2020 season. Tom Brady threw for over 300 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, in addition to a rushing touchdown. The team was firing on all cylinders, with everybody getting involved. Running back Ronald Jones II also ran for a 98-yard touchdown.
The Passing Game
As of late, Tom Brady can’t be slowed down. His touchdown-interception ratio over the last 8 games is 15-1. He has thrown for 23 touchdowns overall and accounted for 26, according to ESPN.com. His 23 touchdowns are second in the league, behind only Russell Wilson. At the moment, many people look at Tom Terrific as an MVP candidate. Mike Evans has caught eight of Brady’s touchdowns. Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J Howard, Cameron Brate, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson have each caught multiple pass touchdowns from the quarterback this season. Four-time all-pro Antonio Brown is starting to find his role in the offense. In his postgame interview posted on buccaneers.com after week 7, Tom Brady said “Our skill guys are doing an incredible job” and praised Mike Evans specifically, saying he’s “One of the great players to play in the NFL.”
According to ESPN.com, this season Brady has a 71.4 QBR, 66% completion percentage, 2,739 yards, and 23 touchdowns.
The Bucs have helped Tom Brady out with their staggering defense. This season, according to NFL.com, the Bucs are allowing just 3.3 yards per rush against their opponents. They have also scored 2 defensive touchdowns. The linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Devin White have combined for 81 tackles. White, the NFC defensive player of the week in week 7, stated “I think us not being selfish is what will help us” in an interview on buccaneers.com. Star defensive linemen Jason-Pierre-Paul has led the team in sacks with 7.5, while Carlton Davis leads the team with 4 interceptions. Teamranking.com also shows that the Bucs are fourth in the NFL with 3.2 sacks per game. They haven’t faced easy competition either. They’ve faced future hall of famers Aaron Rodgers and Drew Bress, as well as star rookie Justin Herbert and former super bowl MVP Nick Foles.
The Bucs have balanced out their potent passing game with a solid running game. Ronald Jones II has led the way with his 506 yards, which ranks fourth in the whole league. His counterpart Leonard Fournette has shown glimpes of stardom as well. In week 2 against the Carolina Panthers, he had a breakout game. He ran for 103 yards, as well as 2 touchdowns and an average of 8.6 yards per carry. Unfortunately, he has been hurt, and missed 3 games. However, when he’s played, he has proven himself. The Bucs have 10 rush touchdowns overall, with 5 from Ronald Jones II, 2 from Leonard Fournette, and 3 from Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers have many injuries on both sides of the ball. Their pass-catchers have been shaken up this whole season. Pro bowl wideout Chris Godwin has missed multiple games due to a hamstring injury. He also missed one due to a finger injury against the New York Giants. O.J Howard is lost for the season after he tore his achilles in the Bucs week 4 matchup against the Chargers. The defense has also been damaged to injuries. Defensive lineman Vita Vea suffered a broken leg against the Bears.
The Bucs have plenty of challengers and competitors from both conferences. From the NFC, the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Packers all look poised to make a deep playoff run. The AFC holds the defending super bowl champion Chiefs as well as the 9-0 Steelers. Patrick Mahomes is quietly putting together another potential MVP season with his spectacular touchdown to interception ratio of 25-1. His tight end Travis Kelce and superstar wide receiver Tyrek Hill are two of the top players at their position. While Hill could be guarded by the Bucs’ Carlton Davis, they don’t have anyone on defense as strong as strong as Travis Kelce. Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson of the Cardinals and Seahawks are also a handful to contain. Kyler Murray is easily the most dangurous running quarterback in the league. He’s run for a ridiculous 10 touchdowns, or over one per game. Wilson on the other hand is one of the NFL’s premier leaders on and off the field. The Ravens and Steelers pose a threat to the Bucs, as they might be the league’s only defenses who have a chance to stop a fully healthy Buccaneers offense.
Going forward, the Bucs have an interesting schedule. They play a few easy games, as well as a few against super bowl contenders. Here is the Bucs upcoming schedule according to https://sports.yahoo.com:
|11||Mon, Nov 23||8:15 PM||
||Tickets as low as $152|
|12||Sun, Nov 29||4:25 PM||
|Tickets as low as $221|
|14||Sun, Dec 13||1:00 PM||
|Tickets as low as $158|
|15||Sun, Dec 20||1:00 PM||
|Tickets as low as $81|
|16||Sun, Dec 27||TBD|
|17||Sun, Jan 3||
|Tickets as low as $1|