The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rebounded from a rough loss last week, defeating division rival Atlanta, 35-22. Here are some studs and duds from Week 12.
Following a rough 34-17 loss to division rival New Orleans at home last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked to get back into the win column against another division opponent in the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12.
Well, quarterback Jameis Winston and the offense took care of business on Sunday, defeating the Falcons, 35-22, to improve to 4-7 on the season.
Here are a few studs and duds from the matchup in Week 12.
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Stud: Chris Godwin (7 catches, 184 yards and 2 touchdowns)
After a couple of off weeks, Chris Godwin once again proved why he is a part of the best receiving tandem in the NFL. He absolutely exploded in the first half, starting the day off with a 71-yard touchdown catch from Winston. From there, he kept making chunk play after chunk play. His shortest reception of the day was his two-yard touchdown catch, which was his second of the game.
Furthermore, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and, along with Mike Evans, became just the second duo in team history to reach 1,000 yards each (the first duo was Evans and Vincent Jackson in 2014).
On the year, Godwin now has 70 catches for 1,071 yards and nine touchdowns. All of those marks rank in the top 10 of the league. I think it’s pretty safe to say that a Pro Bowl nod is almost inevitable at this time.
Dud: Matt Gay (1-of-1 FGs, 2-of-5 XPs)
For as good as Matt Gay has been so far this season, the rookie had a pretty rough game inside the Mercedes Benz Stadium today. He barely made his first extra-point attempt, then proceeded to miss the next two. Then he had his fourth attempt of the day blocked.
Although he rebounded with a successful field goal try and his second made extra-point of the day, it seemed like Gay righted the ship. However, the Bucs can’t afford games like this from their kicker. So far it seems like Gay might be the one to break the Matt Bryant curse. However, more days like today will put that notion in serious doubt.
Stud: Vita Vea (2 tackles, 1 sack, 2 passes defensed, 1 TD catch)
Oh man, Vita Vea once again had himself a game against the Falcons. Throughout the afternoon, he seemed to be in on almost every impact play made by the Bucs defense. It was a great performance from the second year defender out of Washington. He even scored the first touchdown of his young career on a one-yard reception towards the end of the first half.
Although he had a rough rookie season dogged by injuries, Vea has continued to show why the Bucs took him in the first round during the 2018 NFL Draft. Playing alongside veteran Ndamukong Suh has really helped in Vea’s development, and he’s playing in a system that is very similar to the one he thrived in while with the Huskies.
As long as he continues on this upward trajectory, he could be a key piece of the Buccaneers’ defense for years to come.
Duds: Cameron Brate and O.J Howard (1 combined catch for 10 yards)
It’s maddening to see how little impact both of these tight ends have had as a whole on the Tampa Bay offense this year. These two arguably give the Bucs the best tight end duo in the league. Yet, due to lack of focus in the game planning and/or offense plus an inability to get open and make separation, Brate and Howard have had a rough 2019 season.
I’m sure this is not what general manager Jason Licht had in mind after signing Brate to a six-year extension last offseason. Or after taking Howard in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich have got to find a way to get these two more involved in the offense.
Even though the unit played well today and scored 28 points, they will be even better with these two game-breaking tight ends involved.
Stud: Carlton Davis (5 combined tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 INT)
First off, let me show you this interception from Carlton Davis. Because it was awesome.
Davis straight up stole that ball from Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley in midair and it was a great way for the second-year cornerback to get his first career interception. Throughout the rest of the game though, Davis played excellent football.
He shadowed both Ridley and Julio Jones throughout the game and held the duo to under 100 yards combined. He had a career-high five passes defensed and was in position to make a few other plays as well.
After the release of former first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves III, Davis has become the veteran of the group, taking on the number one cornerback role. Although he’s had his ups and downs, Davis has continued to improve under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. As long as he continues to improve, the Bucs’ secondary will be much better for it.