Heading into Week 3 taking on the Giants at home, Tampa Bay Bucs first year OC Byron Leftwich is feeling confident about what his offense will do this Sunday. He’s the first guy HC Bruce Arians has turned over play calling duties too and believes this will be the year the Bucs will be a force on both sides of the ball.
Tampa Bay has had a slow start on offense this season, however, there was enough improvement from Week one to Week two to pull out a tough division win. It was the defense Thursday night that showed up big, as in the end, with the game on the line in the final two minutes, saved the day with a fourth-down heroic play.
Leftwich spoke to the media on Thursday about the confidence he has in what he’s seen from his offense so far and in practice this week.
“I think we made improvements really across the board. I think that’s what good football teams have got to do. We’ve got to get better week in and week out."
➡️: OC Byron Leftwich pic.twitter.com/tiCnnZd91Q
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 19, 2019
When asked about how QB Jameis Winston handled coming back from the season opener loss, he said, “As good as you can handle it. It was a short week and he just had to get ready to go to the next game, I promise you by that Monday we came in and watched the film but we knew we had a tough opponent Thursday night.”
He added that the team needed turned around pretty quickly as a whole to win on Thursday.
“The worst thing you can do is talk about what just happened the day before, so we moved on and we learned from it as a whole. Theres a lot of things that showed up Thursday night from an improvement standpoint from that Week 1 game, so as a whole we got better and I hope we can continue to do that.”
A lot of talk was also centered around the production, or lack thereof, from OJ Howard so far this season. Leftwich explained that it has nothing to do with how Howards performance, rather he just hasn’t had the ball come his way enough.
“I think OJ will win his matchup when the ball comes his way. Sometimes the ball doesn’t come your way. He’s not doing anything wrong, we all just need to get better… the ball just didn’t get that way but he’ll be fine.”
“I think we made improvements really across the board. I think that’s what good football teams have got to do. We’ve got to get better week in and week out.”
Bucs-Winston overcome miscues to win third straight
It wasn’t easy and there were plenty of self-inflicted mistakes, but the Bucs found a way to come from behind, and defeat the Colts for a third consecutive victory Sunday.
Tampa Bay turned the ball over four times and found themselves trailing by double-figure twice, but QB Jameis Winston threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman with under four minutes to play and the Buccaneers defense held up to improve their record to 6 – 7.
On a day in which Winston threw for a career-high 456 yards, it actually started horribly This as, he threw an interception, once again, on the opening possession of the game. Darius Leonard’s pick led to a Jacoby Brissett 48 yard touchdown to Marcus Williams and a quick 7-0 lead. It was the third time in five games that Winston has thrown an int on the first Bucs drive.
Winston threw another interception later in the second quarter that was returned by Leonard 80 yards for a score and the Colts led 24-14.
Undaunted, Winston continued to gun-sling finishing 456 yards passing for a career-high yardage and four touchdowns, including a second half score to reserve receiver Justin Watson. And then, he threw the eventual game-winning 12 yarder to Perriman.
#Bucs take the lead!
Jameis connects with Breshad Perriman 🎯#INDvsTB
— PFF (@PFF) December 8, 2019
The Colts gave away two opportunities to potentially put the game away. First, when backup running back Nyheim Hines fumbled inside the Tampa Bay 20 with 10 minutes remaining, and then, later new rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin ,who replaced Adam Vinatieri who’s dealing with an injured knee, hit the right upright on 47 yard field goal that would have put in the Colts up by 7 late in the game.
Winston led the go-ahead drive from there, going 63 yards in eight plays and including converting a fourth down with a pass of 4 yards to Dare Ogunbawale. The touchdown to Perriman came on the very next play.
Tampa Bay stopped Brissett and the Colts on fourth down at midfiled with 1:45 remaining, when DE Jason Pierre Paul hit the QB’s arm. The ball fluttered in the air, Brissett caught it and then desperately and illegally tried to throw it a second time forward to another teammate. That pass was incomplete.
The Bucs ran out the clock for their second win at home this season.
The Buccaneers playoff hopes were dashed even in victory, though, as the Minnesota Vikings won their 10th game on Sunday. That means that even if the Buccaneers win out, they can no longer catch the Vikes in the NFC race.
Still, first year Bruce Arians team is certainly playing hard, and at the right times with three games to go
Bucs looking for three in row leads our primer
Week 14 of the NFL sees two Florida teams at home and the other one facing a familiar foe in New York. The Bucs try to make it three wins in a row hosting the Colts, the Dolphins travel to play the Jets and the Jaguars have gone back to their rookie QB, while hosting the Chargers.
First in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers come off of back-to-back road wins, where they accumulated 11 sacks and six turnovers defeating Atlanta and Jacksonville. They will take on another AFC South opponent in the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are stumbling with three losses in their last four games and have fallen out of the AFC Wildcard picture for the moment.
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has played better over the course of the last two games, but returns to Raymond James Stadium, where he threw four interceptions it a loss to the Saints three weeks ago. Winston is working with two of the premier receivers in the NFL in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (above) who both have over a thousand yards this season and look to have a big day today.
The Colts have had success this season with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and want to run the ball against what is the best run defense in the NFL, the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay must win to keep slim playoff hopes alive trying to get into a 9 – 7 tiebreaker in the NFC Playoff Picture.
Next, the Dolphins come off a euphoric 37 – 31 win over the Eagles at home for their third win of the season. DeVante Parker had his best game as a Dolphin catching three touchdown passes. And, Miami scored on a trick play that saw punter Matt Haack throw a touchdown pass to kicker Jason Sanders. They now rematch AFC East rival the Jets who were humbled a week ago, as Cincinnati earned their first win of the season at their expense.
The Dolphins also defeated the Jets, and former coach Adam Gase, at home earlier this year
Finally in Jacksonville, the Jaguars have turned back to rookie QB Gardner Minshew. After three dismal offensive showings in a row under free agent Nick Foles, Minshew replaced him in the second half of last week. And, he sparked the Jaguars to a field goal and a touchdown in their 28 – 11 beat down by the Buccaneers.
The rookie did win four games in Foles’ absence due to his broken collarbone earlier this year. Fortunately for Jacksonville, the Chargers come in reeling having lost dramatically in Denver a week ago and questions are swirling whether it is the end of the tenure of Philip Rivers at quarterback.
Jacksonville’s defense is beaten up, including putting Myles Jack on injured reserve earlier this week with an injured kneed.