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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs play impressive complete game in Atlanta win Sunday

Florida Football Insiders



Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

After another shaky start, the Bucs came on strong and completely outplayed the Atlanta Falcons for a 35 – 23 win Sunday in Atlanta.

Quarterback Jameis Winston threw for over 300 yards for the sixth consecutive game with three TD passes and the Tampa Bay defense had six sacks and a fourth quarter fumble return for a touchdown to clinch the win.

The game started shakily for the third consecutive week for Winston, as he threw an interception on the opening possession. However, Tampa Bay’s defense held Atlanta to only a few goal to keep the game at 3 -). Then, a short time later Winston fired to strike down field to Chris Godwin, who bounced off two defenders and raced 71 yards from score to put Tampa Bay in front 7- 3.

Winston continued his early turnover ways and threw his second int later in the first quarter. which gives him a league-leading 20 on the season. Atlanta cashed in when reserve running back Qadree Ollison, who was playing for the injured Devonta Freeman powered in from a yard out to put Altanta back in front.

It was the last time they would lead Sunday.

The Bucs came back strong in the second quarter with two clutch drives the first one of 51 yards yards culminating when Winston hit Godwin for a second touchdown of the day. And then, just before half-time another 95 yard drive enabled Winston to hit defensive tackle Vita Vea with a touchdown from a yard out (above) to extend the lead to 19-10.

Vea, the former number 1 pick two years ago out of Washington, had been used, as a 350 lb. blocking back two weeks ago in the win over Arizona. And, he is also a former high school running back. The big guy showed great hands on the score.

Tampa Bay continued their bounce back from a disappointing 34-17 loss to the Saints last week by marching with the opening second-half kickoff 75 yards and Ronald Jones scored from four yards out put Tampa Bay up comfortably 25-10.

Atlanta played shorthanded part of the game, as WR Julio Jones suffered an injured shoulder and was in and out of the lineup for the second quarter on. Jones ony finished with 48 yards receiving on a Tampa Bay secondary that has been blistered all year.

Finally, late in the fourth quarter, the Bucs defense sandwiched Ryan and the loose football was picked up by free agent acquisition Ndamukong Suh took it in his second touchdown of the season from 6 yards away and clinched the game.

The win was particularly impressive because Atlanta had come off of two great performances and road victories against New Orleans and Carolina the previous weeks. However, they had no answers for the Bucs balanced offense which registered 446 yards on the day.

Tampa Bay improves to 4 -7 while the Falcons whom they will see in the final game of the season dropped to 3 and 8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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