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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seahawks QB Wilson out duels Bucs QB Winston in wild win

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Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs engaged in a wild offensive shootout with the Seahawks. And, in the end, Seattle QB Russell Wilson had one more bullet left to gun-sling at them in 40-34 comeback overtime victory.

Wilson lead game winning touchdown drive in overtime hitting TE Jake Hollister with a 10-yard score to end it, as Seattle erased a 21-7 first-half deficit and won for the seventh time in nine games.

The Bucs got another huge game from their QB, Jameis Winston, who threw for over 300 yards  for the third consecutive game. Winston led the offensive outburst in the first half that resulted in three touchdowns. One of them with a deflected pass high in the air pulled in by receiver Breshad Perriman, who caught it at the goal line and got in the end zone for a 14 – 7 advantage.

Later in the second quarter, Winston found his favorite target, Mike Evans, on a five yard TD for the two score advantage. Evans had another monster game with 12 more catches for 180 yards, a week after having 11 catches for 198 yards at Tennessee.

Still, it was too much of Wilson, the perennial Pro Bowler, working his magic to receivers Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Wilson finished 378 yards passing and the five scores, including the game-winner.

Lockett caught 13 passes for 152 yards and 2 TD’s. Meanwhile, the rookie Metcalf roasted the Tampa Bay secondary mostly in the second half for 6 catches 123 yards and a score.

The Buccaneers tied the game in the final minute after Winston scrambled 6 yards on 4th and 5 deep in Seahawks territory to keep a drive alive. He later found Evans for a catch down to the Seahawks one yard line and backup running back Dare Ogunbawale banged it in, as the Bucs tied the game at 34 with an extra point.

Seattle had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation as Wilson moved them into scoring range before they took their final timeout But, kicker Jason Myers missed his second field goal of the day, and third kick over all in the game with no time left.

Still, Seahawks won the coin toss in OT and needed only to get a touchdown to end the game, which Wilson got them on 10 play, 75 yard drive.

The loss basically signals the end of the Buccaneers 2019 season. When it looked as though they had turned things around with a huge win 55 – 40 week four win in Los Angeles to get to 2-2, they have now gone on to lose four games in a row and five out of six overall, to drop to 2 – 6.

That currently has them five games behind the New Orleans Saints in the division and now, four games out of the NFC wildcard picture.

Still, there are lots of things to build on, including the effort the Bucs showed throughout the day in battling with the always strong Seahawks.

However, it was Wilson and the 26th time he’s led 4th quarter or OT winning drive that this game will be most remembered for by fans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

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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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Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

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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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