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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Too many Bucs mistakes again in latest loss at Tennessee

Florida Football Insiders



Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs odyssey away from home continued on Sunday, and once again a repeated theme of too many mistakes did them in on the road at Tennessee.

Playing away from Raymond James stadium for the fourth straight game, Tampa Bay lost for the third time in a row and the fourth time in five games dropping a 27 – 23 decision to the Titans.

And, what’s frustrating for them and their fans, is this was another game that was there for the taking. Particularly so,  after quarterback Jameis Winston shook off an early fumble and interception and lead an 11 Point comeback midway through the game.

Trailing at one point 14-3, Winston hooked up not once, but twice, with Mike Evans on touchdowns to put Tampa Bay in the lead  23 – 20 midway through the third quarter. Evans would finish with 11 catches for 198 yards and two scores with his best overall output of the season.

However, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, playing his second straight game in relief of Marcus Mariota, made enough key throws, finishing with three touchdowns to rally Tennessee. The third of those went 8 yards to rookie to A.J. Brown for a TD midway through the fourth and gave Tennessee the eventual winning margin:

That’s when the turnovers bit Winston, again with six minutes remaining, as he was hit from behind while trying to throw by Harold Landry who recovered, it.  Tampa Bay held defensively and that’s when Titans coach Mike Vrabel went to the bag of tricks trying a fake field goal and controversy struck.

Holder Brett Kern was tackled short of the line to gain and replays revealed he had fumbled football. But, the officials blew the whistle, even though Tampa Bay had picked it up and was running it in for what would have been the go-ahead touchdown. There is no recourse to review a play for what happens after a blown whistle.

Next, Winston tried to move the Buccaneers into scoring position but they were stopped on downs, with 1:52 left, when the Titans stuffed Peyton Barber on a fourth-and-one.

Tampa Bay got the ball back one last time with 40 seconds remaining and Winston threw his final interception of the day with 20 seconds to go launching a ball deep downfield having it picked by Logan Ryan to end it.

The Bucs also committed 10 penalties to cost them, too.

On the bright side, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul made his return from a fractured neck suffered in a car accident in May and registered a sack on the second defensive playe of the game for the Buccaneers, he finished with three other tackles.

Also, fellow pass-rusher Shaq Barrett registered his 10th sack of the season, as the Bucs tried to make a comeback.

Tennessee improves to 4 – 4 on the season and the Bucs are left to wonder what will come out of last 2 months of the year with Winston clearly playing poorly and the team dropping to to 2 – 5.

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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