The Bucs bounced back Sunday night in a huge way, upset the defending NFC champion Rams 55-40, and matching their franchise single-game scoring record to now sit at 2-2, being undefeated on the road.
Similarly to last week, the Bucs jumped out ahead early, and snagged a 21-point lead with just over 8 minutes to go in the first half.
The Rams gained some momentum and moved down the field pretty quickly in their next drive. From 13 yards out, RB Todd Gurley, one Arian’s biggest concerns heading into the game, took a hand off from Jared Goff and fought his way through to the end zone for a touchdown. This was followed by another Rams touchdown in their next drive from tight end Gerald Everett, cutting the Bucs’ lead to 21-14.
In their last drive of the half, Jameis Winston found Chris Godwin on multiple third down completions, and then handed it off running back Ronald Jones in the red zone for a TD. The Rams responded with a field goal to make it 28-17 going into halftime.
Both teams traded field goals to start the half, and then after an interception by Shaq Barrett, the Bucs extended their lead to 38-20 at the start of the fourth quarter.
With the help of a gift, roughing the passer penalty from the Bucs, the Rams moved the ball down the field pretty quickly and Gurley finished with an easy 5-yard run into the end zone.
Winston responded with his 4th TD pass for the game in a flashy 67 yard throw to Mike Evans, who danced into the end zone in single coverage, putting the Bucs up by 18. Jameis finished with an impressive 385 yards against the Rams defense. However, there was too much time left on the clock for anyone to starting getting comfortable, especially coming off of last week.
This is when the Rams scored two unanswered touchdowns, cutting the Bucs lead to just 5 points with just under 7 minutes left to play. Then kicker Matt Gay, who missed a 34-yard field goal with no time left last week to lose the game, hit his second field goal of the night to put the Bucs up by 8.
Important to note, the rookie Gay ended the game making all six extra points and two field goals, including one from the 58 yards away in the fourth quarter.
Still a one score game, The Rams were moving down the field with 2 minutes to go. That is, until Shaq Barrett got a strip sack to knock the ball out of Goff’s hands.
Former Ram Ndamukong Suh recovered it, and ran it back for the touchdown to put the Bucs up 55-40 to seal a crucial road win for Tampa Bay.
With Evans being tied up by Rams Pro Bowl DB Aqib Talib, Godwin was Winston’s favorite target of the night, catching 12 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets. Ronald Jones was the game’s leading rusher, going for 70 yards and one touchdown on the ground, and also had one reception for 12 yards.
This is a huge momentum boost for the Bucs as they head into a long stretch of road games before they come back to Tampa in mid November.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.