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.
Fantasy Football “Start/Sit” for Florida players Week 14
Everyone’s favorite time of year has arrived, that is if you had a good season. The fantasy playoffs are here, and if you made it, chances are some Florida players helped get there.
This week the Buccaneers will host the reeling Colts. The Jaguars will host the under-performing Chargers, and the Dolphins travel to play the ever-disappointing Jets.
The Buccaneers will entertain the Colts, who have the 13th overall defense. The Colts are 1-4 in their last five games and desperately need a win. Last week, they were torched on the ground by Titans RB Derick Henry. However, this was the first 100-yard rusher against the Colts this season.
The Bucs again surprised fantasy players last week, when Ronald Jones was benched in the first half for not picking up a blitz. This led to Peyton Barber scoring two touchdowns, while Jones had zero points. The Colts have surrendered two passing touchdowns in each of their last three games. Last week the Tampa Bay offense didn’t have to do nearly as much as usual.
This week, expect the Bucs vertical passing to be back throwing the ball at least 35 times. With a stout run defense, Jameis Winston will need to be at the top of his game in a big test for this Bucs team.
The Jaguars offense has been rough through the air with Nick Foles back. Now, Foles is back on the bench in favor of rookie, Gardner Minshew. The Chargers come into town with the 4th ranked pass defense, but let Drew Lock and Cortland Sutton connect for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers own the 18th ranked rush defense, and that is music to the ears of Leonard Fournette.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for the running back facing some stout run defenses. This weekend look for Fournette to get back on track. With the return of Minshew means the D.J. Chark becomes even more attractive. Chark was still the top guy with Foles in, but he and Minshew have a good connection.
The Dolphins are coming off one of the stunners of the year beating the Eagles in a 37-31 shootout. This week they set their sights on the Jets, who just gave the Bengals their first win. The Jets have the leagues’ best-run defense, which is usually significant. However, the Dolphins can’t run the ball effectively at all.
That means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be throwing a lot against the 19th ranked pass defense.
Last week Fitzpatrick and Devante Parker destroyed the Eagles secondary. This week they will have all the opportunities to do the same thing to the Jets. With the tight end position a mess, Mike Gesicki is an option again, who has scored in two straight games.
Colts Kicker Adam Vinateri out for Bucs game
The Colts are traveling to Tampa Bay but will likely take on the Bucs without their future Hall of Fame Kicker, Adam Vinatieri.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Before the matchup last week against the Titans, Vinatieri had began to experience a bit of pain in his left knee, the leg he plants to kick with his right leg. He told reporters that the pain began to increase through the week which led him to be placed on the Colt’s injury report for the first time this season.
Later Friday afternoon, Indy made Vinatieri’s “out” status official:
Per Coach Reich, RB Marlon Mack and WR Parris Campbell are expected to play Sunday.
More on who's in and who's out for #INDvsTB:
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 6, 2019
Vinatieri who is currently the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, has struggled to be consistent this season and has made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts. He’s cost the Colt’s a couple of games in his missed eight field goals and six extra points.
Colts head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday that Vinatieri saw some doctors and got scans to figure out the severity of the problem. From there, they’ll consult with doctors and make a decision, which could potentially end his career. He’s currently sitting at 599 made FGs in his 24 seasons, just one shy of the 600 mark.
Earlier this week, Indianapolis secured rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and the 45 year old Pro Bowler had said on Thursday that if he got the go ahead from everyone, he’d take the field on Sunday.
“Docs and trainers and everybody will put their two cents in and we’ll see if we can go,” Vinatieri said. “If I can go, I’ll go.”
Obviously, he did not get good news, and that means the rookie McLaughlin is in to kick at Raymond James Stadium.
The Colts are looking to stay in the race for the AFC wild card spot, in a similar situation as the Bucs, so this Sunday (and really every Sunday from here on out) is a do or die for both teams.
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