Good teams, no matter the sport, usually find a way to win even when they don’t play particularly well. That’s precisely what the Bucs did this past weekend against the Chargers.
And head coach Dirk Koetter knows it.
After looking at the tape of his team’s 28-21 win at San Diego, a victory that gave the Bucs a share of the NFC South lead as well as a birth in the NFC wild card picture, Koetter had to admit he wasn’t all that impressed.
“To be honest, after looking at the tape I don’t think we played great,’’ Koetter said during his Monday press conference at One Buc Place. “We got the win, but when you really look at it, did we do anything?’’
Well, yeah. They made a couple of big plays when they really had to, particularly on defense, where linebacker Lavonte David had a pick six and safety Keith Tandy had a game-saving pick late in the fourth quarter.
And Jameis Winston had another good game, completing 20 of 30 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown. Oh, and they did a pretty good job of harassing Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, sacking him twice and pressuring him about a dozen times.
Other than that, though, you can see where Koetter is coming from. After all, the Bucs didn’t run the ball particularly well (again), gaining just 81 yards on 30 carries (2.7 per carry). And they didn’t stop the run all that well either.
Melvin Gordon ran 17 times for 84 yards (4.9) and a touchdown and Rivers spent the first half of the game “killing’’ (Koetter’s word) the Bucs with check downs.
Throw in the fact that rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo missed another field goal try, this one from 31 yards out, and the fact the Chargers converted half of their third downs and you can see where Koetter’s point.
But again, a good indication you’ve got a good team on your hands comes when that team doesn’t play well but still finds a way to win, and as Koetter the standings tell us, that’s what the Bucs did.
“We made plays when it counted,’’ Koetter said, referring in particular to two plays, the David pick-six and the punt down to the Chargers 7-yard line by unheralded punter Bryan Anger that set it up.
“Those two plays flipped the momentum back because we were really just kind of hanging on (leading 17-14) for a big part of that game and then I thought we finished the game well,’’ Koetter said. “I thought we played better in the second half, but I don’t think we played overall as well in that game as we have the last three weeks and I know for a fact we’re going to have to play better against New Orleans.’’