Yarcho’s Pick Six: hats and t-shirts all around
It might have been a week after a lot of expectations and everyone wanted it, but the first job was done – the Buccaneers won the division and hit their 2021 ticket. nfl playoffs. It wasn’t since Jeff Garcia was under center and Joey Galloway was capturing deep passes that the Bucs held the NFC South Championship title, but they accomplished just that with the 32-6 victory over the Carolina Panthers in what was likely Cam Newton’s last game in front of Panthers fans as a quarterback.
Let’s choose six.
Six topics suitable for conversation
1.) Overcome adversity. The offensive was far from what one could qualify as “pretty” Sunday, despite the unbalanced score. However, they managed to do enough to score over 30 points yet again – thanks in large part to Ryan Succop’s leg. However, that’s no reason to worry or worry about the Bucs’ offense. A big part of this game was figuring out what they could and couldn’t do without Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette. With Antonio Brown moving things forward as the top receiver, Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn making great offensive contributions and Cameron Brate being the tight end to step up, the offense will play very well in the last row. law. The Panthers made Rob Gronkowski’s removal a big part of their game plan, but Tom Brady had no problem using both Brate and OJ Howard. Against the NFL’s second-best defense in yards allowed, the Bucs racked up nearly 400. It’s just a matter of finishing. Also, don’t forget that Evans and Fournette will be back. Once they have Evans and AB as a 1-2 punch and Fournette runs behind a line made up of 60% Pro Bowlers, the offense won’t have a huge drop off from what we’ve seen a much of the season.
2.) Hi, defense. The Buccaneers’ defense hasn’t allowed any touchdowns since the fourth quarter against the Bison tickets. Sadly, they failed to win against New Orleans despite the defense’s outstanding performance, but it’s a good sign to move forward. No, they haven’t staged high octane infractions outside the end zone, but go back a year. The defense made its way against some teams in the final quarter of the season against some lackluster infractions as well. Sometimes all you have to do is set a rhythm and then no matter how much attacking level you play – you impose your will on them and dominate. Now it looks like the Bucs are starting to hit that pace. They sacked Carolina quarterbacks seven times, got an interception and held them 7-for-18 in third downs. During the first half, the Panthers had no yardage on their ball carriers. They certainly have a great opportunity to extend that streak of keeping teams out of the end zone next week against the New York Jets.
3.) Have a day, Jordan. The emergence of Jordan Whitehead is one of the main reasons the defense played so well. Whitehead seemed to have his name invoked in pretty much every room. He forced Newton into a William Gholston sack in the first quarter, had an interception, finished with a team-high of seven tackles, as well as a team-high of three defended. In the absence of Antoine Winfield Jr., Whitehead was the high school star and not only made plays in the passing game, but smashed the surface to stop Carolina’s running game. If he plays like that in the playoffs, the Bucs’ defense is going to be terrifying.
4.) Ok, I’ll eat the crow. I haven’t been overly critical here, but on the Locked On Bucs podcast, I’ve really given Ronald Jones heartache this season for not looking good or for taking advantage of the little opportunities he has had. Now there is no doubt that his opportunity was limited due to the quality of his game from Fournette, but I felt RoJo almost pout and send it in the mail when he got the chance to play . I was wrong. As the leader of the Bucs, RoJo finished with 65 yards on 20 carries – which is an unimpressive 3.3 yards per carry – but he played much better than that. He was hit for little or no gain late in the game when the Bucs were in “time out” mode. RoJo was constantly breaking large chunks of yards early on and making the offensive yards difficult and shifting the chains. It looked like the RoJo of 2020 and that’s exactly what you wanted to see. Fournette’s fresh legs helped a lot late last year and into the playoffs, so you have to hope that history will repeat itself just with the players switching places.
5.) No more unfortunate news to watch. Shaquil Barrett, who got a double-digit sack once again, left the game late in the first half with an injury. Now he has returned for the first set of the second half before returning and being sent off with a knee injury. After the game, Bruce Arians said it appears Barrett is suffering from a minor MCL injury, but will undergo further testing on Monday. A slight MCL seems like good news all things considered, but keep in mind that after last week’s game the team believed Godwin had avoided a major injury. You hope they’re right this time around and it’s not another situation where we think Barrett will be back just to find out he’s on the shelf for an extended period of time.
6.) Enjoy it. After so much heartbreak as Saints fans shared last week, enjoy it. The Buccaneers are 11-4, in line to go 13-4, and have won the division. There should be a lot of excitement and happiness among the Tampa Bay devotees. Keep in mind that most of these key players are coming back (and I hope no one else gets hurt), so things will continue to improve. And once the playoffs begin, there are plenty of players in that locker room who know exactly what it takes to get to the top of the mountain.
Six numbers to consider
1 – Earn away from matching the franchise record for wins in one season
4 – Players with multiple double-digit sack seasons for the Bucs – Barrett, Simeon Rice (5), Warren Sapp (3) and Lee Roy Selmon (4)
530 – The yards Brady needed in the last two games to break the Bucs single-season record for passing yards in one season
3 – Cameron Brate’s rank on Bucs all-time list for receiving touchdowns after passing Kevin House on Sunday
19 – Years since the Buccaneers appeared in back-to-back playoffs
143 – Consecutive games Antonio Brown played where he received reception – longest active streak in the NFL
Six best tweets
Quarterbacks and NFC South Champs. Great team success from top to bottom. Also .. everyone please note, the QB room is the biggest, the nicest and probably the funniest too. pic.twitter.com/uVeLncXjlu
– Tom Brady (@TomBrady) December 27, 2021
Robby Anderson spun the ball past the #Tips bench and pointed up to celebrate an insignificant catch on the 1st down, while being down 32-6 with no time left in the game.
[He also celebrated a short catch the play earlier, and yes, the score was still 32-6] pic.twitter.com/0lozsS0UkH
– Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 26, 2021
This one is fun on many levels. First of all, have some self-awareness. You lose 26 with less than 2 minutes to play and land for a first try. Second, watch Antonio Brown’s reaction while on the stationary bike. Hilarious.
Ok, not a list of six, but some important information to convey. At this point, all Bucs fans need to do – aside from the Bucs who win their last two – is root for a loss to the Rams. A loss for the Rams means the Buccaneers are tied with the Dallas Cowboys where the Buccaneers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker and would get the second seed. The Rams still play in Baltimore and at home against the 49ers. Either game could be a loss, but the Baltimore game looks more likely if the Ravens get Lamar Jackson back. Division games are always tough and in their first meeting this year the Rams were outscored by San Francisco 31-10. Even if the Cardinals won, they would be one game behind the Bucs. So, for the next two weeks, your second favorite teams are the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
1.) Green Bay Packers – NFC first seed, holding on after narrow Christmas win
2.) Kansas City Chiefs – Uh. How did we get there after the start of the season?
3.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Win in the face of adversity with the return of many impact players
4.) Dallas Cowboys – Could prove problematic in the playoffs
5.) Indianapolis Colts – Winners of six of their last seven with an MVP candidate in their backfield. Make noise at the right time
6.) Bison bills – Start to look like who we thought they were