Buccaneers vs. Vikings: Two winners, four losers
The Bucs got crushed by the Vikings, so we don’t have much to celebrate.
So, y’know, many losers, not so many winners. Let’s dive in.
Well, that was awful. Case Keenum is apparently the Bucs nemesis, and managed to get 369 total receiving yards, finding deep completion after deep completion. Vernon Hargreaves got destroyed repeatedly, Chris Conte was nowhere to be found, Ryan Smith does not look like the future and the team was desperately missing Brent Grimes, out with injury.
The secondary was terrible, but the pass-rush wasn’t much better. They got some pressure on the quarterback and Gerald McCoy mostly looked fine, but injuries sapped their strength and the ball was out before they could really affect Keenum.
Three interceptions is a bad day. Winston still has issues with the deep ball, and found no rhythm or success in the first half at all. He fixed that a little in the second half, before throwing two picks in the fourth quarter while pressing to get the Bucs back in the game.
While interceptions will always be part of Winston’s game, the most concerning thing is the lack of big plays. Those plays made the difference between a good and a bad game last year, and with teams focusing heavily on taking away Mike Evans and Winston failing to connect with DeSean Jackson deep, those plays are few and far between.
The Bucs trainer
The Bucs defense was already missing three starters going into the game, and during the game almost every healthy defensive starters was forced to leave the field. The most serious of those injuries appeared to be Lavonte David’s, who rolled his ankle and had to be carted off the field.
But Gerald McCoy, Vernon Hargreaves, T.J. Ward, Robert Ayers and Noah Spence all had to leave the game for some time as well. We’ll see whether those injuries lead to any absences this week, but the trainer will have a very heavy workload regardless.
Beckwith replaced Kwon Alexander at middle linebacker for the second game, and once again more than held his own. Pro Football Focus notes he allowed just nine receiving yards on three catches, which is very impressive given the holes in the secondary as well as Beckwith’s pre-draft deficiencies in coverage. If there’s ever a point where Alexander, Beckwith and David are healthy, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bucs handle that.
S T.J. Ward
T.J. Ward got a little more playing time this week, at 62% of the defensive snap, and once again showed up repeatedly—both in pass defense and against the run. He’s obviously a difference maker who should be on the field as much as possible, but his impact was dulled by the complete incompetence shown by the rest of the defense.
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