If you thought the Bucs strategy for securing a win looked familiar – you know, like something out of the Tony Dungy era – go with that feeling.
But, a win’s a win, and I’ll take it.
Bucs 15 – Jets 10
It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. Seemingly taking their cue from the Days of Old, the Bucs relied on their defense to keep things under control and the game within reach and affording their offense the opportunities needed to score in workmanlike fashion just enough points to win. It’s a formula that produced solid if not spectacular results for years, most notably during Tony Dungy’s storied tenure as the Bucs head coach, and you know what? I’ll roll with it forever if it means Tampa can keep adding notches to their Win Column.
The Bucs’ offensive production was anchored by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, subbing for the injured Jameis Winston. He presided over a pair of time-eating, soul-crushing scoring drives of the sort that make defenses cry like when you watch the ending to Bambi. The drives may only have netted nine points (a field goal and touchdown, with the latter score’s 2-point conversion coming up short), but they generated ripples that affected the rest of the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs were in pretty good form. They hassled Jets quarterback Josh McCown all day, to the tune of six sacks and an interception, though they still allowed him to rack up 265+ yards while completing 23 of 39 passes. They also recovered a fumble to halt another New York drive, and held the Jets to only 3 points in the first half. They did allow a late touchdown with time running out in regulation, but by then the damage was done, and the Bucs walked away with the win after recovering the Jets’ onside kick with less than 30 seconds left in the game.
Scrappy wins count, too, by golly.
The win snaps a five-game skid by the Bucs and improves their record to 3-6. However, their standing in the NFC South remains unchanged, as division rivals Atlanta and New Orleans both won, as well, with Carolina gearing up for a game tonight. It’s a dire picture for Tampa, right now, but this is a tiny sparkle of light in an otherwise dark and dreary season. I’m not saying we should be making Super Bowl plans, or anything, but I’ll take any bit of positive news I can get. What’s sad is that the Bucs have too much raw talent to justify such a paltry performance, this year. Something is definitely amiss in Tampa. Here’s hoping the coaches figure it out, and damned quick.
Next up? The Bucs travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins, who are struggling this year with a 4-4 record. This was the game that was supposed to be played back on Week 1, but was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. Enjoy your bye week, guys.