By Leo Haggerty


The week started with a quick visit to One Buccaneer to grab a few pictures of what was transpiring as to what members of the “walking wounded” were on the practice field.  Those photos are below.

On Friday, had a chance to chat with HC Bruce Arians on three specific topics.  His comments are below.


LH : Going back to the kickoff at the end of the game against the Colts.  Pinion doesn’t make the tackle but he doesn’t allow Rodgers to cut back into the midddle of the field where he would have had space.  How important was that?

BA : That was big. Just to pin him on the sideline and have a chance to get him down. It was a good job by Bradley.

LH : Is there any advantage to the division team that won the first game when they play the second time? 

BA : No, especially ones that were in September. A couple fluky plays there at the end really.  That was a 28-25 game in the fourth quarter then a couple fluky plays that we make to spread it out a little bit. They’ve grown so much since then. Hopefully we have, too.

LH : Ryan has been a fixture in Atlanta for years.  What are you seeing on film when it comes to the play of #2 this year?

BA : I see quality, man. He looks younger than he has in four or five years. He’s running more, he’s doing some things. He’s still got a great arm and he’s extremely smart. I’ve been impressed with Matt for a long, long time.

Tampa Bay pulled away from a 20-17 halftime lead to with 10 second half points and the Bucs defense shut down the Atlanta offense for the last 30 minutes as the Pewter Pirates cruised to a 30-17 victory over the Dirty Birds.  The win moved the Bucs to 9-3 and atop the National Football Conference South Division. The loss dropped ATL to 5-7 and a three-way tie for second in the NFC South.

The Bucs opened the scoring on their first possession at 9:53 of the opening period.  QB Tom Brady (38 of 51 for 368 yards and 4 TD plus 1 INT) found RB Leonard Fournette (7 for 48 yards and 1 TD) in the right front of the end zone capping a 75 yard drive that took 5:07 using 13 plays that were all passes.  K Ryan Suppop booted the PAT and that gave the Pewter Pirates an early 7-0 advantage.

That Dirty Birds answered with points of their own at 6:37 of the first period.  RB Mike Davis (4 for 32 yards and 1 TD) went off left tackle and bounced it outside for an 17 jaunt to the end zone.  That completed a six play drive that took 3:13 to traverse 75 yards.  K Younghoe Koo connected on the extra point to knot the score at seven all.

Tampa Bay jumped ahead on their next drive at the 4:23 mark of the first quarter.  Brady hit TE Cameron Brate (1 for 3 and 1 TD) with a three yard lob just over the goal line.  That finished a 2:17 drive that took six plays to go 71 yards.  Succop hit the left upright with his conversion attempt keeping the Buccaneers lead at 13-7.

Atlanta cut the margin on their next possession at 8:41 of the second period.  Koo boomed a 21 yard field goal that ended a 15 play drive that 7 minutes to go 72 yards.  That trimmed the Pewter Pirates lead to 13-10.

Tampa Bay extended their lead at 4:54 of the second quarter.  Brady found TE Rob Gronkowski (4 for 58 yards and 2 TD) with a short pass over the middle and #87 took it to the house from there completing a 27 catch and run score.  That eclipsed a nine play drive that took 3:45 to travel 75 yards.  Succop converted the PAT and the Buccaneers stretched their lead to 20-10.

The Falcons flipped the scoreboard with just 22 seconds left before halftime.  With the Bucs backed up inside the 10 yard line, Brady tried to hit Fournette with a quick swing pass but the aerial was intercepted by DL Marlon Davidson.  #90 rumbled the three yards to pay dirt and Koo hit the extra point to pull the Dirty Birds close at 20-17.

The Pewter Pirates expanded their lead with 34 seconds left in the third period.  Again it was Brady to Gronkowski but this time on the right sideline for a 11 yard touchdown.  That ended a 14 play drive that went 87 yards in 5:43.  Succop split the uprights with the conversion and the Bucs moved out to a 27-17 advantage.

Tampa Bay put up the final points of the afternoon at 1:53 of the final period.  Succop completed a 13 play drive that took 5:36 to move 78 yards with a 31 yard field goal.  That made the final count 30-17 in favor of the Buccaneers.

Both Bucs wide receivers had excellent afternoons even though they didn’t bring a reception to the promised land.  Chris Godwin (15 for 143 yards) and Mike Evans (7 for 99 yards) had outstanding games and kept many a drive alive with key receptions and yards after the catch.

The big story of the second half was the Tampa Bay defense.  The charges of DC Todd Bowles threw up a goose egg over the last 30 minutes of play to ensure the victory.

Now, the Buccaneers get to prepare for an American Football Conference East Division opponent in the Buffalo Bills.  Kickoff is at 4:25 so plan your day accordingly.