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#VictoryMonday: Bucs defeat Chargers 38-31

Week Four's matchup against the Chargers was full of highs and lows but the Bucs were able to walk away with a 38-31 victory to extend their win streak to 3 although this week was more of a test compared to the wins against the Broncos and Panthers in previous weeks. In this week's edition of #VictoryMonday, we will be discussing a few things that really could hinder us if it continues and one positive to continue building on.


Penalties

The Bucs had another day full of penalties, racking up 90 yards on 8 penalties. Now I know that doesn't sound bad considering some teams would be thrilled with only 8 penalties, but it was the type that had everyone talking. In the first quarter, Jordan Whitehead was cited for Unnecessary Roughness when he hit quarterback Justin Herbert as he was running out of bounds. Not long after, Carlton Davis was cited for a very questionable Pass Interference call that leads to a big play.


Mike Evans had a rough day as he left the game for a few early in the first quarter with a bummed ankle, but returned with a big day in the stat column and penalty column. He may have registered 111 receiving yards, but also received an Unnecessary Roughness and Offensive Pass Interference. To top it off, the co-leader of tackles in the NFL, Devin White, was cited for two penalties (Illegal formation and Illegal Block Above The Waist).

If the Bucs are going to become serious contenders, they're going to have to cut down on the penalties, especially the stupid mental ones such as the Unnecessary Roughness penalties.


Efficiency

Although the Bucs were able to outdo the Chargers with 28-15 in the first down category and did get 21 out of those first downs through the air, the Bucs still need improvement on the 45% conversion rate that they mustered up. In the first half alone, the Bucs looked lost for most of it after driving down the field for a touchdown to be2gin the game. One thing that showed was Ronald Jones' hands are still absolutely horrendous. He may have only recorded 6 catches for 17 yards, he had a few drops in key moments (2nd down and goal drop that would have been an easy touchdown and another 2nd down drop that could have given the team a first down before the pick-six).


Jones wasn't a complete waste as he led the Bucs in rushing with 111-yards on 20 carries although he failed to find the endzone. With the Bucs missing Fournette and McCoy leaving due to injury, rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn made a helluva impact scoring his first touchdown when he caught a 9-yard pass in the 4th quarter.


Defense

One thing is for sure and it was on full display on Sunday and that is Todd Bowles needs to dial back on the blitz. On several occasions, Bowles would blitz players such as White and it cost the team on some occasions. The Bucs defense allowed rookie quarterback Justin Herbert to pass for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 80% of his passes. One thing that was also evident is that the Bucs secondary definitely had some issues when it came to allowing big pass plays while allowing 2 touchdowns to be completed for 50-plus yards (53-yard touchdown to Johnson and a 72-yard touchdown to Gayton).


Not everything on the defense was terrible though, as the unit came alive at the end of the first half when Ndamukong Suh forced a fumble and Devin White was able to recover it. The Bucs were also able to snag an interception when Carlton Davis picked Herbert off in the 4th quarter to help seal the win.


Brady plays comeback kid AGAIN

As noted earlier, Brady wasn't completely perfect as he did have a few miscues after his first drive touchdown pass to Cam Brate. Following all that, Brady threw his second pick-six of the season with an out-route that Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich has been calling since last season with minimal success. What needs to be mentioned as the main reason the comeback kid was allowed to work was the outstanding work of the offensive line. The big guys of Ryan Jensen, Tristan Wirfs, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, and Alex Cappa did their jobs allowing zero sacks. Read that again...ZERO SACKS! That alone helped Tom Brady hold a perfect passer rating for the entire second half while only missing two passes.


Time to look ahead

The Bucs don't have much time to celebrate and recover as they need to begin prepping to travel to Chicago for the Primetime Thursday Night Football matchup against Nick Foles and the Bears (3-1). Brady will be looking for redemption against Foles for their 2017 Super Bowl matchup.



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