Maybe this one was for Kwon Alexander, playing in honor of the loss of his murdered brother on Saturday morning. Maybe it was for Lovie Smith, who was certainly under fire last week after the team blew a huge lead in Washington. There were so many ways this one could have broke; and the Buccaneers got it done.
Alexander was definitely the MVP of today’s game. The Buccaneers would not have won without him. The play of the game came when he stripped Julio Jones of the football. He stripped it away, and the Buccaneers tied the game at three. He later added an interception and led the team in tackles with 11.
I’ve always liked Kwon Alexander. Something told me that this guy had ‘it’, some type of swagger. He’s going to be one of those middle round draft pick guys that just sticks. Barring injury, he’ll be a long-term cog on the Buccaneers roster. He can play.
Jameis Winston didn’t throw an interception for the third straight week. He went 16 of 29 for 177 yards, a touchdown and had several big hitters in the game like this strike to Cameron Brate, and had a rushing touchdown from four yards out to put the Buccaneers up 20-3.
He was a leader. He managed the game. He hit WR Adam Humphries on a crucial third down play to keep the Buccaneers drive going in Overtime; the drive that eventually was the game-winning drive. He went into Atlanta, to the dome where they are so tough to beat with Matt Ryan at the helm and beat a 6-1 team to keep his squad in the playoff race. Jameis said that the crowd noise was for him and Kwon Alexander.
I thought the guy in this game who could factor big was Donteea Dye. It turned out to be Cameron Brate – a tight end from Harvard who was on the Saints practice squad weeks ago. It’s absolutely amazing that Jameis Winston took this group of receivers and half strength Mike Evans and went into Atlanta and won the game.
- Howard Jones had another sack.
- Gerald McCoy had a quiet day on the stat sheet – just one tackle. But he was in on the last play of the game, putting Matt Ryan in the grasp and hanging on leading to the errant pass that clinched the game.
- Brandon Myers had three catches for 32 yards.
- Jameis Winston had a 21 yard run, the longest of his career.
- Winston has thrown 87 consecutive passes without an interception.
Next week at 4:00 PM ET the Buccaneers host the Giants in Tampa, with the Giants fresh off that Arena league type game in the Superdome in New Orleans (52-49 loss). It is basically my birthday weekend, and my wife’s team plays mine. Both in need of a win to get to the playoff chase.
Great win by the Buccaneers today.