While the Bucs want to close out on Sunday afternoon a title in the NFC South division, they will also try to build on and work through the offense’s struggles by failing to place points on the board.
The struggles so far are well documented as the Bucs only average 17.7 points per game. To put that into context among league leaders across the league, the Bucs are lucky to stay in the playoffs. In 15 games, the team has scored 266 points. The next lowest point total by a division leader this season is 353 points by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South.
While the ship has been able to stay afloat thanks to the defense that kept them in games and some late Christmas magic in the fourth quarter and overtime, the way the Bucs have won this season is not sustainable in the playoffs . To have any chance of continuing into January, they must recapture the ability to accumulate points, as they did in 2020 and 2021.
Bucs WR Godwin: “I really feel like it could be any minute”
Count wide receiver Chris Godwin among believers that this change can still happen. godwin, the fruits of his labor are beginning to bear fruit of his ACL injury, has been the featured option for a Bucs offense that relies on fencing and fast passing to move the chains.
He leads the team in receptions with 21 over the running back Leonard Fournette (89 to 68). He also paces the team in goals (126) and ranks second in receiving yards (848). Regardless of these numbers, however, his focus remains on making an impact and being consistent.
“I try not to focus too much on stats – I really try to see everything as my impact on the team and I try to look at the game as a whole to see if I’ve had a positive impact or not,” said Godwin . “If I didn’t, how can I get better? I guess I can just be as consistent as I can try to hang my hat. I want to be a reliable man for my team so that when the ball is thrown my way they expect the plays to be made.
Does Godwin still believe the attack is lurking by getting 30 points per game like in 2020 (30.8) and 2021 (30.1)?
“I think it still is [around the corner]”I really do,” Godwin added. “I really feel like it could be anytime it clicks for us and whatever that missing piece is… I think it’s there. It’s not just going to happen, is it? We have to make it happen, we have to get out there and work together.”
Bucs QB Brady: “I need to make better pitches”
Speaking Thursday, quarterback Tom Brady acknowledged the reality that the team has fallen short of expectations since the start of the season. Getting on the same page as receiver Mike Evans has turned into a unlikely seasonal issuea problem he imposes on himself.
“I think everything was a little bit… this year it just wasn’t as good as we probably all hoped from the beginning of the year, but that’s the reality of where we are right now,” said Brady. “I love Mike. I like playing with Mike, I love being outside with him. He’s a fighter, he’s a warrior, he’s so strong, he’s talented and I need to make better throws. At the end of the day I have to do my best to give him the ball.”
In the last two games of the season it is now time to put all the puzzle pieces together. Often the crime resembled trying to pulverize puzzle pieces where they don’t belong in the bigger picture. To use a famous idiom, it was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. When the offense has completed (or executed) the puzzle correctly, it has turned out to be a masterpiece. It won’t just line up perfectly, as Godwin alluded to.
It’s all about capitalizing on the opportunity to finish the season with momentum and enter the playoffs at the right time. That starts on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
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“We now have an opportunity to do something really positive, and that is beat a team that is playing well,” said Brady.
He added: “It’s a big challenge, it’s a great opportunity and you don’t take it for granted. You just go out there and you cut it loose and you play your best. That’s what this team can do.”
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