Bucs vs. Panthers: Most Disappointing Week 17
New year, new Bucs? It wasn’t always pretty, but the Bucs got away with it a division-decisive performance against the Carolina Panthers, won 30-24 on Sunday afternoon. It’s the first time the Bucs have scored 30 points in a winning effort all season, which is disappointing in itself. There were some hiccups and the game definitely didn’t go the way the Bucs wanted, but they were resilient and eventually found a way to win.
Here are the most disappointing players from this week’s win:
Santoine Winfield Jr.
Winfield struggled on the Panthers’ opening drive. On the first play of the game, he dropped behind DJ Moore for a 26-yard gain. He was then called for a defensive pass interference call that put Carolina on the 17-yard line. On the next play, he accounted for Tommy Tremble, who beat him for the first points of the game.
The second quarter wouldn’t be much kinder to Winfield. He put a massive fourth-down conversion deep in Bucs territory and followed it up by allowing his second touchdown of the game. This time it was a 24-yard catch by Moore. Winfield also received a watch call late in the third quarter. Winfield was sacked just before half-time, but it wasn’t enough to take him off this list.
Lieutenant Donovan Smith
Smith was called for yet another holding penalty on the Bucs’ first drive. And later, playing with the lead in the fourth quarter, Smith had Brian Burns run right past him to nearly sack Tom Brady when he lost the ball.
As Herm Edwards would say, “You play to win the game.” On several occasions, Bowles played it safe on Sunday, opting to attempt field goals rather than go for it in fourth. The first, and perhaps most egregious, was a 53-yard attempt in the second quarter. Succop is not known for his booming leg, but for his accuracy within 40 yards. His miss made him 2-of-7 from 50 yards or further into the season.
Trailing 14–7 at the end of the first half, Bowles decided to take the three points rather than go four yards out of the end zone for a potential equalizer. Succop made the kick and cut the Panthers’ lead to four points. Then, in the third quarter, Bowles decided to kick another field goal from just eight yards out of the fourth down end zone instead of going for a possible touchdown. Succop’s punt was blocked, leaving the Bucs 14-10.
K. Ryan Succop
Succop was 1-of-3 on the day, also missing an extra point. Of the kicks he missed, his 53-yard kick was arguably well outside his comfort zone. His second miss came on a 26-yard attempt that was blocked by Yetur Gross-Matos. Late in the game, he missed a PAT on the final touchdown of the game by the Bucs.
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