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Game Ball: Buccaneers vs. Jets

Posted Nov 12, 2017

Who got this week's Game Ball?

Game Ball: With six different players providing sacks and the Buccaneers holding the Jets out of the end zone until the game's final 30 seconds, there were plenty of game-ball options on defense. However, the team's most active defender for the game's 60 minutes was linebacker Lavonte David, who tallied eight stops, two tackles for loss and a key fumble recovery to set up a third-quarter field goal. With the Bucs' defensive line holding well at the point of attack, David and his fellow linebackers were able to hit the Jets' ballcarriers before they could build up a head of steam. The Jets were held to 56 yards on 19 carries, averaging just 2.9 yards per tote.

Play of the Game: Charles Sims gave the Bucs their only touchdown with a six-yard catch on third down with six minutes left in the game, but his biggest play actually came earlier in the same drive. With the Buccaneers nursing a six-point lead and hoping to turn it into a two-score game, they started a drive at their own 19. Sims helped out on the first third-down of the march with a three-yard catch on a quick slant on third-and-one. However, six plays later the offense was facing a third-and-15 at its own 39 and the Bucs were mostly interested in burning up some clock and punting it deep. Head Coach Dirk Koetter sent in a toss-sweep left to Sims, on what he later called a "keep-the-clock-moving play." Sims did more than that, cutting between defenders and picking up 21 yards to the Jets' 40. That allowed the Bucs to run the clock for four more minutes but, most importantly, get the ball into the end zone.

Turning Point: Neither team generated much offense in the first half, but the Buccaneers got the ball first to start the third quarter and immediately mounted a scoring drive that would put them up for good. With the running game struggling to pick up big chunks of yards, particularly on first down, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ran play-action fakes on each of the first two plays of the drive, each time turning to fire to rookie WR Chris Godwin over the middle. Godwin caught them both for 28 yards to move the ball over midfield. The Bucs would finish the drive with Patrick Murray's 49-yard field goal. The offense's quick success and good execution on a difficult special teams play worked together for three points and turned momentum in the Bucs' favor.

It Was Over When: The Jets' onside kick attempt settled into Godwin's arms. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro had succeeded in hitting a kick that took a sudden high bounce, as is the hope on most onside tries. However, the Bucs' front wall of blockers let it sail over their heads and gave Godwin room to catch it without being hit. Had Mike Evans not been suspended, that likely would have been him standing behind that wall of blockers. The rookie made sure the play was made anyway.