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2023 Game Preview: Buccaneers-49ers, Week 11

After both teams snapped losing streaks with impressive wins in Week 10, the Buccaneers and 49ers will meet in California on Sunday as the Tampa Bay defense tries to contain a well-rounded San Francisco attack


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came out of their Week Five bye with a disappointing four-game losing streak following their 3-1 start. The San Francisco 49ers went into their Week Nine bye on an unexpected three game losing streak. Both teams got right in Week 10 with double-digit wins, but only one of them will remain on a winning streak through Week 11.

The Buccaneers are preparing to fly across the country to take on the 49ers in Santa Clara, and they have a similar trip last December within immediate recall. The Bucs, who were on their way to a second straight NFC South title, got swamped by quarterback Brock Purdy and San Francisco's dizzying area of offensive skill-position players. The 49ers won the game, 35-7, amid a 12-game winning streak that took them all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

That was the first start of Purdy's career but he has 17 of them now, and 13 have been wins (he left one of the four losses, in the aforementioned NFC Championship Game, with an elbow injury in the first half). Purdy has followed up on his out-of-nowhere rookie rise with a league-leading 109.9 passer rating and an NFL-best 9.3 yards per pass attempt. Oh, and all those weapons that helped him achieve that immediate success? They're all still there, as is the left tackle, Trent Williams, who no less of an authority than Bucs start Tristan Wirfs calls the best at his position in the NFL. With Williams and Deebo Samuel recently returning from injuries, Purdy can comfortably distribute the ball to Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey, all of whom already have at least 446 yards from scrimmage.

The Buccaneers shut down Will Levis, Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins and the Titans' offense in last Sunday's 20-6 win, but they understand a more multi-faceted challenge awaits in the other Bay area.

"They've got a lot more weapons and they've got a lot more YAC-yard guys than we've faced recently," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "All of them can do a lot of things. Obviously, Kittle is in there, as well. We've just got to be able to tackle. We've got to be where we need to be at the right time and we've got to gang tackle."

The Bucs' stifling of the Titans, who gained only 209 yards and two field goals, came after a defensive "clunker" in Houston the week before. That 39-37 loss to the Texans looks like the exception for a Bucs defense that has mostly kept the team in every game while a new offense has coalesced around Baker Mayfield.

"Everybody has got a lot of pride," said Bowles of the Bucs' defensive rebound. "You don't want to just have a bad game and not come back from it. You're not going to go in the tank. You either attack it head on or you go back in the tank. Those guys have a lot of pride. We've played a lot of good football in the past. Everybody got down, put their nose down to the grindstone and got back to work as a group. We understand what we're capable of and they came out and played the game."

Mayfield is even newer to his current job than Purdy is, as he joined the Buccaneers in the offseason for a shot at following the retired Tom Brady. While Purdy was famously the last pick in the 2022 draft, Mayfield was the first pick in the 2018, and he's now on his fourth team. Roughly halfway through his first season in Tampa, it's clear that Mayfield is well on the way to reestablishing himself as a quality starting quarterback in the NFL after a wayward 2022. Mayfield has a 93.7 passer rating, a strong 14-5 TD-INT ratio and, so far, a knack for making plays under pressure. Keeping that pressure from becoming too intense against a defensive front led by 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa would go a long way in the Bucs' attempt to make this year's trip to California much more satisfying than it was last year.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) at San Francisco 49ers (6-3)

Sunday, November 19, 4:05 p.m. ET

Levi's Stadium (capacity: 68,500)

Santa Clara, California

Television: FOX (Local WTVT Channel 13)

TV Broadcast Team: Joe Davis (play-by-play), Daryl Johnson (analyst), Pam Oliver (reporter)

Radio: 98Rock (WXTB, 97.9 FM), Flagship Station

Radio Broadcast Team: Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (analyst), T.J. Rives (sideline)

Spanish Radio: 96.1 Caliente

Spanish Radio Broadcast Team: Carlos Bohorquez (play-by-play), Martin Gramática (analyst)


The Buccaneers and 49ers have played each other 26 times, including the postseason, but that history divides neatly into two very different series right near the middle.

San Francisco leads the overall regular-season series by an overwhelming margin, 19-6, but as much as the '97 season is the dividing line between a long-downtrodden team and a successful franchise in Tampa, it also marks the point at which this head-to-head matchup become competitive. The Buccaneers and 49ers had met 13 times between 1977 and 1994 and San Francisco had won 12 of them, often by wide margins. The last four San Francisco wins prior to 1997 were by a combined score of 138-58.

Then the Buccaneers shocked the league by beating Steve Young, Jerry Rice and the 49ers (who would go all the way to the NFC Championship Game that season), 13-6, in Week One of 1997. That was the first of five straight wins to start the '97 season for Tampa Bay as they wound up ending a 15-year playoff drought. Including that win, the Bucs have forged a 6-7 record in the series since 1997 if one includes Tampa Bay's 31-6 drubbing of the 49ers in the Divisional Round of the 2002 playoffs.

San Francisco prevailed in the two most recent meetings between the two teams, beginning with a 31-17 decision at Raymond James Stadium in 2019 that featured three interceptions by the 49ers defense. The last of those picks allowed the visitors to pull away at the end, as the Buccaneers had closed to within 20-17 in the fourth quarter before a Robbie Gould field goal and Ahkello Witherspoon's 25-yard pick-six off Jameis Winston. The Bucs and 49ers had a rematch in San Francisco last year but that one went even more poorly for Tampa Bay, as soon-to-be fan favorite Brock Purdy was a revelation in his first start, completing 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Christian McCaffrey scored once on the ground and once through the air in a 35-7 blowout.

Tampa Bay had won the two previous games in the series before those two, 34-17 in California in 2016 and 27-9 in Florida in 2018. The former included a 249-yard rushing performance by the Buccaneers, led by Jacquizz Rodgers' 154 on 26 carries. In the latter, the Bucs' defense sacked Nick Mullens four times and intercepted him twice while Winston threw touchdown passes to Cam Brate and Adam Humphries.

The aforementioned 2002 Divisional Round win for the Bucs is the only postseason contest the team has had against San Francisco. Mike Alstott scored on a pair of two-yard runs, Brad Johnson threw two touchdown passes and the Bucs kept Jeff Garcia and the 49ers' offense at bay with picks by Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks and Dwight Smith.

As for that turning-point contest in 1997, it famously featured Warren Sapp knocking out Young and Rice with early injuries. San Francisco still managed to take a 6-0 lead into halftime as the Bucs' offense took time to get going, but the defense got even stinger in the second half, allowing only 45 more yards. The Bucs took their first lead five minutes into the fourth quarter on Trent Dilfer's one-yard rollout touchdown pass to tight end Dave Moore. Much of the rest of the offense was provided by fullback Mike Alstott, who finished the game with 119 yards from scrimmage, including 46 of the 53 yards on the game's only touchdown drive. Young came back into the game to start the fourth quarter but was promptly sacked by Hardy Nickerson and intercepted by Tyrone Legette on consecutive plays, setting up Michael Husted for his second field goal, a 34-yarder, and the game's final points.


  • San Francisco General Manager John Lynch was inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium in 2016. Lynch played for the Buccaneers for the first 11 seasons of a career that landed him in the Hall of Fame and was a key part of the historic defense that led a franchise turnaround, peaking with a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
  • Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan came in together as the 49ers' new leadership in 2017. Shanahan got his first NFL coaching job in Tampa, as an offensive quality control coach under Jon Gruden in 2004-05.
  • Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles played one season for the 49ers as a safety in 1991. Quarterbacks Coach Thaddeus Lewis also spent time with San Francisco as a quarterback in 2016.
  • San Francisco's Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster served as the Buccaneers' offensive line coach from 1996-2001, following Tony Dungy from the Vikings to Tampa and holding that job for Dungy's entire tenure with the Buccaneers.
  • Brian Griese, now in his second year as the 49ers' quarterbacks coach, had two separate stints with the Buccaneers during his 11-year career as an NFL quarterback. Griese first signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2004 and over the next two seasons started 16 games with a 9-7 record. He was released by the Buccaneers in 2006 and then spent two years with the Bears before being traded back to Tampa for what would prove to be his final season in 2008, in which he started five games and won three of them.
  • 49ers Defensive Quality Control Coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker was the Buccaneers' wide receivers coach in 2014 and 2015.
  • San Francisco Assistant Defensive Line Coach Darryl Tapp played 12 seasons in the league as a defensive end and his final action came with the Buccaneers, when he played three games with one start in 2017.
  • Running back Jeremy McNichols, who is currently on the 49ers' practice squad, first entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick by the Buccaneers in 2017.
  • San Francisco was one of three teams that Buccaneers kicker Chase McLaughlin played for in his 2019 rookie season. He signed with the 49ers in November and kicked in three games before being released in November. McLaughlin made seven of his eight field goals and all eight of his extra point attempts during his time with the 49ers.
  • Buccaneers tackle Justin Skule was a sixth-round pick by the 49ers in the 2019 draft. He spent two seasons in San Francisco, appearing in 31 games with 12 starts.


Tampa Bay:

  • Head Coach Todd Bowles
  • Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin
  • Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales
  • Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers
  • Pass Game Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach Larry Foote
  • Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong

San Francisco:

  • Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
  • Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster
  • Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks
  • Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider



  • LB SirVocea Dennis (fifth-round draft pick)
  • OLB Yaya Diaby (third-round draft pick)
  • TE Payne Durham (fifth-round draft pick)
  • RB Chase Edmonds (FA)…currently on injured reserve
  • G Matt Feiler (FA)
  • DL Greg Gaines (UFA)
  • CB Josh Hayes (sixth-round draft pick)
  • S Christian Izien (UDFA)
  • WR Rakim Jarrett (UDFA)
  • DL Calijah Kancey (first-round draft pick)
  • G Cody Mauch (second-round draft pick)
  • QB Baker Mayfield (UFA)
  • K Chase McLaughlin (UFA)
  • S Ryan Neal (FA)
  • WR Trey Palmer (sixth-round draft pick)
  • RB Sean Tucker (UDFA)


  • QB Brandon Allen (FA)
  • WR Ronnie Bell (seventh-round draft pick)
  • S Ji'Ayir Brown (third-round draft pick)
  • QB Sam Darnold (UFA)
  • C Jon Feliciano (UFA)
  • DE Clelin Ferrell (UFA)
  • LB Jalen Graham (seventh-round draft pick)
  • DE Randy Gregory (T-DEN)
  • DT Javon Hargrave (UFA)
  • K Jake Moody (third-round draft pick)
  • CB Isaiah Oliver (UFA)
  • G Matt Pryor (UFA)
  • TE Brayden Willis (seventh-round draft pick)
  • LB Dee Winters (sixth-round draft pick)
  • DE Chase Young (T-WAS)



  • Todd Bowles enters his second season as the Bucs' head coach with a new offensive coordinator on his staff. Former Seahawks Quarterbacks Coach Dave Canales takes over for Byron Leftwich, who spent four seasons in that role, the first three under Head Coach Bruce Arians. Canales helped quarterback Geno Smith go from journeyman to the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2022 and has roots in the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay systems.
  • The Buccaneers made a number of other changes to Bowles' staff after the 2022 season, bringing in George Edwards (a former Vikings defensive coordinator) to coach outside linebackers, Brad Idzik to tutor wide receivers, and Skip Peete to take over the running backs room. David Raih and Jordan Somerville also joined the team as senior offensive analyst and assistant quarterbacks coach, respectively. With the arrival of Edwards, defensive Pass Game Coordinator Larry Foote switched from the outside linebacker room to the inside linebacker group. Thaddeus Lewis, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant wide receivers coach, was promoted to quarterbacks coach.
  • After winning a Super Bowl and two division titles over the past three years, the Buccaneers saw an era come to an end when quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement in late January. To move on at the game's most critical position, the Buccaneers brought in former number-one overall draft pick Baker Mayfield to compete with 2021 second-round selection Kyle Trask. Former Ram John Wolford was also added for experienced depth in the quarterback room. Mayfield was named the opening-day starter by Bowles between the second and third preseason games in August.
  • After largely "keeping the band together" for the 2021-22 seasons after their Super Bowl LV victory, the Buccaneers parted ways with a number of prominent players in 2023. Donovan Smith, who occupied the Bucs' starting left tackle spot for eight seasons, was released in March, as were tight end Cameron Brate, running back Leonard Fournette and kicker Ryan Succop. Safety Mike Edwards, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, safety Keanu Neal, defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tackle Josh Wells all found new homes in free agency while defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, wide receiver Julio Jones, outside linebacker Carl Nassib, tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Logan Ryan were not re-signed.


  • Head Coach Kyle Shanahan had to replace a pair of coordinators in 2023 after DeMeco Ryans got the head coaching job in Houston and brought Bobby Slowik with him to be his offensive coordinator. The team brought on Steve Wilks, who had just finished a 12-game run as the Carolina Panthers' head coach, going 6-6 in the process, to be the new defensive coordinator. Wilks has also previously been a defensive coordinator for the Panthers, Cleveland Browns and University of Missouri and had one season as the Arizona Cardinals' head coach. Slowik had held the title of offensive passing game coordinator under Shanahan; the team brought in Klint Kubiak to be the offensive passing game specialist. Kubiak had most recently been the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos.
  • In addition to the departures from their coaching staff, the 49ers also saw their former director of player personnel, Ran Carthon, get the general manager seat in Tennessee. Several prominent 49ers players followed either Ryans or Carthon to their new teams. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and guard Daniel Brunskill both signed with Tennessee while safety Jimmie Ward and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway went to Houston. In addition, Mike McGlinchey, a former first-round pick who had started 77 games over eight seasons for the 49ers, mostly at right tackle, got a big deal from Denver in free agency.
  • The 49ers headed into the offseason with some uncertainty at quarterback, thanks largely to the elbow injury Brock Purdy suffered in the 2022 NFC Championship Game. Jimmy Garoppolo signed with the Raiders and the 49ers eventually traded 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance to the Cowboys. As it turned out, Purdy was able to return from his injury in time to open the season as the starter, and the team signed former Jet and Panther Sam Darnold to be his primary backup.



DNP: Did not participate in practice

LP: Limited participation in practice

FP: Full participation in practice

NL: Not listed


  • LB Lavonte David (rest) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • CB Carlton Davis (toe) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • WR Mike Evans (quadriceps/rest) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • G Matt Feiler (knee) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • T Luke Goedeke (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • DB Josh Hayes (concussion) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • S Ryan Neal (thumb) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • LB Devin White (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.


  • G Aaron Banks (toe) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • DE Robert Beal (hamstring) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (ankle) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • CB Darrell Luter (knee) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • T Colton McKivitz (ankle/knee) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • T Trent Williams (rest) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • CB Samuel Womack (knee) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • G Nick Zakelj (biceps) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.


High of 65, low of 48, 8% chance of rain, 78% humidity, winds out of the NNW at 5-10 mph.


Head referee: Craig Wrolstad (21st season, 10th as referee)


  • Favorite: 49ers (-11.5)
  • Over/Under: 41.5



Points Scored: K Chase McLauglin, 66

Touchdowns: WR Mike Evans, 6

Passing Yards: QB Baker Mayfield, 2,143

Passer Rating: QB Baker Mayfield, 93.7

Rushing Yards: RB Rachaad White, 429

Receptions: WR Chris Godwin, 44

Receiving Yards: WR Mike Evans, 737

Interceptions: Dee Delaney/S Christian Izien, 2

Sacks: DL Vita Vea, 4.5

Tackles: LB Lavonte David, 83


Points Scored: RB Christian McCaffrey, 78

Touchdowns: RB Christian McCaffrey, 13

Passing Yards: QB Brock Purdy, 2,329

Passer Rating: QB Brock Purdy, 109.9

Rushing Yards: RB Christian McCaffrey, 747

Receptions: WR Brandon Aiyuk/RB Christian McCaffrey, 38

Receiving Yards: WR Brandon Aiyuk, 675

Interceptions: S Talanoa Hufanga/LB Fred Warner, 3

Sacks: DE Nick Bosa/DT Javon Hargrave, 4.5

Tackles: LB Fred Warner, 78



Scoring Offense: 22nd (19.8 ppg)

Total Offense: 22nd (306.7 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 31st (78.1 ypg)

Passing Offense: 15th (228.6 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 26th (17.7)

Third-Down Pct.: 17th (39.5%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 5th (5.23%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: 28th (45.8%)

Scoring Defense: 8th (19.2 ppg)

Total Defense: 24th (354.1 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 6th (87.2 ypg)

Passing Defense: 31st (266.9 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: 18th (19.9)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 32nd (47.2%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 19th (7.37%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 1st (32.1%)

Turnover Margin: t-3rd (+8)


Scoring Offense: 4th (28.0 ppg)

Total Offense: 3rd (383.3 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 6th (134.7 ypg)

Passing Offense: 9th (248.7 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 4th (22.4)

Third-Down Pct.: 5th (44.8%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 13th (6.32%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: 6th (61.1%)

Scoring Defense: 2nd (15.9 ppg)

Total Defense: 5th (304.6 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 4th (83.1 ypg)

Passing Defense: 15th (221.4 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: t-7th (18.6)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 19th (39.8%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 22nd (6.69%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 19th (55.0%)

Turnover Margin: t-3rd (+8)


  • Wide receiver Mike Evans recorded his sixth touchdown reception of the season against Tennessee last Sunday, giving him 87 in his career and putting him into a tie with Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed for 16th place in NFL history. One more would move him into a tie for 15th place with another Hall of Famer, Don Maynard.
  • Wide receiver Chris Godwin grabbed his first touchdown catch in Buffalo in Week Eight, which allowed him to tie Ring of Honor member Jimmie Giles for third in team history in terms of total TDs scored and tie Cameron Brate for third in team history in touchdown receptions. Godwin currently has 34 touchdowns on his resume (33 receiving and one rushing), while Giles has 34, all receiving, and Brate has 33, all receiving. His next TD would break those ties.
  • LB Lavonte David has a team-leading 83 tackles this season, which has pushed his career total to 1,427. He needs just two more tackles to pass Hall of Fame cornerback Rondé Barber (1,428) for second place on the Bucs' all-time list. If David gets at least two solo tackles, he will reach 1,000 for his career and will be the only active player in the NFL to reach that level.
  • David needs 17 more tackles to reach 100 for the 10th time his career. The only other players to do that since the 2000 season are London Fletcher (14 times) and Bobby Wagner (11).


  • Head Coach Todd Bowles on going up against 49ers QB Brock Purdy again after he made his first career start against the Buccaneers in 2022: "I hope the results are different. Obviously, they beat us pretty [bad] last year – there are some things we've got to change and we learned from. Hopefully that change is for the better. He's a good quarterback, he's a good football player, he's a smart football player. [49ers Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] plays smart football players. He takes care of the ball, he knows where to go with the football and he can use his feet when he needs to. Other than the other weapons they have, that's a challenge in itself with him using his feet as well."
  • Cornerback Carlton Davis on what the defensive keys are to success this week: "We've got to run and hit. We've got to hit. We've got to own the line of scrimmage [and] stop the run, for sure – make them one dimensional. We've got to limit the big plays – no big plays over top. Stop the run and create turnovers. In any game, when a team turns the ball over, it's definitely a chance to win. You have to play [those] boys really hard – they're a tough team. More than anything, other than the schemes, watching the film, they play hard. They execute on everything they do. I think a big thing for us is to play really physical, put a hat on a hat and play hard. They play hard every time they take the field."
  • Wide receiver Chris Godwin on if he is satisfied only having one touchdown in nine games: "No, not particularly. Obviously, I would love to get in the in zone more, but I think opportunities will be available later. I think just the way the offense is flowing right now, I'm more concerned with us getting on track offensively and getting wins than I am about my own individual stats. As we get better, you know, at the critical downs, like third down or red zone, I'm sure opportunities for me to get in the in zone will present themselves."
  • Bowles on the Bucs previously having some success against 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey when he was with the Carolina Panthers: "In Carolina, he was one of maybe two or three stars. They've got about five or six of them over there in San Fran and they move him around a lot and they do a lot more with him, as well as with the other guys. They make it difficult to keep tabs on him. I think that's the difference from when he's in 'San Fran' from when he was in Carolina."
  • Quarterback Baker Mayfield on his success under pressure this season and if he enjoys playing under pressure: "Yes and no. I think the good part about when teams are pressuring us is [that] we have a good plan about how we want to attack it. The answer is within the system and that communication throughout the week is really, really clear. If you're on the same page, and you have the schemes to be able to carve people up when they do pressure, there are obviously less defenders in coverage, so it works both ways."

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