P Josh Bidwell has had at least one 50-yard punt in every game this season
Josh Bidwell earned one NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award in September and another in October. Turns out he was just warming up for an even bigger November.
After four games in which Bidwell boomed 50-yard punts as regularly as the radio plays Nickelback songs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November. He is the first Buccaneer punter ever to receive that honor.
In his second season in Tampa, Bidwell may be establishing himself as a front-runner for Pro Bowl honors in the NFC. He leads the conference with a gross punting average of 46.6 yards per kick and is second in net average at 38.6. Both figures would be new Buccaneer records if maintained through the end of the season.
Bidwell was consistently excellent in the Bucs' four games of November. He punted 20 times against Carolina, Washington, Atlanta and Chicago and averaged 45.6 yards per kick, with tremendous 39.2-yard net. Five of his 20 punts were downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line, and he had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in every game. He was particularly strong in the first three games of the month, in which he had a gross of 47.7 yards and a net of 40.9.
This is the first conference player of the month award a Buccaneer has received since the team's 2002 Super Bowl season. Linebacker Derrick Brooks took defensive honors in October of that year, defensive end Simeon Rice assumed the same award in November and kicker Martin Gramatica was the special teams choice in December.
The Bucs have had four previous Special Teams Player of the Month selections, three of which went to Gramatica. In addition to his 2002 award, Gramatica took the same title in November of 1999 and October of 2000. Wide receiver/return man Karl Williams was the choice in December of 1996.