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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Performance Review: WR Chris Godwin is Clutch

In the most obvious statement of the day, wide receiver Chris Godwin came up clutch, even in the Bucs’ loss to the Saints.


A week after every single one of Chris Godwin's 12 receptions resulted in a first down, he provided one of the only bright spots of the day for the Bucs again against the Saints in New Orleans. He was responsible for the Bucs' first touchdown of the day as they capitalized on a Sean Murphy-Bunting interception and then proceeded to be instrumental in getting the Buccaneers within one score of the Saints in the third quarter on their most impressive drive of the game.

Take a look at his flashes of brilliance below.

1st Quarter

2nd & 16 @ NO 26 (00:18)

Bucs in 11 personnel


The Bucs are behind the chains after quarterback Jameis Winston took a sack on first down. The momentum is still in favor of the Bucs though, having intercepted Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater two plays earlier to give them a bonus possession before the end of the first quarter. The call is a three-wide look with all three receivers to Winston's right. Mike Evans is outside below the numbers, Chris Godwin is just outside the hashes and rookie Scotty Miller is splitting the difference between the two. Tight end O.J. Howard is attached to the left side of the offensive line.


New Orleans looks to be in Cover 3 zone with a single-high safety patrolling deep. Up front, you have defensive end Cameron Jordan standing up in a wide-nine to Winston's right on what ends up being a four-man rush. The linebackers drop to cover underneath, two of them end up preoccupied with Howard, who has released into a passing route and safety Vonn Bell ends up being the one to run with Godwin, who takes off down the field. Godwin sells the fade route but once he gets around the backside of Bell, he cuts in on a dig instead. He gains a step on Bell as Winston steps way up and fires off the pass over the middle, placing it ever so slightly in front of Godwin. With Bell beat, Godwin turned upfield at about the 11-yard line. The deep safety, Marcus Williams, was in the middle of the end zone when Godwin made the catch but Godwin did a good job running ever so slightly on a slant to stay ahead of him on his way into the end zone.


Take a look up front at what allowed Winston to step up though, too. Right tackle Demar Dotson does a good job containing Cam Jordan and right guard Alex Cappa just manhandles Malcolm Brown to move him out of Winston's way. Center Ryan Jensen also picked up Marcus Davenport, who was trying to cut to the inside on left guard Ali Marpet, who was engaged with Sheldon Rankins, along with Donovan Smith. A great all-around effort by the offense.

3rd Quarter

3rd & 11 @ TB 41 (10:52)

Bucs in 11 personnel


Winston is in the shotgun with third-down back Dare Ogunbowale on his right. Howard is attached to the right but again releases into a route, as does Ogunbowale, leaving a true five-man protection on Winston.


Initially, the Saints only show three down linemen, both Jordan and Davenport out in wide-nine alignments, with two linebackers roving pre-snap. They settle in the B-gaps right before the snap, giving the illusion of a potential blitz but it's just Demario Davis that rushes while A.J. Klein drops in coverage, sending four guys barreling Winston's way. Cappa handles the linebacker Davis, easily and they give Winston time. The secondary is manned up with the outside corners playing off, giving cushion – a result of the down and distance. Godwin is in the slot and runs a comeback route that Winston hits him on almost immediately before defenders close in right at the line of gain. Again, great awareness on the part of Godwin to understand his positioning on the field and who's around him.

3rd Quarter

4th & 1 @ NO 39 (8:18)

Bucs in 22 personnel


Fourth and one, the Bucs trot out two tight ends and two running backs and Winston lines up under center. After a drive that saw success on the ground, especially, the Saints are anticipating a run. Anyone would be anticipating a run. Godwin is the only receiver out there and he's tight to the formation on top of the numbers to Winston's left opposite the two tight ends.


Every New Orleans linebacker is watching the backfield, waiting for Winston to hand it off. Everyone, save for Marcus Williams, has come down to load the box and Winston fakes the hand off to running back Ronald Jones but surprise (!) it's actually play action. The Saints are then just slow to adjust. Godwin is engaged with Marshon Lattimore, who's pressing him for much more than five yards off the line, but manages to wrestle himself free in time for Winston, who is very well protected, to hit him for the 11-yard gain. By that point, look at the space around Godwin. The Saints were caught and trying to play catchup. Boom, first down. The 17-play drive then ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Peyton Barber to put the Bucs within one score.

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