One in a row, is that even a thing? Before this season, Ronald Jones’ longest string of one hundred yard games was one. It was just the one, and it came at the end of 2019, in the final game. We all know what a different kind of year 2020 has been. For Jones, it’s shaping into “his year.” The year when he stepped out of the shadows of potential and could be. The year that he establishes himself as our franchise running back. You know the one, the one Jason Licht felt he was getting when he drafted Jones in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of So Cal. This would be a trifecta for Jones, his third game in a row rushing for over a hundred yards. He becomes only the fourth back in franchise history to accomplish the feat. The most recent was Doug Martin in 2015. The Running game has come back to Tampa, and it is most welcome. I remember watching games last season and wondering if Jones’s role would ever expand on this team. I had my fingers crossed coming into 2020 that the running game, in general, would start receiving more touches. I felt that if it did indeed get more of a place in the gameplan that Jones would certainly benefit and be able to shine in that atmosphere.
So much doubt and disbelief surrounded Jones for many fans
It has been surprising to me to have come in contact with so many over the last two seasons that felt like Jones was a lost cause and should be shown the door. I’m sure we can all agree now that Jones is special. The best part about it, though, is we as fans have not yet seen what he is capable of yet. He’s still learning, getting better every game. As the season progresses, I believe we will see some longer runs from our versatile runner. He is the best of both worlds to a degree. Jones can lower his head and move a pile, or slip off a tackle and continue upfield. He is also blessed with the best speed of the group and has not really shown much of that speed yet this season. He will have his time to use that side of his game; keep watching. By taking a place in the Bucs record books, he has further cemented his claim to lead back and the workhorse of our offense on the ground. When Fournette gets healthy again, the ground game will reach another level. It will truly be a one-two punch that teams will have to plan for. That does nothing but free up more space in the passing game. Run to pass, pass to run, hand in hand, keeping the defense off balance and pushing forward. Our offense will continue to develop and improve because of a worthy running game. The secret is out of the bag now. The rest of the league is beginning to take notice of Ronald Jones II. The Bucs will certainly do all they can to re-sign Jones to a new contract to keep him in Pewter, black and red for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, that is a task they will be able to pull off. It seems like the Bucs are never able to have a back stick around and produce over a period of time. Not since Dunn has the Bucs had a running back stay for an extended period while also being productive.
All Phases of the game were clicking for the Bucs
Sunday’s win for the Bucs was a prime example of how good they can be when they are clicking. Just about all aspects of the game were strong and smart. The offensive line played well, running game, passing game, penalties, mistakes; all aspects were under control Sunday. Along with touting Jones skills this offseason I, also made some bold predictions for the defense as a whole. I’ve been waiting for that game where they just shut down the opponent. Where our defense dictated the day. You know, like the good ole days. This Packer’s game was definitely that game, and on a national stage for all to see. The Packers came in shining like a diamond. Rodgers was on top of the world and hadn’t thrown an interception, nor had the offense had a single turnover of any kind. In only allowing three sacks on their signal-caller all season, they came in undefeated and ripe for a butt-kicking, and that’s just what they got. It wasn’t like a few things didn’t go their way. Make no mistake about it; if you watched it, you know our Bucs dominated this team in almost every category. Their sack total almost tripled before they could get out of here. In 37 years, the Bucs had not played a game without a single penalty (1993 vs Lions) for a total of twice since the team’s inception. As Bucs fans, we aren’t used to seeing this type of complete butt-kickery from our Dale Mabry Denison’s.
Bears game was a blessing/turning point
I said after the Bears loss that it could be the type of game that the team and fans look back at as being necessary to turn it around. A watershed moment that changed the course of the season for the better, Brady ranting on the sidelines, and later him addressing the team in disgust; I likened to Tim Tebow’s “The Speech” after the Ole miss upset loss that threatened to derail the goal. The Gators, of course, went on to win the National Title again that season, leaving no denial that the Ole Miss game was the turning point that got the ship back on course. I feel the Bears game was that moment. To say the Bucs were impressive in their very next contest is an understatement! As Bucs fans, we get teased a lot and led down primrose paths that we just know are leading us to the promised land, only to be shaken back to reality in heartbreaking fashion. This team, though, is different. It can cash the checks it’s writing; they just have to stay on the path, eyes on the prize, no deviation. I cannot wait until the Bucs hit the field again. It makes you feel younger, the air seems fresher, our Bucs are four and two, and the sky is the limit, and reachable, fingers crossed. Go Bucs!!