A disappointing one-point home loss
One season ago, the Giants came into Raymond James Stadium with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones behind center. The Bucs and Jameis Winston, in his prove-it season, were expected to handle the New York squad without too much difficulty. Then again, history doesn’t shine down well on the Buccaneers when we play against a rookie quarterback. (Rookie quarterbacks were 12-3 against the Bucs since 2011 going into this game). So in comes the Giants to our house. The Bucs ended up making the rookie look more like Phil Simms than whoever Daniel Jones was – slinging to the tune of 23-36 for 336 yards and two touchdowns, no giveaways. Our veteran Winston put up 23-37 for 380 yards, three touchdowns, and one costly interception. Mike Evans was the man, as he so often is, to the tune of 8 receptions for 190 yards and all three of Winston’s touchdown throws. The Bucs just were not able to get over the hump in this one and lost by one single, lousy point. I remember quite well that at the time, it really was a huge loss. We were coming off a big road win at Carolina and had entered this game at .500, looking to better that against the G-men. It was one of those games that you win when you are a solid football team. Unfortunately, we just weren’t very solid, at least nowhere near consistently. Although, many of the pieces were already here, as it would turn out, the key piece to the puzzle wouldn’t arrive until the 2020 offseason in All Everything Quarterback Tom Brady.
One offseason removed and it’s day and night
It’s amazing what one offseason can do for a club. We went from a team that was putting together some very nice talent and was expected to break back into the playoffs in a season or two; to a legitimate Home Team Super Bowl Contender. Once again, we find ourselves in a game that we should win and win easily. This is the NFL, though, and no team should be taken lightly. The Buccaneers need to come out and play this game like they were playing the Seahawks or Chiefs and plant the Giants face-first into the turf of MetLife Stadium. The Bucs at 5-2 are on a roll, and they need to keep that up with a convincing slaughter. I’m not talking 14-21 points. I’m talking about both sides of the ball complete beatdown and a blowout of 30 or more. You hear it all the time, a win is a win, but to some degree, that isn’t completely true in all cases. This team has captured the nation’s attention at a time when politics is driving us all mad. There are few things that can distract the American Public, leading up to November 3rd; like a Monday Night Matchup with a Cinderella darling involved. Add to that, all the frustration and change that Covid-19 has brought to our world and you have a welcome distraction right on time. Now, if we could just kill all those political ads, there is sure to be running during the game, it would be just perfect. A simple close margin at the end of this game would leave fans wondering, “how good are we really if we can’t clobber the hapless Giants?” Reality says that the Giants are in full rebuild mode and are a ways away from being a playoff contender in the normal format. A complete beatdown by the Buccaneers would settle very nicely on all of our stomachs and minds. It would back up the possibility that the Bucs are truly a legitimized Super-Bowl contender. There should be no let-downs on either side of the ball. Do the Bucs possess that killer instinct, that extra gear they can shift to when the competition is stiff, or not so much as in this case. You can tell just as much in a win over a lesser opponent as you can against a top tier NFL powerhouse. Will we enter the game with the same amount of vigor and killer instinct as they would against a formidable opponent?
Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette
The Bucs are 10-11 on Monday nights and are playing the Giants for the second time since 2003 on the Monday Night Stage. Our last time against the New York football Giants, the Bucs came out with a 19-13 win. I know we are all hoping for a much more lopsided victory in 2020. The loss last year at the Giants’ hands was a huge let-down. It was a game the Bucs were expected to win. To lose this game this season certainly wouldn’t end our post-season aspirations, but it sure would be a wet and smelly blanket thrown over us. After the Packers Beatdown, which was a statement game, and a legitimate win over a pretty darn good team. The Pack had been kickin’ it and taking names when they strolled into Tampa and got knocked off their horse with a blow to the gut. There is no room for excuses in 2020, no quarterback or defensive backfield to blame in a possible loss. This team has come far enough for expectations to be that they should annihilate a lesser opponent. And that’s just what the Bucs need to deliver.
There will be another aspect of this game worth paying attention to; the emergence of our two-headed running game. Ronald Jones has carried most of the load with Fournette being out with injury until last week. Fournette has been designated by Arians as our nickel running back, which gives him more touches in the game and the Bucs a true one-two punch. The evolution of our running game is very important in deciding the actual force our offense will carry moving forward. Bucs fans are salivating thinking of our Brady led squad with a two punch formidable run game. Will this be the game Ronald Jones gets his long touchdown run? The one I’ve been predicting was on its way? In Fournettes limited play this season, he does have the longest touchdown run of any of the Bucs Backs –that was one of 46 yards in the Panther’s game – finishing the day with a total of 103 yards and one more touchdown. It was a nice day for the first year Buc. I have been waiting patiently on Jones’ turn at the longball scoring run. I know it’s in him, and eventually, he’s going to shine brighter than before. He’s yet to truly have his breakout game. When it happens, we will all know it. He’s got talent that has yet to emerge. What many think is his best, the hundred-yard-two-touchdown-day, is really kind of ho-hum to what he is capable of doing. He’s got to find that 4th gear. The difference between the truly great backs and the next level is how often they can find that fourth gear. It’s yet to be seen, a play from Jones that would put him into that top tier. I firmly believe that he’s capable of at least having a few games during the season that he blows up and makes fantasy owners awful proud. I’m also predicting a dual 100-yard performance from both backs in the same game if they can stay healthy and playing together till seasons end. And That’s a big if with Fournette’s history of injuries. But I can hope, can’t I?
Wrapping up, and a few MNF tidbits
Hopefully, Covid-19 won’t screw us out of another prime time game Monday. I know we all have our fingers crossed, hoping it happens as scheduled. The following are just a few interesting facts about MNF.
Most Receiving Yards in an MNF game – 289 yards Jerry Rice. Coincidentally, second place on the list is teammate John Taylor – 286 yards. – per- ESPN Sports.
The New York Jets and Cleveland Browns played in the first network broadcast of MNF in 1970, with the Browns winning 31–21. Don Meredith, Howard Cosell, and Keith Jackson called the game – per groovy history
On December 8, 1980, ABC News confirmed the shooting death of John Lennon during that evening’s live MNF game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins (won by Miami 16–13). The first on-air announcement was made by Howard Cosell, who called it “an unspeakable tragedy.” – per – youtube.com
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Drew Brees broke the NFL records for career passing yards, career passing touchdowns, single-season passing yards, and single-game completion percentage on Monday nights. He produced the only perfect passer rating of his career in a Monday night win over the Patriots. – per – ESPN