3 Takeaways from Buccaneers' Week 11 Win
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in the quintessential get-right game on Monday night.
Tampa Bay ended its two-game losing skid with a 30-10 victory over the struggling New York Giants.
Tom Brady looked like himself again in the pocket, as he led the Bucs to their fifth total of 30 points or more this season.
Defensively, the Bucs did not allow Saquon Barkley to threaten them at any point. The defense held an opponent to under 70 rushing yards for the fifth time in 2021.
The Bucs were even able to get Rob Gronkowski into a rhythm in the passing attack. He tied Mike Evans for the most receptions from Brady.
Tampa Bay's win put it back into third place in the NFC and moved it two games clear of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
Monday's Win Set Tone for Playoff Push
Tampa Bay erased the back-to-back losses to the New Orleans Saints and Washington Football Team from its memory with Monday's 20-point victory.
The Buccaneers looked like the Super Bowl contender most people expect them to be. They were dominant in every phase of the matchup.
Monday's game essentially served as a reset for the rest of the season. Tampa Bay is two games back of the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and it should run away with the NFC South.
The victory also helped build some confidence ahead of two major clashes with AFC squads in the next three weeks. Tampa Bay visits the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12 and then hosts the Buffalo Bills in Week 14.
Tampa Bay should be expected to finish with 12 or 13 victories, and Monday's win was proof yet again that it can dominate one of the weakest teams in the NFL.
If the Bucs stay at their winning pace, they might be able to challenge the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers for the No. 1 seed. Arizona and Green Bay both play in tougher divisions and have more difficult schedules to finish the regular season.
Tom Brady Worked Rob Gronkowski Back into Offense with Ease
Brady got one of his two injured pass-catchers back for Monday night.
The legendary quarterback wasted no time feeding the ball across the middle to Rob Gronkowski, who finished with six receptions for 71 yards.
Gronkowski has not been a factor in the Tampa Bay offense since the Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He appeared in Week 8 versus the Saints, but he had a single target and did not catch a pass.
With Gronkowski out, Brady had trouble getting consistent production from Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard at the tight end position.
With a top tight end out of the picture, opposing defenses could key in on Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and others to mess with Brady's rhythm in the pocket.
Gronkowski's return will help Tampa Bay spread out opposing defenses since they can't commit multiple players to a single receiver.
If Brady has his full complement of pass-catchers for the stretch run, there is a real chance Tampa Bay can threaten for the No. 1 seed, especially if it beats Indianapolis and Buffalo.
Rushing Defense Remained Dominant
Tampa Bay held the Giants to 66 rushing yards.
The Bucs limited Saquon Barkley to 25 rushing yards on six carries. The Giants used John Ross to gain 16 yards on the ground, and Devontae Booker had three carries for 15 yards.
By removing Barkley's impact, Tampa Bay put all of the pressure on Daniel Jones to beat it.
Jones was unable to do that. He threw two interceptions—including one to Steve McLendon, who was on the ground when he caught the pass—and was sacked on two occasions.
Even though the victory came against the three-win Giants, the Bucs made a statement that their rushing defense can win them games.
Tampa Bay held seven of its 10 opponents beneath the 100-yard mark on the ground. It can make the ultimate statement in Week 12 when it goes up against Jonathan Taylor.
If the Bucs contain Taylor, a strong argument can be made that they have the best unit in the NFL.