The Tampa Bay Buccaneers notched a much-needed win, ending a two-game skid, with Sunday’s 26-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
After weeks and weeks of struggles to find an offensive identity, the Bucs turned to Ronald Jones and the run game, asking Tom Brady to do a little less. The combination worked as TB12 was more efficient, completing 15 of 23 passes for 196 yards and two TDs. Jones, meanwhile, rushed 18 times for 80 yards and a score, while LeSean McCoy added four carries for 32 yards with Leonard Fournette a healthy scratch.
Bruce Arians was asked after the game if the game plan against Minnesota was engineered to run the ball more.
“I think yes and no,” the coach said, via the team’s official transcript. “I think games dictate how much you run it. What’s the score at the end of the third quarter? We were leading, so it leads to more runs and RoJo ran really, really well, especially on that last drive. We wanted to set up some play-action [but we] didn’t hit as many as we had hoped. When asked early this week about our identity, I think we just showed our identity. We can do any damn thing we want to do.”
Brady missed a couple of deep throws but hit Scott Miller downfield for a 48-yard TD midway through the second quarter that jumpstarted the Bucs offense. The score helped lead to a 17-6 halftime lead Tampa would never relinquish.
Arians credited the long score with turning the tide of the contest.
“Oh yeah — no doubt,” Arians said. “Again, we just missed a couple third downs early, but that was a huge touchdown. I think getting a stop [and] then that play changed all of the momentum on our sideline.”
The victory was the Bucs’ first home win since Week 6 (38-10 over Green Bay) after three straight losses in Tampa.
With two games against Atlanta sandwiched around a visit to Detroit, Arians’ offense gets three weeks against bad defenses to continue to finetune the operation before postseason football commences.
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