77 degrees, mostly cloudy, winds at 10mph
- In this game, the Patriots did a good job of counterpunching on offense; when the Bucs gave them the shorter throws early in the game, the Patriots took them, and when a few deeper throws were there, they took those. They also did a good job of keeping the Bucs’ defense honest on the ground by lining up with the fullback and running to the weak side. The Patriots, however, miss WR Julian Edelman, and with TE Rob Gronkowski also out of this game, the short to intermediate throws in the middle of the field weren’t available to them.
- The maligned Patriots defense rebounded with a strong effort today, but they were aided by a very vanilla Bucs offense. The Bucs’ offensive play calls were not aggressive and they played tentatively much of the game.
- The Bucs were mostly sound on defense, particularly so given all of the recent injuries on that side of the ball. They played well enough to win this game, especially since they caused 2 turnovers.
- Bucs Head Coach Koetter was excellent with his clock management in this game. His effective use of timeouts at the end of the game gave the Bucs a chance to win this game.
- Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick also made a clutch 4th down decision at the end of the game. With 1:14 left in the game and leading 16-13, and facing a 4th & 3 on the Tampa 30, Belichick had 3 choices available to him: a) punt and try to pooch the ball and play defense (he had bypassed a 52 yard attempt earlier in the game, with the wind at his back); or b) go for the first down and end the game; or c) attempt a 48 yard FG, but a miss would give the Bucs excellent field position to drive for a tying FG or winning TD. Belichick chose “c” and showed confidence in his kicker Gostkowski. Gostkowski rewarded that trust, converted the FG and that caused the Bucs to have to score a TD to win the game.