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Yarcho’s Pick Six: Bucs win wild game at MetLife

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Phew. Lots of stuff to unpack after this one. You have a defense that melted in the first half, a player who publicly resigned from his team and an unlikely comeback after fourteen points behind. On top of that you had two starting corners that tried to fly to New Jersey on game morning the pilot called with Covid they ended up in Canada and landed 25 minutes before kick off.

Let’s go.

Six topics suitable for conversation

1.) Antonio Brown is pathetic. Look, I tried to defend this guy a couple of times. I didn’t want him to join the Bucs last year because of the luggage he was carrying with him. The Bucs signed him and I’ve tried to judge him strictly on what he’s been up to since coming to Tampa. Then he is suspended for forging a covid vaccination card. The team and head coach backed him up after the suspension and knew he was going to be a key part of any championship race with the loss of Chris Godwin. Then, inexplicably, in the third quarter, Brown took off his pads, threw his shirt and gloves in the stands, bounced into the end zone and threw the “ties” and walked away. It was disgusting, it was confusing and it was selfish. He figuratively spat in the face of Tom Brady, Bruce Arians, Jason Licht and all the players who have defended and supported him after his signing and suspension. He agreed with all his skeptics and enemies. He got a second, third, fourth chance with teams and lined up to be a key Bucs contributor in the playoffs. And instead, he leaves them – half-naked – and has likely ended his NFL career. At this point, I have to believe that there is something wrong with him, undiagnosed or ignored, that has played into this continuing level of behavior. Either way, he’s gone now and he has only himself to blame.

2.) Who needs him? I say good riddance and who the hell needs AB? Not the Bucs, because they have Cyril Grayson. Everything that has taken him the last few weeks is working – because he’s been an absolute stallion. I realize it’s going to be somewhat lost due to the AB drama (I’m guilty of that as well since I placed him at number two) but Grayson had two key games for the Bucs to trigger their victory of return. Converting on 3rd and 20 then scoring the 33 yard touchdown with fifteen seconds left. Grayson was second in receivers with six catches for 81 yards. That’s 162 yards of nine catches in the past two weeks. Grayson has become a legitimate number two receiver alongside Mike Evans, something the Bucs sorely needed now thanks to a certain head holster.

3.) RoJo – what happened? After a great performance last week against the Panthers, RoJo was unable to do anything against the Jets. Just 10 carries for 26 yards and he spent the second half on the bench (although the Bucs said he had an ankle injury and was doubtful he would return) in favor of Ke’Sahwn Vaughn and Le ‘Veon Bell. Another opportunity to establish himself as the go-back option and he was constantly hit for losses before being taken out of the game. When he has problems catching the ball and picking up blitzes, not executing the ball effectively will hamper his ability to see the field. Bell, who is still learning offense, played well on his first real opportunity. Bell finished with just five rushing yards – including the game-sealing two-point conversion – but had 30 yards on three catches, one of which was a key third-down conversion on the game-winning record. Expect to see even more Bell next week as he continues to get used to the offense.

4.) Also, the defense – what happened? This defense had not given up a touchdown for two weeks. All of a sudden, can’t they stop against the Jets? It was a brutal first half. Look, I understand the Bucs didn’t have the two starting outside linebackers, their inside lineback captain, and didn’t have two of their three starting corners at the start of the game – then they lost Sean Murphy-Bunting to injury ( maybe partly because of the lack of warm-ups), but it was still the often anemic offense of the Jets. Granted, the defense grew stronger in the second half, including a crucial fourth save with just over two minutes to go, but it shouldn’t have been so close at the start. They have gone from appearing as a championship-caliber defense, even without renowned players, to blatant weakness. Remember that everyone is coming back …

5.) Welcome back, Gronk. Having been virtually invisible for the past two weeks, Rob Gronkowski was an absolute beast for the Buccaneers on Sunday. He was the team leader in receptions (7), targets (10) and yards (115). It’s a connection that must be on track heading into the playoffs and some were starting to worry that it wasn’t there the last two games. Hopefully those fears died down on Sunday, but with just one of the “big three” receivers remaining, the defenses could start trying to knock Gronk off the offensive game plan again, forcing the Bucs to beat them in other ways.

6.) Up to the wire. With the Rams scoring a last-minute victory over the Ravens, the Bucs must win the 49ers next week to propel them into the second seed. The Cowboys’ loss to Arizona means the Bucs are now among the top three. A three-way tie is always possible, but it looks like the Bucs will just have to hope their Hall of Fame safety team can grab another victory over the Rams so they can secure the lead. series number two, positioning himself even better for another run in the playoffs.

Six numbers to consider

67 – Tom Brady wins in the fourth quarter of his career

81 – Current uniform number available to any receiver signed by Bucs this week

54 – The yards Mike Evans needs next week to finish with 1,000 this season yet again

1 – Earn some of the most wins in a season in franchise history

31 – More than 100 yardage games by Gronk in his career, tied for most in NFL history by a tight end

73 – Career touchdowns for Mike Evans, 41st most in NFL history

Six best tweets

Six reasons Bucs should sign Larry Fitzgerald

After Brown’s informal exit, maybe it’s time for Fitz to join the Bucs.

Shout out to my son, Beckett, for the idea and have me help me with my list on this one.

6.) He and Tom are already friends on the radio, joining forces on SiriusXM’s “Let’s Go” with Jim Gray

5.) He is no longer the receiver he used to be, but still reliable hands to help move chains on those short to intermediate routes.

4.) He’s the only person who could compete with Richard Sherman for “best hair on the Bucs”

3.) No learning curve. Fitz played under the Arians and knows the offense. He could step in and play immediately

2.) What better way to cleanse the palate than by signing the literal polar opposite human from AB

1.) Because Larry deserves another chance to accomplish the one thing that has eluded him in his entire career – a Super Bowl

1.) Green Bay Packers – The road to Los Angeles goes through Green Bay

2.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Shorthanded, in game distractions, always find a way

3.) Kansas City Chiefs – Small setback, always the peaks of the AFC

4.) Bison tickets – Hit their stride at the right time

5.) Dallas Cowboys – They can hang with anyone

6.) The Los Angeles Rams – Their parts may be close, but victories are victories

Last six words

Never a dull moment, is it?

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