Broncos Against Buccaneers In Rare Visit to Tampa
The Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet in a Week 4 contest at Raymond James Stadium. Follow along with us as we chat about the game here.
When the NFL as interconference games, some things in the histories between two franchises are simply fascinating and it’s no different this Sunday as the Denver Broncos visit Tampa, Fla. for the first time in almost 12 years to the date.
The last visit was October 3, 2004 and saw the Broncos prevail 16-13 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as signal-caller Jake Plummer got the best of his counterpart, Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson.
Overall, the Broncos have taken six of eight games all-time against the Buccaneers dating back to 1976 (incidentally, in the Buccaneers’ expansion year of 1976, they were in the AFC West as a divisional foe of the Broncos before joining the NFC Central in 1977).
The Broncos are also 2-1 all-time against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, prevailing in 1981 and 2004 and dropping a 13-10 decision in 1999.
This is important because during the Buccaneers game against Los Angeles last Sunday, there was a 69-minute delay right at the 2:00 warning which will affect the routines and practices of players on both teams. While the Rams ultimately prevailed 37-32 in a highly exciting game, they were unable to clinch the game after the delay until the Buccaneers, with new life, drove down inside the red zone and only came short as Winston oddly became indecisive on the last play of the game.
With head coach Gary Kubiak guiding the Broncos, this should not be a problem but as a journalist, it is my responsibility to inform the populace of things that are about that may be relevant.
In any event, the Broncos will be facing a unique signal-caller in the Buccaneers’ second-year man Jameis Winston. Winston is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints as they each have eight.
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The bad news for the Buccaneers is that Winston’s six interceptions are tied for second in league annals through the first three weeks of the season, one of the reasons why Tampa Bay is 1-2, a record which belies their talent.
Winston is also fifth in league annals with 309.7 yards a game, while the Broncos’ defense is fourth against the pass, surrendering only 178.3 yards per contest and this season, has already vanquished elite signal-callers in Carolina’s Cam Newton, Andrew Luck of Indianapolis and Andy Dalton of Cincinnati.
Winston’s stud receiver, Mike Evans is off to a great start to the 2016 campaign and is the fourth-best receiver, statistically speaking, in the NFL, with 21 receptions for 301 yards and four touchdowns.
Should the game go into shootout mode, the Broncos can now assuage their previous concerns as signal-caller Trevor Siemian is improving exponentially every week in his first three starts.
Siemian’s best stats, IMO, are that he ranks seventh in the NFL in yards per attempt (8.0 yards) and 10th in league annals in yards per completion (12.0 yards). Thus, he is maximizing his opportunities and with 312 passing yards and four touchdowns in a 29-17 win over Cincinnati last Sunday, he is coming off of his best day as a professional.
Much has also been made of the Winston-Siemian match-up in the regard that in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston was the #1 quarterback taken as well as the overall selection and Siemian was the #250 overall selection in that draft and the seventh quarterback selected.
Anyway, as far as injuries go, the Broncos will again be without tight end Virgil Green, so look for John Phillips and Jeff Heuerman to play a role once again against the Buccaneers. Here’s a full report on all injuries in Sunday’s game.
Meanwhile, what makes the Broncos really dangerous this season, while the defense has been excellent (5 sacks for reigning MVP, linebacker Von Miller thus far) is the offense, with Siemian serving as the impetus.
The Broncos, especially with their performance against the Bengals last Sunday, were excellent offensively as the game progressed, and their 28 points per game are fourth in NFL annals, trailing only the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers.
While none of the Broncos’ skill position players are in the top 10 in the NFL in any particular category, Siemian has done well at steadying the ship and it will be interesting to see how much more autonomy Kubiak bestows upon him.
As always, this is your game thread, so use it effectively and if any Buccaneers fans happen upon us, be friendly to them, always acting in the Bronco Way! GO BRONCOS!!!