2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 7: Buccaneers 38, Bears 3 (By Ross Jacobs)
There's not much to take away from this one. The game was over by the end of the 1st quarter with the Bucs leading 21-0. It was 35-3 at halftime and the Bucs just kind of sat on the Bears the rest of the game. They barely even had to try.
The strange thing about this one is that it probably shouldn't have been such a huge gap. Almost every one of the Bucs scores came from a Bears turnover with a short field. Tampa didn't even have to drive the field. And even when they did score, the Bears defense wasn't making it easy on them. Brady had to squeeze multiple passes into really tight coverage. The Bears gave up 38 points, but it wasn't because of the defense. It was because Justin Fields is completely inept.
The Bucs just keep on cruising with a ridiculously easy schedule. They are going to be in the mix for the top seed in the NFC and will be one of the top Superbowl contenders. Can they win it? Absolutely. Are they the favorites? Probably not but it's hard to tell who the best NFC team is. It's up for debate between Arizona, Tampa, LAR, Dallas, and Green Bay.
The Bears fall to 3-4 and their schedule is about to eat them alive. Fields is simply not good enough to lead them through this. I don't see how they win more than 4 or 5 games this year.
--The biggest surprise from this game had to be Khalil Herbert (18-100-0, 5-33-0/5) rushing for 100 yards on the vaunted Bucs defense. Was it a fluke? Yes and no. Herbert is for sure a solid runner. I liked what I saw from him in college, but I still didn't expect this. The best way I can think to describe him is as a slower Maurice Jones-Drew. He's a little guy but extremely strong and hard to bring down. He's patient and has good vision. Just a natural all-around RB, a solid talent. He doesn't have high end speed or agility, but I've seen enough now to know he can definitely play at this level.
Now he was helped out here by the run blocking. I'm not sure what got into the Bears but they opened him some nice holes to run through, something nobody else has managed to do against the Bucs. Maybe the Bucs just didn't care and knew the Bears couldn't beat them running the ball. Whatever it was, it worked out.
Some expected that Damien Williams would split touches with Herbert, but that didn't happen. Herbert is the one good thing the Bears have going on offense, so as long as Montgomery is out expect his numbers to remain stable. He's played his way into the #2 spot and I will be shocked if he isn't still taking 30% of the carries when Montgomery returns.
--Justin Fields (22-32 for 184 yards, 0 TD/3 INT, 8-38-0) is awful to watch. He couldn't look less interested in the game. He wants the ball out of his hands as fast as possible so he doesn't get killed. Even when he runs the ball I'm not seeing a 4.40 runner. Instead he just looks like every other generically decent running QB. For example, Lance has shown some legitimate burst as a runner. Fields has not. Not that I've seen anyways. Bears fans are in for a rough ride the next 3-4 years.
--As Fields fails he's taking this entire receiving corp with him. Allen Robinson (2-16-0/4) has a mere 23 catches on the year. I've seen a lot of Twitter analysts saying he's a buy low...no, just no. It's not his fault but it's reality. Just for context, Robinson has three seasons with over 1000 yards and they came with Blake Bortles, Mitch Trubisky, and Nick Foles at QB, all guys the media loves to make fun of as trash heap QB's. Robinson is on pace for 55 catches for 608 yards. Just saying.
--The new top target in this passing game is actually Darnell Mooney (2-39-0/5) for what that's worth (Mooney 345 yards on the year compared to Robinson's 250). He is Fields's go-to guy. It's not going to work often but there will be an occasional spike game when they manage to connect on a long ball. Good luck guessing which game that is.
--Tom Brady (20-36 for 211 yards, 4 TD/0 INT) is still doing Brady things. He wants to win for sure, but he's clearly trying to rack up as many TD's as possible. He's got 21 already and is on pace for 48. He should get close to that mark and be in the top 3 or so QB scorers.
--With Antonio Brown out it sets up Chris Godwin (8-111-1/11) and Mike Evans (6-76-3/10) for some juicy numbers in his absence. I speculated weeks ago that while all three guys could be successful on the field together, they were all going to be held in the WR1.5-2 range while rotating, but that if one of them went out it would instantly rocket the other two to WR1 status. Well here we have the results, and it looks great for Godwin and Evans.
What Brown's absence didn't do was elevate Tyler Johnson (2-16-0/2) to any kind of meaningful touches. Brady has his guys, and he's not going to change that.
--Another item I talked about recently was my fears for Leonard Fournette (15-81-1, 2-9-0/4) because I thought that Ronald Jones (10-63-0) hadn't been completely vanquished. Coming into this game I thought perhaps Jones was just taking carries late in the game after it was already over, but that wasn't the case. Fournette worked the first two series but Jones was in on the third and getting a significant number of touches. I think we're back to the split they started the season with.
Jones is out of the doghouse temporarily and should get 8-10 carries a game while Fournette is going to take 12-15 and most of the receiving work. It still amounts to solid touch counts for Fournette, but my point was that the people saying he was a sure RB1 were assuming Jones was done for good and I suspected that was incorrect. Turns out it was.
--Roquan Smith (13 tackles) now has 75 tackles on the year (10.7/g). He's only had less than 10 tackles in one game. He also has 2 sacks and an INT returned for a TD. This guy is arguably the top LB in the game. I know he's not remotely available in IDP leagues, but I had to share those numbers since they are so impressive. I wasn't a huge Smith fan when he came out, but he's really turned into a tackling machine. He should be getting some Defensive Player of the Year talk but likely won't since the Bears are losing a lot.
Snap Counts of Interest
39 = Leonard Fournette
14 = Ronald Jones
61 = Chris Godwin
56 = Mike Evans
49 = Tyler Johnson
40 = Cameron Brate
37 = OJ Howard
51 = Khalil Herbert
11 = Damien Williams
59 = Cole Kmet
26 = Jesse James