2021 REWIND: 2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 14 Game Analysis: Bucs 26, Vikings 14
*WEEK 13 was BYE, so skipping to Week 14*
As I’m going through research for the 2021 FF Draft Guide, I am re-reading some of my game recaps just to get a feel for how certain things developed...to see what I was thinking/sensing/feeling/tracking in-season, week-to-week in real time/as it happened.
One team’s 2020 seasonal flow of interest to me was just how the Buccaneers unfolded and became the Super Bowl champs. In September, our final preseason projection was for the Bucs to win the NFC South but then fizzle out in the playoffs.
When the Bucs made the playoffs, I thought they might get upset by Washington (and they sweated that down to the end). I did not believe the Bucs were going to run through the playoffs and dominate KC in the Super Bowl...but they did.
To review some of the 2020 season...to have some game recap material to read during the summer, to fill the lack of football void, I am going to republish a couple team’s 2020 season week-by-week, a game report each day just to walk through their season again.
Let’s see how the Bucs went from ‘interesting Brady drama team, but can’t beat the Saints’, to beating the Saints in the playoffs and going on to win the title…
*The FFM 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Guide will be released around June 1st for early sign up, early access to material with constant updates throughout the preseason. Sign up info for 2021 will be announced soon, as we get closer to June 2021.*
I take notes during the live watch. I re-watch the game on tape looking for hidden clues to report on. Here are my notes/takes on what I saw and how it related to FF 2020. I write anywhere from 1,000-3,000+ words on each game, and I must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
The better team did not win here.
If I were the Vikings, I’d file an injunction and take it all the way to the Supreme Court to get this game result overturned if I had to.
Two plays before halftime were lethal…two referee calls were legit lethal to the Vikings.
#1) In the red zone, the Bucs up 7-6, Tom Brady throws a timing pass in the end zone where Mike Evans pushed off his DB as he fell down…but the penalty called on the cornerback for P.I. – setting Tampa up for an easy score after. Here’s the thing…the pass was intercepted as well. What would have been a stopped drive/change of possession turned into 7 points…that never should’ve happened. Instead of a 7-6 TB lead with Minny just forcing a turnover -- it quickly became 14-6 Tampa off the nonsense call.
#2) Not too long after, right before half, the real injustice occurred. From his own side of the field, no time left, Brady just heaved a Hail Mary to the end zone. As they do, the players jostled in a crowd for position…the ref called a pass interference in the end zone on Minnesota. What? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in all my years. If that was a penalty, then every Hail Mary is a pass interference.
The utterly ridiculous end zone call gave TB the ball for one more play – and they took the easy field goal and 17-6 lead…it should’ve been just 7-6 TB instead…that actually should’ve been a Vikings lead. Because while the refs were jobbing the Vikings defense, Dan Bailey was jobbing the Minnesota offense with missed FGs and XPs. Bailey went 0-for-3 on field goals and 0-for-1 on extra points this day. He may not be working there too much longer.
Tampa Bay gets a terrible-looking win to get to (8-5). This Bucs team has looked bad for several weeks now. They’re running out of steam…but they should finish strong with ATL-DET-ATL the next three weeks. They’ll make the wild card with ease, and hopefully we have 50% less stories about the Brady-Arians relationship until the playoffs.
Minnesota is now (6-7) and fighting for their playoff lives. Week 15 v. CHI is their season. And then at NO on Christmas night is kinda important as well. An (8-8) finish could get them to the final wild card spot. They have to beat the Bears this week or it’s pretty much over for them.
*2021 NOTE: I forgot that the Bucs were helped by the refs to win this game, and Dan Bailey missed 4 kicks. Had TB lost here, their season would have been in semi-peril...they lost three of their last 4 before this. They could've really been in a nose dive -- instead, ladies and gentlemen...your defending champions.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Bruce Arians blabbed his mouth off all week about it (for reasons I’ll never understand why head coaches do this) and he did just what he said – a heavy Ronald Jones (18-80-1, 1-4-0/2) game plan. I think Bruce Arians thinks he’s the smartest, toughest guy in existence…and everyone wants to hear him talk, so he does…tips his hand all the time and he is never not him at any time…he’s always ‘on’ (in his mind). Like the world’s worst poker player who thinks he’s the world’s best poker player in the world and talks about it all the time.
Jones went heavy and would again this week ahead…but he broke a finger, had surgery, got COVID reserved – so he's likely out Week 15. What will Arians do? He hasn’t blabbed it out yet, but his O-C (who is junior Arians) did blab it – they’re going with Leonard Fournette as the lead…which is funny because he was a healthy scratch this game.
Fournette is playing for whatever he thinks his future is Week 15…so he should be amped. The Falcons have a good run defense. Fournette can stay on the field on 3rd-down, but probably comes off some for LeSean McCoy (4-32-0, 1-3-0/1) with the risk McCoy shines and gets the hot hand.
*By the time I wrote this first draft, and then came back to it later to punch it up – Arians is out talking about Fournette being ready to lead the way this week…so, blabber mouths gotta blabber.
*2021 NOTE: Fournette had 49 yards rushing, 3.5 ypc...but rushed for 2 TDs. So everyone lost their minds about it while RoJo was out for a few weeks.
-- The Vikings TEs combined for 9 catches for 103 yards and 1 TD on 9 targets. Which should bode well for Hayden Hurst next week (vs. TB)…but Matt Ryan sucks, so…
Tyler Conklin (5-40-0/5) had his best game of 2020…he’s a solid TE prospect buried on this team…just like Irv Smith (4-63-1/4) could be a borderline star on another team.
Assuming no Kyle Rudolph Week 15, should be good for Irv this upcoming week…but note that Conklin played 45 snaps to Irv’s 28. Maybe Conklin is the better play? I don’t think you can trust either in this offense.
The TE uprising was a reaction to Tampa doing a good job shutting off the WRs…thus the Justin Jefferson (4-39-0/8) and Adam Thielen (3-39-0/4) weak FF games.
*Late note…Irv Smith AND Kyle Rudolph have been ruled out, so game on with Tyler Conklin…whatever that entails.
*2021 NOTE: Hurst went 4-21-1 against TB the following week, not bad.
Irv Smith did play the following week and went 3-37-0, while Conklin went 3-57-1...as Conklin pretty much split targets 50/50 with Irv the whole time Rudolph was out.
-- Tom Brady (15-23 for 196 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) had a so-so game. Had an end zone pick reversed on a BS call.
In his last five games, Brady has…
220 yards or less passing = three times
340+ yards passing = two times
You never know what Brady, what Buccaneers team you’re going to get week-to-week.
Which means you have no idea on Evans-Godwin-Gronk either.
I think Arians wants to play run game + defense, and Brady wants to rack numbers. We’ll see which side wins next week. The Falcons are more susceptible to the pass game then beaten by the run.
*2021 NOTE: Brady was about to rack numbers on some bad secondary's the next few weeks...
-- TB rookie SAF Antione Winfield (12 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL) played like a man possessed in this game. One of the best rookie safety performances in a rookie season that I’ve seen in my career. Carolina’s rookie SAF Jeremy Chinn the same – and Chinn will get more votes for 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Winfield and Chinn will both be league greats in the long run.
-- Tampa Bay-DST looks good to me for the ROS…
At ATL, with dying Matt Ryan Week 15.
At (likely) Chase Daniel/DET Week 16…awesome.
Snap Counts of Interest:
44 = Godwin
39 = Evans
25 = Ant Brown
05 = S Miller
34 = RoJo
16 = McCoy
45 = Conklin
28 = Irv Smith
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