News & Analysis

NFL Week 14 PFF ReFocused: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26, Minnesota Vikings 14

Dec 13, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass as Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (93) defends during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed some rust in the first quarter after their Week 13 bye but snapped back to form in time to beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-14. The Bucs improve to 8-5, inching closer and closer to their first playoff berth since 2007.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story Of The Game

Tom Brady finished 15-for-23 for 196 yards and two touchdowns, not exactly eye-popping. But he managed the game extremely well and relied on efficiency to get the result today.

Minnesota entered this game with the league’s highest-graded rushing offense, and Dalvin Cook rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the first half. Instead of building off that momentum, Gary Kubiak went away from Cook, who touched the ball just seven more times for 24 yards.

Kirk Cousins has the third-highest average depth of target among all quarterbacks (9.5 yards) through the first 13 weeks of the season. He averaged 6.1 yards per attempt against the Bucs’ defense today, looking for the short, easy completions rather than the big plays Vikings fans have become accustomed to in 2020.

Costly errors in all three phases of the game cost the Vikings dearly. Dan Bailey performed woefully with four missed kicks, three of them on field-goal attempts. And just before halftime, Rob Gronkowski drew a 51-yard pass interference penalty in the end zone on a Hail Mary pass. Ryan Succop proceeded to kick a field goal at the 1-yard line.

The Bucs’ offense came out of halftime with the ball and scored again to pile onto their lead. By the third quarter, Tampa Bay capped four straight drives with either a touchdown or field goal to lead 23-6, and by all appearances had this game in hand.

Rookie Watch

Bucs’ tackle Tristan Wirfs is making a serious case of Offensive Rookie of the Year each and every week. He surrendered nothing in pass protection against the Vikings while paving the way for his team to rack up 107 rushing yards. Entering Week 14, he is PFF’s third highest-graded rookie on offense (81.1), trailing Justin Jefferson and Michael Onwenu.

Antoine Winfield Jr. played all but one snap on the Bucs' defense and allowed his only target of the game to be completed for a 25-yard gain.

Cameron Dantzler is PFF’s third-highest-graded corner in coverage since Week 9 (89.9) but had himself a less than stellar outing today. Targeted seven times, he gave up three catches for 42 yards. Brady went after Jeff Gladney five times, completing three passes for 31 yards.

Jefferson, PFF’s third-highest-graded wide receiver in 2020 (89.4), did not perform to that level in Tampa Bay. He caught just two passes for 22 yards. Meanwhile, Ezra Cleveland looked like a turnstile at guard and surrendered four total pressures, two of them sacks.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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