Sun Nov 29 10:31pm ET
By COREY LONG
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) congratulates Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after their NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Another slow start doomed Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs (7-5) rebounded from falling behind by three scores in the opening quarter Sunday, but ultimately couldn't catch the Kansas City Chiefs in a 27-24 loss t o the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Tampa Bay has been outscored 52-7 in the first quarter of the past four games and has lost three times at home during that stretch.
''Early in the game for whatever reason, we're not making the plays,'' coach Bruce Arians said. ''We're not getting open, we're not protecting, just not making enough plays.''
Same for the defense.
''That's the speed of the game,'' Arians added. ''We talked about it all week, to play faster. We made some plays, we didn't make enough. We did a good job of holding them to three (points), then we gave up the two big chunk plays to Tyreek Hill.''
Recognizing that the Buccaneers seem stuck in mud when games begin, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs came out firing with their downfield passing game, building a 17-0 lead. Hill led the surge with seven catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone.
''We had him man to man,'' Arians said. ''We tried to get a safety to him when we could, but (tight end Travis) Kelce is there on the other end, too. When we played him man to man, Patrick found him for some big plays.''
Tampa Bay managed one first down on its first four drives. Brady was 0 for 3 on third downs during that stretch.
''We just missed third downs,'' Arians said. ''We had very manageable third downs. They did a good job in their blitz package and we didn't execute on our end. Most of (the third downs) have been seven yards or less, where we've been good all season.''
More than half of Mahomes' 462 passing yards came in the first quarter while the Bucs' defense was on its heels, unable to cover Hill on touchdown catches of 75 and 44 yards. The defense performed significantly better the rest of the game, but the damage was already done.
''We have to be able to adjust early and make the adjustments on the sideline,'' linebacker Devin White said. ''We can't wait until halftime to make the changes. We have to start faster and not let teams drive for touchdowns early in the game.''
Brady and the Bucs have lost to the Saints, Rams and Chiefs- all strong teams - during this poor home stretch. New Orleans leads the division at 9-2, and while the Bucs still are in good shape to make the playoffs as a wild card, they're living dangerously.
''I think football is so much about being in that rhythm and staying in rhythm and finding your rhythm,'' Brady said. ''I think as we keep going forward, we are learning more and more about ourselves, about what we need to do. Going to get back to work and try and do a lot better of a job the last quarter of the season.''
Tampa Bay has a bye next week, giving the team time to search for answers.
''We are as good as we want to be,'' linebacker Shaq Barrett said. ''We can compete with (anyone), but competing is not enough. We need to make the plays. We can't just keep being close.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 12
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs continues to be the favorite target for quarterback Josh Allen. In Week 12, Diggs saw nine targets, hauling in seven of them for 39 yards in the win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bills weren't able to get the deep ball going, which is why Diggs finished with a season-low 39 yards in this one. Fantasy owners should expect a bounce back performance against the San Francisco 49ers next week.
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders could be trending toward Pro Bowl honors in his third season following a pair of 51 and 54-yard field goals that he knocked through during Sunday's win versus the Jets. Sanders has gone 24-for-25 on field goals this year, while also going a perfect 26-for-26 on extra points. By ESPN's scoring system, Sanders has logged four consecutive double-digit point outings, with fortuitous matchups against the Bengals and Chiefs on the horizon. His roster percentage has begun to trend upward as of late, but he has entered near must-roster territory except for the shallowest of season-long formats.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (knee, foot) caught just one pass on four targets for 23 yards in a loss against the Titans. Pascal was sidelined most of last week in practice due to the injury and was a non-factor in Week 12. This was the first time this season where Pascal had fewer than two receptions. However, Pascal's targets may continue to be limited going forward with the emergence of Michael Pittman Jr. and T.Y. Hilton's solid performance this week. He will look to be more of a factor in a matchup next week against the Texans.
Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 45-yard field goal in the closing minutes of Sunday's loss to New England, paving the way for the Patriots to drill a game-winning field goal of their own. The miss is the fifth of 2020 for Gonzalez, who has now gone 10-for-15 on kicks from 40 yards or longer this year. He did make both of his extra points, driving his percentage to what would be a new career high, but his long range misses make him difficult to roster despite the high-octane nature of the Cardinals' offense. With Gonzalez having missed at least one kick in three of his last five games, there are more consistent kicking options available in the vast majority of season-long leagues.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 13 of 22 pass attempts for 221 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions in Week 12 against the Colts. He added three yards and an additional touchdown on the ground. Tannehill passed just seven times in the second half, as Tennessee held a big lead for the entirety of the final two quarters. However, he still managed to produce thanks to a long 69-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown in the first quarter, the majority of which came after the catch. Tannehill also found the end zone with a rushing touchdown on a one-yard scamper just before halftime. Tannehill will likely be forced to do more to earn a win in Week 13 against the Browns.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis recorded three receptions on three targets for 70 yards in Week 12 against the Colts. Davis matched his lowest target total of the season as the Titans threw only seven passes in the second half because they had a huge lead. Even so, he connected on long receptions of 37 and 21 yards prior to halftime to make the most of his opportunities. Prior to this contest, Davis had seen at least six targets in four of five games, so he could see more volume in Week 13 against the Browns.
Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss has been a fairly productive option for this offense this season. He rushed nine times for 59 yards and hauled in two receptions for nine yards in the Week 12 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Sadly, he wasn't able to find the end zone in the win, which hurt his fantasy value. The fact he continues to split up the carries with Devin Singletary is holding him back in terms of production. He'll remain a low-end flex option going forward.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary totaled 16 rushing yards over his last two games heading into the Week 12 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. His fantasy value was at an all-time low, but he bounced back this week. He rushed 11 times for 82 yards and caught three passes for 20 yards through the air. It wasn't a perfect performance, but much better than what we've seen lately. He'll still remain a shaky flex option against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge hauled in three receptions (on three targets) for 31 yards during Sunday's win over the Jaguars, giving him back-to-back weeks with three catches to his credit. Hodge has been lightly utilized in the Browns' passing game this season, although his role has appeared to have been expanded in the past two weeks. Even without Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) available for the remainder of 2020, many Cleveland wideouts have had difficulty breaking out due to the run-heavy nature of the team's offense. Hodge has not yet popped up on the season-long fantasy radar, but he'll have some DFS punt play intrigue ahead of a Week 13 matchup versus the Titans.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Keelan Cole ended up with three receptions for 44 yards on six targets in Week 12 against the Cleveland Browns.
Fantasy Spin: Cole, Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson were the top targets with DJ Chark Jr. and Chris Conley inactive due to injuries. Cole still didn't do much to move the fantasy needle for owners outside of deeper leagues. The Jaguars meet the Vikings in Week 13.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton caught four of his five targets for 81 yards and a touchdown in a 45-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: It was Hilton's first touchdown of the year, and he also set a season high in receiving yards. Still, it is important to keep in mind that this was just one solid performance, and it came in a game where the Colts faced a huge deficit. Fantasy owners may want to think twice before jumping back on the Hilton bandwagon.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Tyler Eifert ended up with three receptions for 16 yards and a touchdown on four targets in Week 12 against the Cleveland Browns.
Fantasy Spin: The touchdown was nice, but Eifert still doesn't do enough on a regular basis to warrant fantasy consideration outside of the deepest leagues at this point. The Jaguars travel to meet the Vikings in Week 13.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant saw five or more targets in each of his last three games heading into the Week 12 contest versus the New York Jets. However, the Dolphins weren't able to keep that streak alive here. Grant caught both of his targets for 15 yards in the win. It was a dud performance by Grant, but it wasn't really all his fault. He didn't get many chances in this one. He'll be a low-end flex option against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time getting much going during the Week 12 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. He completed 18 of 24 passing attempts for 157 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed nine times for 32 times and one touchdown on the ground. It wasn't the best performance by Allen, but he shouldn't have issues bouncing back against the San Francisco 49ers next week. Fantasy owners can consider him a top tier QB1 for that one.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe made the first touchdown catch of his career with 46 seconds remaining in Sunday's win over Carolina, icing a double-digit second half comeback. With Adam Thielen (COVID-19) unavailable, Beebe stepped into a larger role during Week 12 and finished with seven receptions for 63 receiving yards. Beebe muffed a punt late in the game that nearly spelled the Vikings' demise, but his seventh catch -- which matched his 2020 total entering the game -- sealed the game. Kirk Cousins did a masterful job of spreading the ball around in Thielen's absence with four different receivers hauling in at least seven catches, which makes rostering Beebe next week versus Jacksonville somewhat of a risk. Check back for updates on Thielen's status throughout the week as his return would all but knock Beebe out of fantasy consideration despite his exhilarating performance.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett failed to complete both of his passing attempts, but he rushed four times for three yards and two touchdowns in a 45-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Brissett essentially served as the running back near the goal line, and if he continues to have a similar role going forward, it will cap the upside of the rest of the backfield. The trend is worth watching.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki has been struggling to produce over the last few weeks. Although, he was able to find the end zone for the first time since Week 3, which is great news. He hauled in two of his five targets for 35 yards and one touchdown in the win over the New York Jets. The Dolphins offense looks much better with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Gesicki finally scored another touchdown, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners should jump on the bandwagon. He'll get a favorable matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals next week, but owners should be aware of the possible dud.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley entered Sunday's contest against Buffalo on a two-week streak of not having missed an extra point or field goal -- that streak came to an end in Week 12. Badgley missed his first kick of the day -- an extra point -- before making his only field goal attempt, a 27-yard chip shot. The Chargers' kicker has now missed three extra points and five field goals in 2020, by far the worst percentages of his career. There has been no indication that Badgley is in danger of losing his job, but there can undoubtedly be more consistent options found in season-long formats. Currently rostered in just 16 percent of ESPN leagues, Badgley can remain on the waiver wire down the stretch.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole Sr. had an opportunity to break out Sunday versus Cleveland with D.J. Chark Jr. (hip) ruled out, but that never came to fruition. Cole finished with three receptions (on six targets) for 44 yards against a stout Browns Defense, albeit one that was missing Denzel Ward (calf). Cole's upside was capped by Mike Glennon taking over as the Jaguars' starting QB, although the veteran did little to dissuade the organization from giving him another start moving forward should Gardner Minshew II (thumb) remain unavailable. It's unlikely that Cole gets another such perfect storm of upside, but he could see some DFS appeal in Week 13 against Minnesota for those fantasy managers eyeing a bounce-back outing.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker was able to put up tremendous numbers against the New York Jets in Week 12. He hauled in eight of his 14 targets for 119 yards in the win. Those 14 targets were a season high for Parker, who looked much more comfortable with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) is expected to miss a few weeks, so Parker should continue having favorable value. He'll be a strong WR2 versus the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13.