The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a Monday night win against the New Orleans Saints after a classic Tom Brady game winning drive. The Buccaneers offense is going to be tested again this week as they go on the road to face off against the 8-4 San Francisco 49ers. I’ve laid out three keys that the Buccaneers must keep in mind to insure victory away from home.
Force Brock Purdy to make plays
The Niners are starting rookie quarterback Brock Purdy after Jimmy Garoppolo went down for the season with a foot injury. The Bucs must be aggressive and make Purdy beat them with his arm. This means constant pressure from the front four and forcing him to make throws under pressure. The Bucs can’t give up big plays, especially against a rookie quarterback who hasn’t played much this season.
Purdy is a young quarterback and the Buccaneers need to take advantage of that. He is still learning to feel comfortable in the pocket and even with an impressive start the rookie Purdy struggled with his accuracy. If he starts to force throws, the Buccaneers defense needs to make him pay with pass deflections and interceptions.
Move the ball quickly
The Buccaneers offense will be going up against an elite defense this week. The 49ers have been the best team in the NFL against the run game, allowing just 3.4 yards per carry on the ground. This means that the Buccaneers need to get their passing game going early and often. This will force the Niners to spread their defense out and put players in space. The Bucs have a handful of great receivers with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones. If they can get in space, they will take advantage of the weaker half of the Niners defense.
Just passing the ball will not get the job done. Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, will need to program more short and quick passes for his offense to really be effective. The Niners defensive line led by Nick Bosa will make quick work of a battered Buccaneers offensive line and get to Brady if the ball isn’t moved quick enough. This means that the running backs will have to also be involved in the passing game by using screens and having them run routes.
Control the clock
Brock Purdy may only be a rookie, but the Niners have the weapons that it may not even matter who is under center. They have versatile playmakers in Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel who make their money getting yards after the catch. This means that the Buccaneers need to control the clock with their running game and convert on third downs to keep the niners offense off the field.
Forcing Brock Purdy to make plays will be the key for the Buccaneers defense. If they can get him feeling uncomfortable in the pocket and force him into bad decisions, they will be in a good position to win. If they can control the clock and keep the Niners offense off of the field, they will ultimately come away with a win. That is why I’m predicting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat the San Francisco 49ers this coming Sunday.