TB-KC grades: Winston does just enough for Bucs win

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Tampa Bay's victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

| 7 months ago
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

TB-KC grades: Winston does just enough for Bucs win

Tampa Bay 19, Kansas City 17

Here are the top graded players and most noteworthy performances from the Buccaneers 19-17 victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback grade: Jameis Winston, 50.7

Ups and downs for Winston

It’s an interesting paradox — Jameis Winston was both a big reason the Bucs won, but also a key player in why they almost didn’t. Winston fought an internal battle between the sublime and the ridiculous, and in the end he can thank a scoreline that hides several sloppy and careless plays that should have been punished. That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of good, such as a beautiful throw down the touchline with 5:53 to go, but it would be wrong to ignore two fumbles he was responsible for (one recovered) and two dropped interceptions that could have changed the game drastically.

Top offensive grades

RB Doug Martin, 87.5
WR Mike Evans, 85.4
RG Ali Marpet, 78.6
C Joe Hawley, 77.9
WR Russell Shepard, 75.5

Doug Martin stands out on offense

It’s amazing how different this offense looks with Martin in there. He didn’t have a run longer than 12 yards but what he constantly did was get good gains that put his team in manageable down and distances. 63 yards on 24 carries doesn’t sound like a lot, but when one factors in that he had 69 yards after contact you get a better idea for how big his contribution was.

Top defensive grades

S Chris Conte 80.3
CB Vernon Hargreaves, 80.1
CB Alterraun Verner, 79.1
DT Clinton McDonald, 74.5
DE William Gholston, 74.2

Verner, Hargreaves shine

Even with Brent Grimes going down and both cornerbacks getting beaten at one time, this was still a game where Verner and Hargreaves shined. Verner broke up two passes and cut off a double move to get the Chiefs offense off the field, while Verner was quick to close on anything short as he really limited the Chiefs yards after the catch ability.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 71.9

Game-altering play defines Smith’s day

Alex Smith was actually playing pretty well, but he made one poor, game-defining play and all that good work is forgotten. Granted he largely just dinked and dunked with only three completions over 10 yards in the air, but he did stretch the Buccaneers defense with a couple of perfectly placed long bombs. Still you just can’t make that throw anywhere on the field, let alone in the redzone.

Top offensive grades

RT Mitchell Schwartz, 85.4
RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 80.2
C Mitch Morse, 78.0
TE Travis Kelce, 77.6
LT Eric Fisher, 75.5

Solid performance from O-line

The Chiefs will look back on this game and wonder why they weren’t able to get more going. They generated movement on the line and got themselves in good situations, but for one reason or another drives stalled and they didn’t capitalize when opportunities presented themselves. It’s a shame because the line — led by the excellent Mitchell Schwartz — did a good job, especially when it came to keeping Gerald McCoy quiet.

Top defensive grades

S Ron Parker, 83.1
DE Chris Jones, 82.0
NT Dontari Poe, 81.2
S Eric Berry, 80.9
LB Derrick Johnson, 75.6

Chief’s defense allows success through the air 

The Chiefs made the Buccaneers work extremely hard on offense, especially in the run game where Rakeem Nunez-Roches (77.1) was playing in the backfield most of the game. But as good as they were in that regard and as much as they stiffened up in the redzone, it was too easy for the Bucs to move the ball in the air with the two lowest-graded players being corners Steven Nelson and Phillip Gaines. For all the highlights he has in his career, Marcus Peters might want to use this game as his biggest negotiating tool when it comes to upping his contract.

PFF Game-Ball winner: Doug Martin

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

  • Johnathan Sanders

    this site is racist, jameis was amazing this game.. probably best game of his career

    • JMac ‘n Chiefs

      Care to elaborate on this supposed racism from PFF? Or how it was the best game of Jameis’ career?

      • Michael

        Doug missed a crucial screen pass on 3rd down and while he heated up in the 2nd half he didn’t do much in the first half. Jameis no doubt was the MVP of this game picking up 3rd down after 3rd down. He made a beautiful throw to Evans to essentially end the game. Was very impressed.

      • Dude

        I don’t see anything racist here however, I thought his grade from PFF was really low though for what I saw when I watched the game. I wouldn’t say it was the best game of his career but Jameis was 12 for 14 on 3rd down for 133 yards a TD and 11 first downs. You will win a lot of games in this league with QB play like that on 3rd down.

        • cyberry

          Jameis was 11 for 16 on 3rd down.. 24/39 is what hurt him on PFF, with few pressures. Along with being in the Red Zone 5 times and only one TD.. Chiefs were first and goal … 3 times. one TD, one FG and one INT.. the killer. I give credit when due..Winston had some good throws.(I was at the game) he deserved a better score.

          I don’t get the Martin ..MVP.. he had 24 carries with 63 total yards (he had several negative runs).. thats between a 2 and 3 yard avg..

          I get sick of this racist Bullshit..(So, do my black friends).. Life isn’t easy and often unfair.. learn to deal with it like the rest of the world.. without excuses.

          • Mike J.

            Bucs QB Jameis Winston on third down today: 12-of-14 passing for 133 yards, TD, 12-yard run, 11 third-down conversions to 6 different Bucs.
            from The Tampa Bay Times beat writer for the Bucs

          • cyberry

            Im reading the NFL.. Box Scores.. above I showed the 4 ..3rd Down.. pass failures. If a team kicks 4 FG’s.. shouldn’t common sense tell ya.. Teams kick field Goals mainly because they didn’t get a 1st Down..

          • Dude

            Jameis was 12 for 14 passing on 3rd down. The team was 11 for 16 on 3rd down including the last one where they just ran up the middle on 3rd and 8 to keep the clock running at the end of the game.

          • cyberry

            I don’t want to make a big deal of this but..

            Buccs 2nd drive(2nd quarter).. at the KC ..12 yr line.. 3rd and 3.. pass incomplete to Evans, Kicked first FG next play..

            Buccs 3rd drive (about 4 mins til half)..at the K ..3 yr line .. 3rd Down.. pass incomplete to Evans.. kicked 2nd FG

            Buccs 5th Drive (5 mins into 2nd half)..at the KC ..19 yard line.. 3rd and 10.. I yard pass to D. Martin.. kicked 4th FG next play

            Buccs 6th Drive (last play of 3rd quarter) at KC ..46..yard line.. 3rd and 25.. Ten yard pass to Humphries ..Punt following play

    • Sharat

      WTF, typical stupid left wing nonsense, calling everything racist. Criticize the rating and rating alone.

    • cyberry

      He was in the Red Zone 5 times..only one TD, I hope he has a higher standard than that..

  • Dylan

    1) Would say that PFF’s Jameis rating is a great lesson on how incomplete passes can actually be easy interceptions dropped. However, I wonder if PFF’s ratings boost plays on 3rd downs or plays that result in 1st downs. Jameis was unreal on 3rd down sunday, likely boosted by pretending he was back at Florida State with the Arrowhead Chant.