Each week after every Bucs game, we’ll take a closer look at the snap count distribution for the Tampa Bay offense and defense. We’ll assess what we can learn from who played the most and least from the game.
Here is a closer look at which players received the highest and lowest number of snaps in the Bucs’ 30-17 loss on Sunday afternoon on the road to the Falcons in the Week 18 regular season finale.
Well, this is a different look than in other weeks, isn’t it? The Bucs didn’t have much to play for in this game and were fairly cautious in using their starters with the backups playing almost all of the second half. Only three offensive linemen played all 55 snaps with Brandon Walton, Luke Goedeke and Nick Leverett. The latter two really stood out considering Goedeke moved over to play right tackle, where he played at Central Michigan, and Leverett’s switched over to center in the game after Robert Hainsey was injured.
For the first time all season, Tom Brady didn’t play 100% of the snaps but he did have the most out of all the quarterbacks. Brady had 31 plays to Blaine Gabbert’s 14 and Kyle Trask’s 10. Tampa Bay had trouble moving the ball in the second half going three-and-out several times, so that might’ve played into the numbers.
The highest snap counts after the offensive linemen was wide receiver Deven Thompkins, who was exciting to watch. He made four catches for 25 yards and ran for 17-yards on an end around. Thompkins showed a great ability to break tackles and to contest for the ball when battling a defender. He was the best wide receiver out there besides Chris Godwin.
Speaking of Godwin, it was a special day for him as his six receptions for 55 yards led the team into the game. But more importantly, Godwin’s performance put him over 100 catches and 1,000 yards on the season. Breshad Perriman had the second-most snaps while Russell Gage was third.
Believe it or not it was Giovani Bernard that led the way in snaps and production for the running backs. He was in for 45% of the time, recording seven rushing attempts for 28 yards. Ke’Shawn Vaughn was second on snap percentage, running eight times for 26 yards. Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette were seldom used as the Bucs save them for the postseason.
While Cade Otton usually plays a high percentage of snaps, it appears Tampa Bay were preserving him for the playoffs as well, only playing him in 19 snaps. Despite being in for 11 plays, Kyle Rudolph made the most of it by scoring his first touchdown of the season. Cam Brate looked invisible even though he was on for 49% of the game.
So many injuries to the Bucs forced safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to play 100% of the 68 snaps. Even at the end of the game when most reserves were in, Winfield was still going. Outside linebackers Anthony Nelson and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka were in a similar situation, as they played 75% and 72% respectively.
The Bucs planned to not use their starters much. Players such as Akiem Hicks and Jamel Dean were barely on after two series, and linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White were done by halftime. This gave us a look at KJ Britt and JJ Russell, but neither did anything positive that stood out.
Tampa Bay’s defensive line saw a jump in the amount of plays for defensive tackle Logan Hall, while role players Pat O’Connor and Deadrin Senat were involved. Regulars Will Gholston and Rakeem Nunez-Roches had time in the first half.
In the secondary, once Dean was out of the game the Bucs had Sean Murphy-Bunting and Zyon McCollum on the outside at corner. They used Dee Delaney at the nickel position and he wound up having a solid game ending up second on the team with eight tackles and one tackle for loss, getting his snap count to 69%.