Niners outmatch the Bucs 27-14 in Week 11

For the second straight year, Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Buccaneers, winning 27-14 this go around. Unlike last year, the Bucs entered the game with little real expectation of victory as they retool following Tom Brady’s departure while the Niners are very clearly Super Bowl contenders.

Brock Purdy probably wishes he could play the Bucs every year, completing 21 of 25 pass attempts and threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns. Baker Mayfield’s stats largely reflect his up-and-down outing, going 29/45 for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Tampa Bay were largely competitive in the first half, allowing just one touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey. The Bucs defense otherwise forced San Francisco’s offense to settle for two field goals in the red zone.

The Bucs offense struggled to get going in the first quarter, and a Baker Mayfield fumble early in the second quarter threatened to let the ballgame get away from them. Mayfield and the offense were able to put together one 75-yard scoring drive thanks to big plays from Cade Otton and Deven Thompkins. A one-yard Mike Evans touchdown catch put them within one score heading into halftime.

Everything fell apart for Tampa Bay in the third quarter. Forced to punt after the opening drive of the half, the Bucs defense allowed two crushing touchdown drives by the Niners. The first came off a 76-yard reception by Brandon Aiyuk, who beat Jamel Dean in single coverage. The second came following a nine-play, 79-yard drive that included a 40-yard catch and run by Deebo Samuel and an uncontested three-yard touchdown catch by George Kittle.

The Bucs did everything it could to respond in the fourth quarter, mounting a quick scoring drive off a 41-yard Rakim Jarrett reception, capped by a one-yard Rachaad White touchdown run. After forcing a quick three-and-out, the offense again drove down the field to the San Francisco 12-yard line but turned the ball over on downs after a succession of misses in the endzone with just under seven minutes remaining.

Though it seemed the Bucs would be too far behind to get back in the game, another quick three-and-out led to a 51-yard Deven Thompkins punt return that put Tampa Bay right back where they ended the previous drive.

The San Francisco defense proved to be too much again. Their pass rush forced Baker Mayfield into an errant throw that deflected into the hands of Niners safety Ji’ayir Brown, effectively ending the game.

It was apparent the Niners simply outclassed the Bucs. Tampa Bay had no answers for San Francisco’s playmakers, particularly Brandon Aiyuk, who caught five passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.

The Bucs secondary was victimized regularly despite decent production from the pass rush which sacked Purdy four times. The run defense allowed Christian McCaffrey to run on them early, but tightened up late in the game, with McCaffrey finishing with just 78 yards on 21 carries.

While the loss obviously hurts the Bucs in their hunt for the NFC South title, the copious injuries they suffered might be worse. Both starting cornerbacks Carlton Davis (hip) and Jamel Dean (foot/ankle) as well as linebacker Lavonte David (groin) were declared out during the game. Left tackle Tristan Wirfs left the field in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury but returned before the end of the game.

As thin as the Bucs are on defense, any long-term injury, especially in the secondary, could have major consequences for a team still in the thick of the playoff hunt. Next week, they face a lowly Indianapolis Colts team, but Tampa Bay’s own lack of consistency makes it anything but a sure win.

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Title: Niners outmatch the Bucs 27-14 in Week 11
Author: Jason Kanno

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