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Five Takeaways From the Buccaneers' Comeback Win vs. the Colts

There is plenty to dive into after a huge Week 12 win.

The Buccaneers were able to overcome a 24-14 halftime deficit en route to a 38-31 win over the Colts on Sunday, marking their biggest win of the year. 

Tampa Bay received some help from the Colts, but it made plays when it mattered most and said plays were the catalysts in the comeback victory.

You can find AllBucs' takeaways from the matchup below.

The Bucs force.... five turnovers 

How convenient is this? Five takeaways starting off the "Five Takeaways" post? Talk about an easy insert.

Indianapolis had given the ball away 10 times entering Sunday's game, which was one of the lowest totals in the league before kickoff. The Bucs defense forced not one, not two, not three, but four turnovers and the Bucs special teams snagged one of their own after Nyheim Hines muffed a punt late in the fourth quarter.

And it wasn't just luck-of-the-draw turnovers, either.  Mike Edwards knocked the ball out of Zach Pascal's hands on the first fumble and the other was a result of Shaquil Barrett's strip-sack. Antoine Winfield Jr.'s game-changing interception was labeled as one of the "best plays by a defensive back I've ever seen", according to Rob Gronkowski and Pierre Desir's game-sealing interception showed off his ball skills. Only Hines' muff was an actual Colts mistake, but Scotty Miller still put himself in place to make the play as he recovered the fumble.

The Buccaneers really stepped up and literally took this game away from the Colts. You can bet your mortgage they lose this game without even one of the aforementioned plays.

An inefficient, yet clutch offense

The Bucs offense was not good despite putting up 38 points. The reason Tom Brady and Co. were able to do so was because of the turnovers created by the defense. The Bucs scored 24 of their 38 points off the Colts' mistakes. Desir's interception is the only turnover that did not result in points for the Bucs and that's because it came at the end of the game. 

The Bucs were outgained 392-359 by the Colts, were just 2-of-8 on third down, gave the ball away twice, and saw their first four drives of the game go punt, fumble, punt, punt while netting just 50-yards of offense. The slow start was the catalyst behind Indianapolis building its 24-14 lead. The Bucs defense held Indy to just 24 net yards of offense and zero first downs in the first quarter, yet the Colts still led, 3-0, after the first period.

But you have to give credit when it's due. The Bucs scored touchdowns when they absolutely had to, outside of Hines' muffed punt (they kicked a field goal). And without those touchdowns, the Bucs don't win this game. 

Leonard Fournette put the Bucs offense on his back against the Colts.

Leonard Fournette put the Bucs offense on his back against the Colts.

The Bucs offense missed Gronk during the six games he was out

Gronk has 13 receptions for 194-yards over the last two games. The Bucs offense has averaged 34 points per game and are 7-of-10 when it comes to scoring touchdowns in the red zone during that span, which would be tied for the fourth-best mark if it were the yearly average.

Without Gronk, the Bucs averaged 29.3 points per game and were 16-of-26 (61.5%) in the red zone, which drops them all the way to 13th if it were the yearly average.

But it's not just points and red zone touchdowns when it comes to Gronk. His presence opens up opportunities for other players like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown (whenever he comes back). His abilities as a blocker in both pass protection and the running game are huge, as well. 

Plus, Brady has better chemistry with Gronk than any other player on the roster and we've seen that pay off in major ways. 

It's good to have Gronk back. Now, the hope is that he stays healthy for the playoff run. 

Antoine Winfield Jr. is a future Pro Bowler

Many dubbed the Bucs' second round pick as a potential Pro Bowl player when he was taken in the 2020 draft and the Bucs are seeing that come to fruition during Winfield Jr.'s first two seasons. 

Winfield Jr. finished the game tied for the third-most tackles (7) on the team to go with one pass break-up and an interception. The interception absolutely turned the game on its head and was labeled by Rob Gronkowski as one of the "best" and "most athletic" interceptions he's ever seen by a defensive back. 

Winfield Jr. is no stranger to making clutch plays, however. He stopped the Giants from tying the game and forcing overtime during their 2020 matchup, he kept the Bucs' comeback alive against Atlanta by deflecting a would've-been touchdown for Calvin Ridley in the end zone, and he stopped the Saints from potentially taking hold of the 2020 Divisional Round playoff game by knocking the ball free from Jared Cook

The evolution of Leonard Fournette

If you told me that Fournette would best Jonathan Taylor coming into the game, I would've had you committed. 

Fournette's ascension since the playoffs has been fun to watch. Keep in mind the dude wasn't even thought of as the starter by most heading into this season and here he is, not only the Bucs' starting running back, but one of the most productive backs in the NFL. 

It's not reduced to his on-field production, either. Fournette -and his teammates- said after the game that his halftime speech pumped the guys up and had them ready to go out and take care of business in the second half. I don't know about you, but that screams leadership, which is something the former LSU Tiger has not been known for in the past. 

Fournette has worked his tail off to make the necessary improvements to his game and it's nice to see him reaping the rewards.

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.

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