Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette took over the game and single-handedly keeps the Bucs’ in the game. Fournette not only scored four touchdowns, but he also gave a halftime speech for the ages that connected with his coaches and teammates after being down 24-14 at the half. The Buccaneers went on to beat the Indianapolis Colts, 38-31. However, without Lenny’s 28-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left, this was not a possibility.
The Bucs seem to struggle on the road this season. They have lost three games on the road this year,: against the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, and at Washington. This is an alarming issue, especially as they attempt to repeat being Super Bowl Champions.
“I told them, ‘You need the desire and determination,'” Fournette explained. “‘You must be ready to give it all, play by play. You need the drive to win, the spirit to fight, every single play.’ I believe they got the message and gave their best performance.”
The Bucs often struggle to find their rhythm offensively early in the game. They tend to turn the ball over and make careless mistakes in the first half. As their defense slowly improves as the year goes on, the Buccaneers still allow too many big plays for any respectable defense. Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was beaten by Colts receiver Ashton Dulin on a 62-yard touchdown. Not to mention, they also gave up a 16-yard scramble by Colts quarterback Carson Wentz on a big tie third down.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised by halftime speech
Many were surprised by the electrifying speech Fournette gave at halftime. According to ESPN, it changed the energy of the team and woke everyone up mentally. Lenny is not often considered a leader; however, nor has he ever shied away from the moments to give words of encouragement.
“People seemed down, and it wasn’t like we were getting destroyed out there. It’s just the small details that kept us from winning the game. So, I tried to uplift everyone’s spirits, and thankfully, it worked,” Fournette shared. His teammates acknowledged that his words motivated them.
“He told us to keep fighting,” safety Antoine Winfield Jr. commented. “We have control over our own destiny. If we want to be the team we aspire to be, we need to step up and win games like this.”
“He definitely said things that got us fired up,” added outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, who recovered a fumble after sacking Wentz in the third quarter. “He mentioned that we are a special group, which is why he came back. We know we have the potential to be exceptional; we just need to demonstrate it on the field.”
Fournette makes history
Fournette sets a personal record and tied a Buccaneers franchise record with four touchdowns from scrimmage. He had a career day but earned the respect of many of his peers including future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski spoke highly of Lenny and believes his speech sparked something amongst the whole team. Gronk emphasized changing his nickname due to his outstanding performance Sunday evening.
Gronk gives Leonard Fournette a new nickname 🤣 pic.twitter.com/DB8XjFi7XW
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 29, 2021
“We all watched him run and do amazing things with the ball. It pumped us up on the sideline,” Winfield shared. “Seeing him run, giving it his all, it motivates us to step up our game.”
Leonard Fournette has 131 total yards and four TDs today. Lenny is alive and well, playing a huge role in this offense.pic.twitter.com/HwpVh7Dw7v
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 28, 2021
All in all, the Bucs still have several road games to play. The Bucs plan to take on the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers. They plan to fight for the top-seeding which will grant them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The playoff ran began against the Colts for the Buccaneers and time can only tell if they can build upon Fournette’s performance.