The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their second win of the season, and this time we can call it "dominant". This game had everything for the Bucs: a running back with three touchdowns and well over 150 yards on the ground. A wide receiver with over 150 yards receiving. A quarterback completing over 80% of his passes. Blocked punts, successful onside kicks, trick plays, sacks, fumbles and interceptions: the Bucs had it all on Sunday for the first time this year.
Surprisingly, the game didn't get off to a fast start, although both offenses managed to run the ball somewhat successfully. The passing games couldn't keep up, though, and Gerald McCoy showed off his impressive play with back-to-back sacks to end one promising Atlanta drive. That left a boring first quarter with a boring score of 3-0 Bucs, despite running games on both sides of the ball averaging over 6 yards per carry.
That changed in the second half, though. Another Gerald McCoy sack ended an Atlanta Falcons drive, and suddenly the Bucs pulled out the explosive plays: 47 yards on a deep ball to Vincent Jackson followed by a 43-yard Bobby Rainey touchdown run put them up 10-3. Two turnovers then gave the Bucs a three-score lead: a Mason Foster pick six, followed by a Roddy White fumble and a second Bobby Rainey touchdown run. Rainey would end the day rushing for 163 yards on 30 carries.
The Bucs have been more aggressive the past three games, and it showed up in the first half. Up 10-3, they decided to kick a surprise onside kick, and special teams standout Russell Shepard came up with the ball. That didn't lead anywhere, as they then failed to convert on a long fake field goal, but that aggressive attitude -- putting it all on the line -- was missing the first eight games.
Up 24-6 at the half, the Bucs didn't let up. Where in the previous two games they struggled to keep up their quality of plays in the second half, Tampa Bay continued where they left off with another long Vincent Jackson catch and Bobby Rainey's third touchdown of the day. Jackson ended the day catching 10 balls for 165 yards and one touchdown as Glennon finally figured out how to keep his deep balls remotely catchable. Glennon himself ended the day completing 20 of 23 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns in his best game so far.
The Tampa Bay defense did give up three garbage time touchdowns, which makes their performance look worse than it was. With three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery the Falcons were limited to just six points until the game was well out of hand.
All in all, this was simply a dominant performance by a Tampa Bay squad that made it a habit to lose close games in excruciating fashion this year. Monday night's win against the Dolphins seems to have sparked something for these Buccaneers, and their performance was impressive even against an injury-decimated Falcons team.
Bucs linebacker Mason Foster left the game with a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.
Johnthan Banks left the game with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Detroit to try to find their third win of the season.