The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their second win of the season by traveling to Washington and crushing the host team, 27-7. With Mike Evans leading the way in his 209-yard, two touchdown performance, the offense and defense finally combined for a complete game and a comfortable win.
The Bucs got off to a terrific start with two interceptions, including a Johnthan Banks pick six. That was the first time since 2000 that the Bucs managed to force two interceptions in the first quarter, according to the Bucs' PR department. With a forced fumble later in the half, the Bucs went into the two-minute warning with a 13-0 lead -- before they allowed Washington to drive down the field for an ugly touchdown right before the half.
But they dominated the second half, as Mike Evans went off and the defense shut down Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris through the rest of the game. The result was a surprisingly comfortable win, only Tampa's second of the season.
WR Mike Evans continued his dominance with a 209-yard, two touchdown performance. That was just eight yards shy of the franchise record -- and the only reason he didn't get it was that the Bucs started running out the clock early in the fourth quarter. He's also the first rookie receiver since Randy Moss to post three consecutive games with at least 100 yards and a touchdown since Randy Moss in 1998, according to the Bucs' PR department.
The Buccaneers defense had what could be considered a breakout game. It wasn't perfect, but they forced three turnovers, scored a touchdown, had six sacks and fairly consistently pressured Robert Griffin III. This may very well have been a breakout game -- or simply an anomaly. Jacquies Smith deserves some special mention, as he was consistently bringing pressure off the edge throughout the game and notched two sacks and a forced fubmle on the stat sheet.
Josh McCown also had a really good day, completing 15 of 23 passes for 288 yards, two touchdowns, two sacks and no turnovers. Easily his best game of the year, especially given the fact that there were no stupid decisions or bad throws.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn't have wished for a better start to the game: on the very first play, Niles Paul juggled a Robert Griffin III pass right into the waiting hands of Danny Lansanah. The offense couldn't get into the end zone from there, but they still got a 3-0 lead.
Despite a few close calls, including a near-pick six on Josh McCown and DeSean Jackson seeing a ball sail over his head as he ran past everyone, the Bucs then took a 10-0 lead on a second RG3 interception. This one tipped by Mason Foster, and run back by Johnthan Banks for a comfortable lead early in the game.
These wouldn't be the 2014 Bucs without some serious Keystone Kops moments, though. First, Marcus Thigpen muffed a punt in such a spectacular way that he barely grazed the ball with his fingertips before it rolled into a Washington player's waiting arms. With that field position set up, the Bucs then went about stopping Alfred Morris in the backfield -- except he broke two tackles, and then got some extra yards on a horsecollar tackle.
But back-to-back sacks and a missed field goals quickly fixed that, while a 51-yard Mike Evans catch allowed the Bucs to extend their lead to 13-0.
Despite a near-perfect half on defense, that performance was marred by a really ugly performance on the final Washington drive of the half. They must have missed a dozen tackle on simple runs and screen passes to allow Roy Helu Jr. to get into the end zone and cut that lead to 13-7 at the half.
While the offense continued its inability to score, the defense once again tightened up. The fourth sack of the game forced a long field goal in the middle of the third quarter, which Kai Forbath then missed -- his second miss of the game.
And then the game turned into the Mike Evans show. The Bucs defense continued to play well, racking up a whopping six sacks over the course of the rest of the game, but Mike Evans really took over. That started with a 36-yard touchdown to but the Bucs up 20-7 toward the end of the first quarter. With the running game being mostly stagnant, that production out of the pass game was no luxury. That pass didn't put the game out of reach, but it was kind of close.
The Bucs simply continued their offensive show in the fourth quarter. Mike Evans got behind linebacker Perry Riley from the slot, and that was the easiest 56-yard touchdown I may have ever seen. Evans was simply unstoppable this game, and Josh McCown finished off Washington in fashion. The Bucs could simply run out the clock the rest of the way, especially given the fact that the defensive line was consistently bringing pressure in Griffin's face.
By some bizarre twist of fate, the Bucs at 2-8 have a shot at the division title. Not a good shot. They're probably going to have win out to get there. But they're only two games behind the division leading Atlanta Falcons.
The Bucs travel to the floundering Chicago Bears before hosting the Cincinnati Bengals over the next two weeks.