No one predicted a Buccaneer win and no one predicted Ryan Fitzpatrick to drop 48 points on the Saints defense. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken, did an excellent job calling plays and the offense clicked from the opening drive. Below is some of the games top performers.
DeSean Jackson - Jackson started fast with a touchdown on the opening drive and never looked back. This was by far his best game as a Buccaneer. He finished with five catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. That’s an average of 29.2 YPC. Jackson had two touchdown catches of 35+ yards, which is critical for this Buccaneer offense. They want to go vertical and they did just that today. This type of performance is exactly what the Buccaneers expected when they signed Jackson two years ago.
Mike Evans - What else is new? Another massive game for the Buccaneers best receiver. After being outplayed last year by Marshon lattimore, Evans showed up in a big way today. The fifth year receiver hauled in seven catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. Evans, kept his cool for the most part and didn’t allow Lattimore to get into his head. Evans and the rest of the receivers made a statement to the rest of the NFL today that they have the best receiving core in the NFL.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Believe in the beard. Fitzmagic is alive and well. Fitzpatrick, connected on 21/28 for 417 yards and four touchdowns, as well as a rushing touchdown. He was simply spectacular all afternoon and you couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Perhaps, one of the most impressive things that Fitzpatrick did was run the ball. He didn’t try and force anything when receivers were covered, he simply tucked it and ran for 3-4 yards and went onto the next play. The big run (12 yards) came on the last play of the game that iced the win for Tampa Bay. It worked all night and was something that was driving Saints fans crazy (I was in a section with all Saints fans).
Offensive line - The running game wasn’t deadly, but it was efficient and certainly kept the Saints defense on their toes. The O-line also didn’t allow a single sack and only had one penalty all afternoon. It was a step forward for a group that had some question marks heading into this season.
Vernon Hargreaves III - With the defense giving up 40 points, it’s hard to find many positives, but I thought Hargreaves played very well. He finished with a team high six tackles and forced a big fumble that led to a scoop and score for Justin evans. Vernon kept everything in front of him and didn’t allow the big play. He also made a nice PBU late in the fourth quarter, but unfortunately injured himself on the play. Hopefully it’s not too serious.