Well that was fun. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-0 for the first time since 2010, after beating the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles 27-21. It wasn’t as back and forth as week one, but that’s okay. It’s important for teams to be able to win in different ways and the Bucs did just that today.
It’s always fun when the team plays well because you have several “top performers” to choose from.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Another outstanding performance from “Fitzmagic”. It almost felt like a dream after the first play of the game went for a 75 yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson. It was like Deja vu from last week. From that point on, Fitzpatrick was in a rhythm and in control of the offense once again. It isn’t just the explosive plays that have Fitzpatrick on fire right now, it’s the crucial 3rd and 4 passes that kept the clock moving on Sunday afternoon. Fitzpatrick finished 27-33 for 402 yards and four touchdowns. He topped his completion percentage from last week (75%) and finished with 81% this week. The Buccaneers have a quarterback dilemma on their hands.
O.J. Howard - Howard got off to a bit of a rough start in the game today. His bobbled pass turned into an interception and then he had negative yards on a catch, but that changed quickly. With 4:51 left in the second quarter, Howard lined up in the slot, ran a little slant route and simply took off. The play resulted in a 75 yard touchdown and gave Tampa momentum as half time approached. The big play ability from not only Howard, but from everyone on this offense is insane and really fun to watch. Howard finished with three catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. I really don’t know how you are supposed to defend him. It’s damn near impossible.
DeSean Jackson - Remember when some Buccaneer fans were hammering for the team to trade D-Jax in the off season? Good times. He was questionable all week, but you knew Jackson was going to do everything he could to play against his former team. The deep threat ability is still there of course, but the team is lining him up all over the place and the difference between this year and last, is night and day. Jackson, finished with four catches, for 129 yards and a touchdown. Through two games, Jackson has nine catches for 275 yards and three touchdowns. That’s an average of 30.5 YPC.
Ryan Smith - Give credit where credit’s due. Ryan Smith needed to show up today and have a good performance in place of the injured Brent Grimes and he did just that. In fact, Smith played the best game of his career this afternoon. He led the team in solo tackles with seven and was tied for the team lead in total tackles with nine. Smith, also had two pass breakups and two great tackles in punt coverage. It’ll be a big test next week for Smith when Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster come down to Tampa.
Kwon Alexander - The heart and soul of the Buccaneers defense showed up in a big way today. Kwon finished the game with six solo tackles, but three of them were tackles for loss. Kwon also forced a fumble after he sacked Nick Foles late in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers didn’t capitalize on it, but nonetheless, it was the second straight game that Kwon has forced a big fumble. With every play he makes, the salary he will command next summer continues to grow.
Honorable mentions: Jason Pierre-Paul, Carlton Davis III and Bucs O-line in pass protection.