Are you kidding me? For the first time since 2010 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have started a season 2-0 - and we’re not talking about beating cupcakes. Oh no. We’re talking about beating a preseason Super Bowl favorite and the defending Super Bowl champions. Not only did the Bucs win both games, but the offense was nothing short of magnificent in both games.
Has the tide finally turned?
Things are certainly looking that way, but this is still very early in a long season so let’s not get too crazy yet. That said, let’s celebrate a little bit with another victory Monday edition of Pick Six!
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Will Tampa Ride With Fitz Til The Wheels Fall Off? - Ian Rapoport said Sunday morning that Jameis Winston may not get his job back once his suspension is over. Rapoport pointed out that Fitz may get the nod in week four due to the short week following a Monday night game, giving Winston the short week plus the bye week to get prepared. Despite how well Fitz is playing, I still believe Winston will get the job back following the bye. It’s still not entirely clear if Fitz is just playing the best football he’s ever played in his life or if Monken’s offensive approach is what has led to the offensive outpouring we’ve seen thus far. Either way, Winston is still the quarterback of the present and future, but Fitz has set this team up beautifully to start the season.
2.) Great Defensive Performance - The defense did everything they needed to do. They forced two turnovers, allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing, and sacked Nick Foles three times. They came up big when it mattered most and ultimately played really good football. This team isn’t going to pitch a shutout week in and week out. They’re going to give up points. They’re going to frustrate people at times. However, in the first two games they have managed to get tough at the right time and get stops when needed. And they’re doing it with two starting rookie corners, a rookie safety (pending the injury to Chris Conte), and a second year safety. Not too shabby.
3.) DeSean Jackson Is So Freaking Good - DeSean Jackson has opened up the 2018 season with 275 yards and three touchdowns. He was the second leading receiver in week one and the leading receiver in week two. He is doing everything Bucs fans dreamed of when he was signed. I will continue to sing his praises until there is a reason not to. **Spoiler Alert** - That isn’t coming any time soon.
4.) Chandler Can’t-kickenzaro - Yeah, I realize that it was a bad day for kickers across the league (especially that kid in Minnesota who will probably be unemployed by time you’re reading this) but I hated the signing when it happened and Sunday was another prime example why. And that missed extra point could have cost the Buccaneers the game if it weren’t for Evans securing that first down shortly before the two minute warning in the fourth quarter. Time to cut your losses, Bucs. Go get Dan Bailey.
5.) Running Game Is Still Struggling - I love Peyton Barber and the way he runs. That said, the numbers aren’t there. He finished with only 22 yards on 16 carries - a 1.4 yards per carry average. Now, a lot of those carries were towards the end of the game to try and run clock, so the Eagles were prepared for it. Still, the Bucs aren’t getting much of a push, creating lanes for Barber to run through. He has the talent, but the Bucs’ O-Line appeared outmatched and overpowered in the run game against Philly. Things won’t get much easier with the Steelers and Bears on the horizon.
6.) Don’t Worry About Cam Brate - Cam Brate has gone two games without a single target this season. Yes, the guy who led the NFL in touchdowns by a tight end two seasons ago and was top three last season has ZERO targets on the season. That won’t continue. Remember, Brate put up all those numbers and earned that big extension with Winston at quarterback. Brate is Winston’s security blanket. Fitz has a raaport with Howard dating back to their work together with the second team offense last season. There’s a trust there. Don’t read too much into it. Brate will become more of a focal point once Winston makes his return.
Six Numbers To Consider
1 - Quarterbacks in NFL history to have 400+ yards passing and 4+ touchdowns in the first two weeks of an NFL season. That quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick
2 - Number of 75+ yard touchdowns scored by the Buccaneers on Sunday (DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard). They had nineteen of those plays in franchise history headed into Sunday
75 - Total points scored by the Buccaneers through two weeks
34 - Mike Evans’ career touchdown receptions, now tied for most in team history with Jimmie Giles
8 - Years since the Bucs started 2-0. This also marks Dirk Koetter’s first win in week two since becoming the Bucs’ head coach (3-0 in week one)
23 - Number of career 60+ yard touchdown receptions in DeSean Jackson’s career, tying him with Jerry Rice for the most in NFL history
Six Best Tweets
(These appear in no particular order)
Legend has it Ryan Fitzpatrick's beard grows a little bit every time he scores a touchdown pic.twitter.com/4vVq24LWLR— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 16, 2018
Dearest Liza,— Major Ryan Fitzpatrick (@MajorRyanFitz) September 16, 2018
Again we were victorious in this glorious Sunday against our feathered taloned enemy aggressors, this time from the Pennsylvania territory. General Koetter has promised us all fried eagle and hardtack biscuits for supper.
Love like Wilkes Booth loves acting,
Fitzmagic and DeSean Jackson aren't wasting any time... 1st play of the gamepic.twitter.com/VcNGFpPHIE— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 16, 2018
(Psst...All of Carmen’s predictions in the following tweet turned out to be right)
Some things that could happen today:— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) September 16, 2018
-DJax could move into sole possession of 3rd-most TDs of 50+ yards in NFL history (28)
-W/one more takeaway (58) Bucs would tie Eagles for 3rd-most since 2016
-Lavonte needs 1 more fumble recovery (12) to tie Ronde for most in team history
The Bucs may never lose again pic.twitter.com/9Kp9NSxnyi— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 16, 2018
Six Ways To Celebrate The Victory
1.) Go on a Philly Cheesesteak eating binge - just to taste the victory over and over again
2.) Relentlessly tweet to the Eagles nothing but GIFs of DeSean Jackson’s touchdown catch
3.) Troll the message boards on BleedingGreenNation.com after they ripped our manager Gil Arcia a new one for predicting a Buccaneers victory
4.) Troll the message boards on this post for what an idiot I am for picking the Bucs to lose to the Saints and Eagles (and I will gladly pick them to lose every single week if this is the way they play after I do so. I will fall on that sword for you, Bucs fans)
5.) Check out the complete meltdown in the comment section over at the Eagles’ Facebook page
6.) Remind all those NFL “experts” who picked the Buccaneers to be a one or two win team exactly how moronic they are
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Jacksonville Jaguars - I’m as shocked as you are that I typed that, but they beat New England without Leonard Fournette. That’s a statement if I’ve ever seen one.
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - Their defense is useless, but that offense can win a shootout against anyone. Patrick Mahomes is LEGIT.
3.) New England Patriots - Still the Pats. Still going to find a way to get to the dance.
4.) Minnesota Vikings - If they had a kicker, they’re 2-0. Elite defense, top tier offense. They’re gonna make a run at this...
5.) Los Angeles Rams - Same story as the Vikings. That defense, Todd Gurley. It’s almost like cheating at Madden with that roster.
10.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Took down the Saints. Took down the Eagles. Time to take down the critics.