At a high level, Tom Brady threw for over 300 yards for the 110th time in his career. He had 4 passing touchdowns on the day with an 88.1 QBR throwing to 4 different receivers including Godwin, Gronkowski, Miller, and the rookie Tyler Johnson. Rojo and Fournette split carries for a total of 84 yards on the ground, which Jones scored one of two rushing touchdowns. Brady had the other.
That’s the box score, but I know how much you all despise a reaction strictly based off of the box score. So, let’s start getting into some of the lower level perspectives on the elements that came together nicely, and some that didn’t.
I think it’s finally showing that all the hard work is paying off. They promised good things to come, and it did. Last week was the first week that it all seemed to come together nicely for Brady and the Buccaneer offense against the Packers. This week, they just proved it wasn’t a fluke and they were the real deal against Gruden’s Raiders.
I really don’t think there’s a limit to what we can do offensively.
Chris Godwin said there’s no limit to what the offense can truly do. The confidence is gleaming from this offense finally, and they’re having fun. Godwin had this to say about the offense at the end of the game:
With the things we’ve been able to do so far, I’m excited for where we’re going.
The way that Brady is able to connect with any receiver is amazing. I wish him and Mike Evans were able to connect more in week 7, but it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who you are. You’re in position, you’re open, you’re getting the chance. You screw up that chance, you just don’t get the looks again. Plain and simple.
I warned fans against leaning too much on Evans in the pre-season, especially fantasy owners. He was depended on when Godwin went down with the hamstring injury, and he’ll continue to get looks, but Brady will never solely lean on one guy. He’s never done that, so why start now.
Jason Licht and Bruce Arians have put some solid pieces around Brady to be successful. Tyler Johnson gets his second NFL touchdown, which now allows Brady to not lean on Evans, Godwin, and soon Antonio Brown. Who do defenses cover? There’s no way you can double team everyone.......it ultimately leaves the offense wide open and a playground.
If you don’t love seeing Gronk get the ball in the end zone, you’re not human. It’s incredible seeing his and Brady’s connection like the “good ole days.” He ended up catching 5 passes for 62 yards, which again opened up the field for Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, and even Mike Evans late in the game.
We’ve all been waiting to see something blossom there. I was holding onto each play with abated breath waiting for that moment. Almost like a drama with a cliff hanger. Now seeing some consistency it’s almost like a warm blanket coming over all of us. These guys are finally having fun, communicating, and have more faith now more than ever they have a championship caliber team.
Bucs Secondary Slightly Stumbles
There, I said it! I only said what everyone has been thinking. The secondary is still young, still learning and still allowing plays down field. True, they’re making plays too, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Let’s start off with how the first quarters have been in the beginning of just about every game so far. Just as we saw in week 6, the Bucs defense allowed a touchdown first allowing the other team to get ahead. Raiders scored in the 1st quarter on a Derek Carr and Nelson Agholor 20 yard connection.
These early scores require early adjustments. They add more pass rush, or send an extra man in coverage. I mean, whatever the adjustments are they’re working but still seeing Sean Murphy-Bunting, Carlton Davis III and Jamel Dean getting beat on the outside or deep is still a tab bit troubling to me. It’s a nit-pick, and I expect more I guess.
We have the best linebacker corp and front 4 in the league. We continue leaning on that, we’ll be alright. I just want to see Dean, Davis, SMB and even Winfield get to their assignments quicker, not give receivers any cushion, and lock in on the ball and play aggressively. I just haven’t been as impressed with any other DB other than Winfield so far this season.
Key Plays at Key Moments
If we keep up the interceptions and sacks in clutch moments, this team could win every game for the rest of the season. Kansas City who? There was an ‘L’ in week 6 against the Packers in most analyst’s early predictions, but the Bucs showed us all we had no clue what was coming.
We always have fun. I told Todd to unleash me.
Devin White and Lavonte David dominated racking up 16 solo tackles between the two of them. White had 3 sacks and 3 QB hits! This was his game and no one even came close. He famously said in a presser that he told Bowles that he wanted to be unleashed. Well......there you go! Keep doing your thing.
The introduction of the Bucs newly acquired nose tackle, Steve McLendon. The former New York Jet blew up for 5 total tackles. I just love the story that I heard about how there was a car waiting for him outside the locker room after the Jets got beat by the Dolphins in week 6 to take him to the airport to catch a flight to Tampa.
He was given a tablet and learned the playbook on the way. He then had 3 days with his teammates to prepare after signing and he didn’t disappoint. There’s a lot to be hopeful with him.
Antoine Winfield Jr. strikes again! In our week 7 bold predictions, David Harrison said that Winfield would get his first interception and run it back for a pick-six.
Let’s keep the trend rolling as Antoine Winfield Jr. gets his first career interception and takes it back for a pick-six.
He didn’t get the chance to run it back for six, but he did finally get his first interception and it was glorious.
Carmen Vitali reported that Antoine Winfield Jr. said that it was “just amazing” to get his first NFL interception. Mike Edwards with the amazing play to disrupt the pass and tip it so Winfield could catch it.
Antoine Winfield Jr. said he it felt “just amazing” to get his first NFL interception. Now says he wants to beat his dad in every stat.
The offensive line is getting better and better each week. Brady has learned how to recognize when Smith or Wirfs needs the additional protection, so he’ll motion an extra back or tight end to that side. He’s also learned to lean a lot more on the double down with Jensen, Cappa, and Marpet. It made me feel good that Brady has time in the backfield and not getting rushed as quickly.
As far as penalties, which seems to be the key highlight of every game so far, I boldly predicted that we would only see 3 from the Bucs after coming off of a penalty-free game. We didn’t see that, but they still kept it within reason. I’ll take 4 penalties for only 20 yards and a win any week. Play aggressive, but play smart.
The week 7 match against the Raiders was an overall well played and well balanced team win. If the Bucs can keep this up, they can take it all the way. The doubters are becoming believers, and the faithful remain adamant this is their year to make a playoff run since 2007.