Another week, another win, I think we can all get used to this new pattern being set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, I think everyone - including the team themselves - would prefer a solid four-quarter outing in those wins, but we take what we can get at the moment.
Tampa Bay rookies Cam Gill (OLB) and Khalil Davis (DL) were inactive Sunday. Meanwhile, the Chargers had wide receiver Joe Reed listed as their only rookie not active for this past Sunday’s action.
This left Tyler Johnson (WR), Parnell Motley (CB), Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB), Antoine Winfield Jr. (S), and Tristan Wirfs (OT) all active and available for action for the Bucs.
On the other side of the field, Alohi Gilman (S), Justin Herbert (QB), KJ Hill (WR), Joshua Kelley (RB), Jessie Lemonier (DE), Kenneth Murray Jr. (LB), and Gabe Nabers (FB) were all active for Week 4.
Winfield and Wirfs continued to see their major roles for the Buccaneers and each played 100% of their snaps for their respective units. With injuries to both Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn saw his first reps as a professional getting 19 (25%) total in his debut.
Also getting some work with the Bucs’ offensive unit was Tyler Johnson who stepped on the field for 33% of Tampa Bay’s plays while Parnell Motley contributed with ten snaps on special teams.
Not surprisingly quarterback Justin Herbert played all 53 offensive snaps for the Chargers while Joshua Kelley joined him on the field for 30 of them and Gabe Nabers joined the backfield for eight himself.
KJ Hill had two snaps on offense and otherwise contributed on special teams, as did Nabers and Kelley.
On defense, Kenneth Murray Jr. was on the field for Los Angeles for all but two of their reps while also contributing seven times to their special teams efforts.
Jessie Lemonier got three looks on defense while giving special teams help on thirteen snaps, and safety Alohi Gilman saw all of his work come on the special teams side with 16 total reps on Sunday.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn got his first touchdown as an NFL running back scoring on a 9-yard pass from legendary quarterback, Tom Brady.
Getting his first touchdown in his first day of professional action is certainly going to be a highlight for Vaughn, but the fact that score eventually proved to be the game winning score makes the play all the more important.
In his first game, Vaughn finished the day with four yards rushing on three carries and two catches for 22-yards and the touchdown. Nobody is rushing to add him to their fantasy football rosters, sure, but you can bet that ball is going to look good in Vaughn’s trophy case.
Not to be outdone however, was the play of offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. In four professional games, Wirfs has faced four incredibly talented pass rushers with just about each one being better than the last.
In Week 4, he faced off - as did the rest of his teammates - against Los Angeles Chargers stud pass rusher, Joey Bosa.
Not only was Bosa’s name barely muttered by the television crew on Sunday, he barely landed on the stat sheet.
In total, Bosa landed just one tackle and got two hits on Brady while being held without a sack for the first time this season.
On the Chargers side of things the most impactful rookie was obviously their quarterback, Justin Herbert. He completed all but five of his pass attempts racking up 290-yards through the air and three touchdowns while being sacked three times and having just the one interception. Granted, the turnover ended the game, but still a good outing for an up and coming quarterback.
Herbert added five rushes for fourteen yards as well. Helping out in the rushing game were fellow rookies Joshua Kelley (nine carries for seven yards and one fumble) and Gabe Nabers (one carry for four yards). It was the fumble by Kelley near the end of the first half with the Chargers leading by 17-points we can firmly look at as the turning point in the game.
Following the fumble, Tampa Bay scored second later when Brady connected with star wide receiver Mike Evans. Then, the Bucs went on to outscore the Chargers 24-7 in the second half.
PLAY OF THE GAME
I would love to make up a clip of Wirfs blocking Bosa and not allowing him to Brady, but come on, the rookie play of this game has to be the game winning score, right?
Following the extra point, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a 35-31 lead over the Los Angeles Chargers, and went on to win by the final score of 38-31. Of course, this is the same play O.J. Howard ruptured his achilles on, so it’s certainly a bitter sweet moment for the team as a whole.