Two weeks, two wins. This one got a little close late in the third quarter, but the Buccaneers were able to pull away late thanks to safety Mike Edwards finding his way to the end zone twice.
Tom Brady continues his unbeaten streak against the Atlanta Falcons and for the second week in a row we’ve seen opposing offenses utilizing quick passing attacks to neutralize the Bucs’ vicious pass rush.
Let’s go full Mike Edwards and Pick Six, shall we?
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Like a fine wine. Tom Brady just continues to get better with age. Brady shredded the Falcons’ defense for 276 yards and five touchdowns, giving him nine touchdown passes in the first two games. For you math whizzes, that puts him on pace for 76.5 touchdown passes for the season. Now, we all know he’s not getting to that number, but it’s fun to think about a 44 year old quarterback having a legitimate shot at Peyton Manning’s single season record of 55. The haters will say the record wouldn’t be real because Brady would get an extra game, but he would need to average just 3.3 touchdowns per game to break the record with a game to spare. Again, it’s early - but it’s food for thought.
2.) Defense giveth and defense taketh away. The secondary struggled through the third quarter, allowing the Falcons to come back from down 28-10 and close the gap to 28-25. We’re still seeing the pass rush have trouble getting home, which is partially a byproduct of both Dallas and Atlanta emphasizing quick passes. However, when the Falcons found themselves down by 10 with just over nine minutes to play and they needed to push the ball down the field in a hurry, the pass rush got pressure and the secondary forced two turnovers that both resulted in scores by Mike Edwards. There was a lot of talk about how beneficial it is that all the Super Bowl starters returned, but now there’s plenty of film to dissect by opposing teams and game plans are being formulated to take away the pass rush. The beat up secondary is going to have some problems against a high octane Los Angeles Rams offense and Cooper Kupp might have himself a field day if Carlton Davis is still struggling to get healthy this time next week. Until then, Todd Bowles has his work cut out for him finding new and creative ways to get pressure on the quarterback.
3.) Still worried? Way too much was made following week one about Mike Evans’ lack of production in the offense. There were warnings sent out here and on the Locked On Bucs Podcast to stop stressing and that Evans was going to be just fine. Alas, that was exactly the case. Evans led the team in receptions (five), yards (75) and tied Rob Gronkowski for most touchdowns with a pair. This time it was Antonio Brown’s turn to have a quiet day, finishing with just one catch for seventeen yards. That’s how this offense is going to be. Not everyone can have a huge game every week - but that’s what makes this team so dangerous. You can’t take just one or two guys out and slow them down. There’s simply too many weapons that can win one-on-one matchups. This week was Evans week, last week was AB week, next week might be Gronk week. You just don’t know. So don’t worry about your fantasy team as much as just being glad the Bucs have this many weapons to use each week.
4.) Help is on the way? I posted the reports yesterday that the Bucs had reached out to Richard Sherman given their depth issues at corner and the lack of knowledge as to when Sean Murphy-Bunting may return. Ed Werder said the Bucs wanted to evaluate how the corners performed against the Falcons. Well, given how banged up Carlton Davis is and the fact that Jamel Dean had to leave the field with an injury, don’t be surprised if the talks with Sherman become more serious in the coming days. We don’t know how close or far Sherman would be to stepping onto the field and he may not be ready to go against the Rams, but the Bucs have a rough road stretch coming up and reinforcements would certainly be welcome. Again, it’ll all boil down to compensation and if Sherman is willing to take a lesser guaranteed money deal to come in and help this defense.
5.) RoJo bounce back. Ronald Jones looked really good running the ball on Sunday. He finished with six rushes for 27 yards, which isn’t a lot - but it’s 4.5 yards per carry. Now, he missed a critical blitz pickup that resulted in a sack, but he seemed to get back on track in the run game after being relegated to the doghouse in week one. Fournette finished with eleven carries for 52 yards - 4.7 yards per carry - but the Bucs seem committed to this two-headed monster at running back. It didn’t work so well in week one, but it looked far better in week two. Against the Rams, it will be critical for both backs to bring their “A” game so that the Bucs can control the clock and keep the Rams’ offensive chances to a minimum.
6.) Bradley Pinion is an All-Pro already. Punters are people, too! And Bradley Pinion might be the best one in the league. With another stellar performance on Sunday, Pinion is in line for his second Special Teams Player of the Week award in as many weeks. Pinion had two punts inside the 20 - one was inside the five yard line - and he averaged 47.3 yards per punt. I realize this isn’t a “sexy” position, but when the Bucs need him to perform, he does. For contrast, Falcons punter Cameron Nizialek averaged just 39.3 yards per punt and had two horrendous shanks that set up Buccaneer scoring drives. Special teams is one-third of the game and the Bucs are sitting pretty in that department.
Six Numbers To Consider
9 - Consecutive wins by the Bucs while scoring over 30 points - an NFL record
3 - Consecutive games for Gronk scoring multiple touchdowns - tied for most ever by a tight end in the Super Bowl era (Ben Coates)
2012 - The last time a defensive player had two pick sixes in the same game came nine years ago, until Mike Edwards did in on Sunday
42.8% - Percentage of NFL playoff teams in the last decade that started a season 2-0
1 - Quarterback in Bucs history with multiple 5+ touchdown games - Tom Brady
5 - Times in the past year the Bucs have score 44+ points, matching their total from 1976 through 2019.
Six Best Tweets
The awareness of AB here before the catch has even been made is noteworthy;
Edwards flagged for taunting. This is all I saw pic.twitter.com/sm1pjH91gN— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) September 19, 2021
Name a better two-way player you can't pic.twitter.com/2wvXk0COOs— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) September 19, 2021
Kudos to our loyal listener of the Locked On Bucs podcast, Matt, who went the extra mile in his mini cannon celebration this week;
FIRE THE MINI CANNON!!! Bucs win! Looks like these South Georgia boys are eating cannon smoked dirty bird smothered in victory gravey for dinner tonight! Go Bucs! Raise the Flags! ☠ ☠ @LockedOnBucs @JYarcho_BUCS @DHarrison82 @Buccaneers pic.twitter.com/BuM1ZfLJWU— Salty Dog 159 (@saltydog159) September 20, 2021
Next time I make a play I’m jumping in the stands . F it ♂️ ♂️— C-Murda ™ (@Carlton_Lowkey) September 20, 2021
Six Reasons To Be Confident In Week Three
6.) The loss last season still stings - Bucs will be out for revenge in the Rams’ house
5.) Brady currently sits at .500 against Matthew Stafford led teams and that’s just unacceptable
4.) The defense is due for a dominant performance
3.) RoJo is headed back to his college town - and he’s going to go off
2.) Ndamukong Suh revenge game
1.) Because the Bucs’ offense is built to win shootouts and this one certainly has the possibility of becoming exactly that
Six Super Bowl Bets
(Per usual, this was completed ahead of the finish of Sunday Night Football)
1.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Huge offensive outputs and they still haven’t played their best
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - Confirmed: Still good
3.) Los Angeles Rams - Tough game after a long flight, but this team looks legit
4.) Buffalo Bills - Yeah, last week was kind of a fluke, no?
5.) Green Bay Packers - I think last week was a fluke for them, too
6.) Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray is all kinds of fun to watch