Nothing would stand in the way of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers recovering from a pathetic 38-3 prime-time loss to the New Orleans Saints last week, which Bucs coaching staff with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said was tough to take : “Nothing worked.”
Thanks to a concussion, the left guard Ali Marpet – arguably her best offensive lineman – lost for the second time in a row. They had to make significant changes to their training schedule on Thursday due to a tropical storm that swept the area. There was a 7½ hour flight delay that left the Bucs arriving at their hotel just before midnight and forcing the coaching team to hold meetings at Tampa International Airport. And there was an opening fumble from Ronald Jones that sparked a Panthers touchdown that, along with a lackluster first half of defense, signaled they could be in for a long day.
Bruce Arians said to them all week, “No excuses.”
The offensive line – with A.Q. Shipley kicked in in the middle and Ryan Jensen moved to left guard – regaining his winning form, helping Tom Brady to a four-touchdown (three passes with a QB sneak) and allowing Jones his way to a 98-yard touchdown tracks win 46-23 and reach 7-3 for the first time since 2010.
QB breakdown. Without coercion (Brady was pressured on 46.3% of the dropbacks last week, the highest he has seen since 2016), and after the Bucs reaffirmed their commitment to the ball, Brady completed 28 of 39 passes for 341 yards and no interceptions. He was only released once.
“If you lose, you have to figure out how to get back on track,” Brady said when he got over the saint’s loss last week. “There are no excuses. This team hasn’t made any excuses all year. We just get to work and try to get back there and do better. “
After just one goal in the first half last week, Brady got Mike Evans involved early on, with a 3 yard endzone jump that scored 17-17 with the PAT at halftime. The two linked on 6 out of 11 destinations for 77 reception areas.
Chris Godwin caught all six targets for 92 receiving yards and scored two major hits in traffic in third place – first in third and seventh place in one of Goers dual concepts for a 14 yard catch outside the 5 yard – Set up the touchdown catch from Cam Brate. Then on the third and eleventh, Brady struck lightning to connect with Godwin in the middle.
Antonio Brown was also a force to be reckoned with as he scored seven passes at eight targets for 69 receiving yards while Brady found Rob Gronkowski in the corner of the end zone for a 7 yard score.
The Bucs held third place, converting 10 out of 15, which was to be expected given the panthers’ defensive battles in the area. You beat the Panthers 544 yards compared to 187 yards of total insult.
Bucs’ Defense: a story in two halves. A week after the Bucs defense surrendered 420 yards to the Saints and allowed a season high of 82.9% completion rate and 64.3% on conversions after the third relegation, the Bucs fought again for quarterback in the first half influence. Teddy Bridgewater’s 82.35% first-half completion rate against the Bucs was the highest percentage completion the Bucs defense has given up in the first half of the entire season. (Last week, Brees was 79.2%.)
“We didn’t communicate,” said Arians. “It was the same problem we had [last week]. Todd [Bowles] I got along pretty well with “let’s communicate”. Let’s get to the same page. “And after that we were pretty solid for the rest of the ball game.”
The Bucs put Bridgewater at 18 dropbacks (17%) just three times, the second lowest rate of pressure in the first half of this season (week 1 versus New Orleans was just 5%). The Bucs had much more success in the second half of that with nine presses to 16 dropbacks (56%), with Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett each taking home third in the fourth quarter. They also tightened in third place this week, so the panthers could only go 1 to 9 after allowing the Saints to go 9 to 14.