The Tom Brady era began with a thud in Tampa as the Bucs were outplayed in a 34-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Brady did add to his NFL records as he scored the Bucs first touchdown on a two years run and became the oldest player In NFL history to score a touchdown.
This was not the start the Bucs and Tom Brady were looking for. Poor special teams play, penalties, and turnovers were the Bucs on doing today.
The Bucs were one of the most penalized teams in the league last season and that trend looks to continue. The Bucs were penalized nine times Sunday afternoon for 103 yards.
Tristan Wirfs committed two false start penalties, and considering he was going against Cameron Jordan most of the game, played very well.
Some of the pass interference calls were debatable. This was the first game for the officials as well. Hopefully the calls will get more consistent as the season goes along.
Donovan Smith was awful. He may get Brady killed before the season is over if he doesn’t make some corrections to his game.
Maybe the Bucs should have traded for tackle Trent Williams instead of acquiring Rob Gronkowski.
The special teams play was something I wrote about to keep an eye on since this was the first game that they would be playing together.
Ryan Succop had a 54 yard field goal attempt blocked, and Mike Edwards ran into Jayden Mickens on a kickoff return causing a fumble and the Saints got the ball deep in Bucs territory which led to a touchdown.
Turnovers continue to haunt this team as the Bucs three turnovers proved costly and were the difference in the 34-23 loss.
Now for some bright spots.
Ronald Jones ran the ball with authority. Jones had 66 yards rushing and averaged just under four yards a carry.
I thought Leonard Fournette, and LeSean McCoy would have had bigger part in the game plan but it was not to be. The Bucs finished with 86 yards rushing. I expected better than that and the running game should get better in the coming weeks.
Good break out game for Scotty Miller. Miller was hurt the majority of last season, had five catches for 73 yards and should be the number three receiver next week against the Panthers.
Mike Evans was a non-factor on the stat sheet finishing with one catch for two yards and a touchdown. Evans did get two pass interference calls and that helped move the ball down the field and keep the ball moving.
Defensively, the Bucs secondary seemed to play with a new found aggressiveness which I found refreshing. They were aggressive in coverage and came up to offer support in the run game.
This linebacker due of Devin White and Lavonte David are going to give opposing teams all kinds of trouble this season.
David and White both finished with 11 tackles and held Alvin Kamara in check as he was held to 66 total yards.
The Bucs front seven did not get a ton of pressure on Drew Brees, but Jason Pierre-Paul did have the Bucs lone sack of the game.
Although the results weren’t what we were looking for, the play of Scotty Miller, and the aggressiveness of the defense were the highlights in New Orleans.
Tom Brady will improve. He will put pressure on his self to eliminate the turnovers and be much improved against Carolina next week.
The Saints are one of the best teams, not only in the NFC but in the NFL. Many prognosticators have the Saints going to the Super Bowl and beating the Ravens or the Chiefs.
The Bucs start 0-1 had will have plenty to work on as they get ready for the Carolina Panthers in their home opener next weekend.