It was another record-setting day at Raymond James Stadium Sunday afternoon as the Buccaneers came from their second-largest deficit in history to beat a spunky LA Chargers team 38-31.
This was a game that started perfectly for the Bucs as they took the opening drive and methodically took the ball downfield to go up 7-0.
Then things started going south for the Bucs as Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson got behind Antoine Winfield Jr. and Jordan Whitehead for a 53-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7.
On the very next possession, Tom Brady would throw one of his worst passes of the afternoon as Mike Davis of the Chargers stepped in front of the Bucs wide receiver and returned it 78 yards for a pick-six to put the Chargers up 14-7.
This was not the way the Bucs had drawn up the game plan.
Donald Parham Jr. caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Justin Herbert as the Chargers would go up 21-7.
The Bucs defense couldn’t stop the Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert as he made play after play.
Just a quick word about Justin Herbert. This kid is a baller. He is going to be a star in this league sooner rather than later. Herbert gets rid of the ball quickly and seemed to make good decisions the few times he was under pressure.
I don’t see how the Chargers can go back to Tyrod Taylor after what Herbert has shown in his first three starts.
The Bucs kicking woes continued as Ryan Succop missed a 44-yard field goal.
The play that turned the game around was the fumble forced by Ndamukong Suh deep in Chargers territory and recovered by Devin White.
Three plays Brady hit Mike Evans for a six-yard TD pass to pull the Bucs within 10.
Down 24-14 At the half, the Bucs came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and outscored the Chargers 31-7 in the second half to get their third straight win.
The other important play of the game came with 2:35 to go in the game. Carlton Davis stepped in front of Chargers receiver Kennan Allen for the Bucs only interception in the game, and the Bucs controlled the game the rest of the way.
Mike Evans had his best game of the season with seven catches for 122 yards and one touchdown.
The Bucs are off to a 3-1 start, their best start since the 2011 season.
With the win, the Bucs hold on to first place in the NFC South.
Tom Brady passed for 369 yards and five touchdowns in the game, tying a Bucs record for most touchdown passes in a game.
Brady distributed the ball around as Mike Evans, Cam Brate, Scotty Miller, OJ Howard, and Ke’ Ke’Shawn Vaughan all caught touchdown passes.
This was the second straight game that a Buccaneer running back ran for over 100 yards. Ronald Jones ran for 111 yards on 20 carries and also caught six balls for 17 yards.
The only knock on Jones game today was the three dropped passes at critical points in the game.
Ke’Shawn Vaughan saw his first action of the season with four yards rushing and two catches for 22 yards and one touchdown.
Scotty Miller is quickly becoming a favorite target of Tom Brady as Miller caught five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
AS Bruce Arians said in his victory speech inside the winning Buccaneer locker room, last year when this team was down by 20 at the half, they would have got their ass beat in the second half.
This is a different Buccaneer team. A lot of that believing that they can come back from a deficit has to do with the man under center in Tom Brady.
The injuries continued to mount for the Bucs as this team is beginning to look like a mash unit.
OJ Howard suffered an achillies injury and may be lost for the season. LeSean McCoy left the game, with an injury, Mike Evans left the game early in the first quarter with a knee injury but was able to return.
Running back Kenjon Barner was taken out of the game with a possible concussion.
With the quick turnaround this week, the Bucs may be down to just two healthy backs for the Bears game on Thursday night in Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughan.
The Bucs were already playing without Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette.
The Bucs get right back to work tomorrow as they begin preparations for the game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.