The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back. Or Are They?
After their blowout win against the New York Giants 30-10, many said that the Bucs were back to playing the way they were at the end of last season, culminating in a Super Bowl win.
They lived up to those expectations for at least one night.
The Buccaneers played well in beating one of the worst teams in the NFL. It’s hard to believe the Giants have three wins this season. It was so bad for the Giants that they fired their offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after returning to New York.
The defense held the Giants to just 215 yards of total offense. Saquon Barkley was back for the Giants missing the last month with an ankle injury, and he managed just 25 yards on six carries. The Bucs still have the number one run defense in the league, giving up just 78 yards a game.
The Buccaneers played the game minus their best defensive tackle Vita Vea, out with a bone bruise. A much better test will be forthcoming this weekend when the number one run defense takes on the number one running back in Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Giant’s only touchdown came off a Buccaneer turnover. A Tom Brady pass went off the hands of Mike Evans at the Tampa Bay 15, which was returned to the five-yard line by Adoree Jackson.
Daniel Jones then hit tackle Andrew Thomas in the end zone, and that was the Giant’s only touchdown of the game.
This was a game the Bucs needed. They played well in all phases of the game. They ran the ball for 94 yards, with everyone contributing. Leonard Fournette ran for 35 yards. Ronald Jones saw the most playing time he has seen in a few weeks, with eight carries for
Thirty-three yards and a touchdown. Tom Brady even showed us his speed scrambling ten yards for a first down.
The defense created three Giant turnovers with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
They were able to sack Daniel Jones twice late in the game but again let Jones get away a couple of times when they should have put him on the ground.
Rob Gronkowski returned to the lineup and showed no ill effects of the rib injury with six catches for 71 yards.
This was one of the few games this season where the pass coverage was really good, giving the pass rushers time to get to Daniel Jones. Although the starters didn’t get any sacks, there was pressure on Jones consistently throughout the game. That can be attributed to the much-improved play in the secondary.
Jones was sacked twice but hit nine times after throws. The Giants were able to cross midfield just once in the second half.
The return of Sean Murphy-Bunting provided a massive lift to the defense. Murphy-Bunting is an All-Pro caliber corner, and we saw how much he means to the defense in his performance on Monday night.
Jason Pierre-Paul talked about the difference that Sean Murphy-Bunting makes in the secondary. “Ah man, you could see the difference. I’m not saying nothing about our corners, but he’s one of our starters, and you can tell why.”
Bruce Arians talked about the defensive play. “Good pass rush, really good coverage, I thought. The front and back end played well together, and we feed off each other, and we should, and make it hard on teams to come in here and try to execute.”
So are the Buccaneers back? For one night, yes. They dominated play on both sides of the ball, just like they did late last season and especially in the Super Bowl against Kansas City.
I want to see more. Let’s see a repeat performance against a very good Indianapolis Colts team on the road this Sunday.