Previously on Bucs Blog:
After last year’s 2-14 debacle, Bucs fans were trying to muster some excitement, what with Tampa’s top draft pick, #1 overall selection quarterback Jameis Winston, and hopefully a rejuvenated offense to help the new kid get things off on the right foot. On the other side of the field? The Tennessee Titans putting their own minty-fresh QB, Marcus Mariota, who was the #2 pick right behind Winston.
Both rookies now share the distinction of having thrown their first ever touchdown passes to the Tennessee Titans. So, they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
As for the rest of the Bucs, and anyone who might’ve been watching them while cheering on the Pirates of Tampa Bay? Ugh.
Titans 42 – Bucs 14
It was very, very ugly in the early going for Tampa, with the Titans going up 14-0 less than four minutes into the first quarter. Some might think of this sort of thing as a bad omen, and they’d be right. Indeed, Tennessee did all the scoring they would require for the game in that initial period, rolling over an anemic Bucs defense on their way to a 35-7 lead by halftime.
Tampa’s D seemed to find the On switch in the third period, holding the Titans to just one additional score, but Winston and the Bucs offense weren’t able to get anything going until way too late in the game. The time-tested “3 and out” offensive strategy, was used early and often. This coupled with incessant, infuriating penalties of the variety you’d expect to see during the first pre-season game from guys who ended up not making the final roster, doomed Tampa’s chances of mounting any sort of meaningful comeback.
Thanks to info provided during the game, I learned that Winston was the first quarterback since Brett Favre to have his first pass in the NFL intercepted and run back for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Mariota was channeling a bit of another favorite QB of mine, the great Fran Tarkenton, who is the only other quarterback to throw four or more TD passes in his NFL debut. Mariota even went one better than Tarkenton, by notching that statistic before halftime.
Despite the negatives, Winston kept his poise and soldiered on, managing to engineer a couple of scoring drives before ending up with what really was a heartbreaking effort for naught late in the game. Still, the potential is there for him to really shine, provided the Bucs coaching staff can get the offense dialed in and make sure everybody’s head is right so far as giving up stupid penalties…particularly the flavor that makes me want to punt my TV into the street.
So, if you skipped down to this paragraph for some reason, Tampa falls to 0-1 to launch the 2015 season. Elsewhere in the NFC South Division, New Orleans fell to Arizona while Carolina beat Jacksonville. Atlanta plays Philadelphia tomorrow night in the first of two Monday night games. Up next for the Bucs? They play those aforementioned Saints next Sunday down in the Superdome. Somebody’s coming out of that one a winner. Let’s just hope it’s my guys.
Yo ho, yo ho…a Bucs life for me.