Holy hell….Tampa’s 2-0!
Bucs 27 – Eagles 21
Tampa backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had another solid day, subbing once again for Jameis Winston as the Bucs took on the reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles. Fitz collected 27 pass completions on 33 attempts, torching Philly’s pass defense for 400+ yards and touchdown throws to four different receivers. That included a 75-yard beauty to DeSean Jackson on the game’s very first play. Welcome to Tampa, Eagles.
Fitz also got sacked twice and had one pass picked off, but the resulting damage was minimal as the Bucs defense held Philly to three plays and out on the ensuing possession. Elsewhere, Tampa’s running game was, to put it kindly, “subpar,” totaling a measly 43 yards on 23 carries. That’s an area which requires quick and significant improvement if the Bucs want to be in this for the long haul.
On defense? Tampa gave up 350+ yards to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who completed 35 of 48 passes and notched a TD throw of his own. The D did scrap their way to sack Foles three times, and despite two rushing touchdowns held the Philadelphia running attack to 91 yards on the ground.
So, yeah…not smooth sailing or anything, and for a while it looked like the Bucs might be trying to give away the damned thing. After jumping out to a 27-7 lead early in the 3rd Quarter, Tampa’s last four possessions of the game ended in – in order – a punt, a lost fumble, a punt, and another punt.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia scored 14 unanswered points even though the Bucs defense was doing a decent job keeping things at bay. As is so often the case, it came down to the Eagles’ final possession with quarterback Nick Foles trying to engineer a come-from-behind victory with seconds bleeding away. Thankfully, the Tampa D had enough gas in the tank to thwart Philly’s last, lateral-infested final play to drain the clock once and for all.
It’s a win, baby! I’ll take it, especially when pretty much everyone was predicting how the defending champs would to a fine job disassembling my favorite pirate crew. Hah! HAH, I SAY!
Today’s win moves the Bucs to 2-0, their best start since 2010. They retain the top spot in the NFC South Division. The New Orleans Saints won today over Cleveland, and the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers, so everybody in the division who’s not the Bucs sits at 1-1. These standings mean jack and shit at this point in the season because we all know how these four teams play against each other, and how they generally like to keep us guessing as far into the season as possible.
Next up for Tampa? They’re at home on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who just endured a nail-biting loss to Kansas City today. The Steelers are still searching for their first win of the season, and no way will the Bucs want to give that to them. Not at home in front of a national audience.
So, you know where I’ll be next Monday night.
Bucs Life, amirite?