Ryan Fitzpatrick has a career afternoon as he led the high-powered Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense to a victory against the New Orleans Saints in a shootout at the Superdome.
Last season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson did not have a catch longer than 50 yards. This left many fans concerned for his outlook this season.
On the Buccaneers’ opening possession of the season, Jackson put those concerns to rest.
After an opening drive Saints touchdown, the Buccaneers responded with a touchdown drive of their own. A four play, 68-yard drive was capped off by a 58-yard bomb from Ryan Fitzpatrick to DeSean Jackson.
The first drive was only a glimpse of what was to come from the Tampa Bay offense who finished the first half with 278 total yards, 31 points, and no punts. Ryan Fitzpatrick played a flawless half of football as evidenced with his 158.3 quarterback rating. He finished with 210 passing yards and three total touchdowns.
Defensively, the Buccaneers struggled to stop the New Orleans Saints’ offense, who scored on each of their first three drives. Drew Brees totaled 238 passing yards and Alvin Kamara finished the first half with 114 total yards. The defensive highlight for the Buccaneers occurred on a play where Justin Evans returned a Mike Gillislee fumble for a 34-yard touchdown.
In the second half, the Buccaneers took over the game after a slow start to the third quarter. Tampa Bay scored the first 17 points to extent the lead to 48-24 in the fourth quarter. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both caught long touchdowns from Fitzpatrick, who finished the game with a career high 417 passing yards.
New Orleans never gave up though. The Saints rallied in the fourth quarter and scored the final 16 points to bring the score to 48-40. However, on the final Tampa Bay drive of the game, Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for a 12-yard gain on 3rd and 11 to give the Buccaneers a first down with 2:00 remaining and no timeouts for the Saints.Embed from Getty Images
Drew Brees finished the game with 439 yards and 3 passing touchdowns. Michael Thomas accounted for 180 of those yards, while adding a touchdown.
For Tampa Bay, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson combined for 12 receptions for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Up next, Tampa Bay returns home to face the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday at 1:00.
For New Orleans, they welcome the Cleveland Browns into the Superdome next Sunday for a 1:00 kickoff.