The highly anticipated debut of Tom Brady as a Buccaneer didn’t quite go as well as many anticipated.
For the first time in his 20-year career, Brady was taking snaps for a team not named the New England Patriots. With a star-studded cast around him, the expectations have been high for a Buccaneers team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007. Unfortunately, that debut fell a little flat in a 34-23 defeat to the division rival Saints (1-0).
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A touchdown run from Brady gave the Bucs (0-1) an early 7-0 lead, however, the Saints scored 24 unanswered points which were aided greatly by a pair of picks from the Buccaneers quarterback. One of which was brought all the way back to the endzone for a touchdown. It was one of several mistakes made by the Buccaneers throughout the course of the game on both sides of the ball.
O.J. Howard says the Bucs’ mistakes today were more disappointing than just the rustiness of not having preseason games. Said they see where they need to be better and you’ll see improvement from that next week.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 14, 2020
Buccaneers Key Stats
|QB Tom Brady||23-of-36, 239yds, 3TDs (1 rushing), 2INTs|
|WR Chris Godwin||6 receptions, 79 yards|
|WR Scotty Miller||5 receptions, 73 yards|
|WR Mike Evans||1 reception, 2 yards, 1TD|
|RB Ronald Jones||17 carries for 66 yards|
Defensive penalties (nine total on both sides of the ball) aided the Saints offensive drives early and miscommunication on the offensive side limited their effectiveness. A special teams blunder in the fourth quarter on a punt return all-but-sealed the Buccaneers fate as time was expiring.
Time To Panic?
No. It’s week one. That is not to say the Buccaneers don’t have a laundry list of things to work on. As mentioned before, they have to play more disciplined. Nine penalties and three turnovers will not win football games. Perhaps you can chalk that up to rust, regardless, early penalties aided the offensive drives of the Saints as they stormed out to the 24-7 lead. In addition, even without Marcus Davenport, Donovan Smith was effectively picked on throughout the game which led to Brady facing a lot of Saints defenders in the backfield.
With that said, these issues are fixable. Timing across the offense will help the line immensely. Remember, this is the first time this team has seen live game action with Brady directing traffic. There were noticeable timing issues that will be fixed as the season progresses. A Brady-led offense is predicated a lot on timing and receiver/quarterback being on the same page and being able to adjust to the same thing as the play is going on. That will come in time.
Three Things to Like
- Scotty Miller – Miller finished the game with five catches for 73 yards but most importantly, he showed some early chemistry with Brady. It shouldn’t be too surprising because Brady has lauded the rookie all camp but now we are seeing it in the flesh. If the two look in sync now, how will they look two months from now?
- Chris Godwin – Much like Miller, Godwin showed some early chemistry with Brady. He was the recipient of Brady’s first completion—a 29-yard shot down the sideline. The former number 12 looked like a natural catching passes from the new number 12 in the Bucs offense.
- Antoine Winfield Jr. – You can see why the Bucs drafted him as he looked like he fit in well in his first NFL start. Winfield Jr., touted for his playmaking ability at Minnesota, flashed that potential throughout the game, nearly coming up with his first interception in the endzone. He ended the game with six total tackles, a pass defense, and he was credited with a quarterback hit.
- BONUS! Devin White/Lavonte David – Both linebackers had double-digit tackles against the Saints look like one of the best pairings in the NFL. Despite the defenses’ struggles, at times, they did hold Drew Brees to a pedestrian stat line and managed to stymie the Saints offense for large chunks of the game. Just not enough.
Tom Brady will make his first start at Raymond James Stadium as the Buccaneers host Teddy Bridgewater and the 0-1 Carolina Panthers.