The first game of the 2018 season is in the books for the Buccaneers, even though it was just a preseason game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick started the game as the Buccaneers‘ number one Quarterback and he did an excellent job, as he lead the Bucs to a 57-yard touchdown on his first drive, completing all of his passes. The drive was finished by Peyton Barber with a touchdown run from Miami’s 4-yard line. Barber had a decent game as well, getting touches early in the game and working as the number one Running Back. On his four carries he amassed 21 yards on the ground and a touchdown. He also added two receptions out of the backfield. Fitzpatrick was given a second drive and looked sharp, again. He finished the game with 6 completions on 8 passing attempts for a total of 55 yards. Also, he added two runs for 11 yards.
In the second quarter, Jameis Winston entered the game. He started his first drive close to Miami‘s red zone, as Safety Isiah Thomas recovered a fumble that was forced by Ryan Smith. Winston’s first drive resulted in a touchdown, as well. He hit Freddy Martino for a 19 yard gain and Rookie Running Back Ronald Jones finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. All in all, Winston looked sharp, finishing the game with an impressive 11 completions on 13 attempts and 102 yards. His passer rating was 99.4.
The second half was given entirely to Ryan Griffin, who will start the season as the number two Quarterback. He performed impressively, as well, as he finished the game with 20 completions on 26 attempts, 179 yards and one touchdown, which results in a passer rating of 107.7.
The Buccaneers‘ starting defense stayed in the game for the first two drives and allowed the Dolphins to move more than 90 yards in total. However, they did not give up more than one Field Goal. On a positive side note, the Bucs did not allow Miami to convert a single third down in the first have, an area where Tampa Bay struggled mightily last year.
Despite scoring a touchdwon, Ronald Jones had a rough first game as a pro, rushing for only 9 yards on 8 carries. So did Rookie Wide Receiver Justin Watson, as he lost a fumble deep in Tampa Bay territory. He did have 3 receptions for a total of 30 yards, however.
All in all, it was a very solid and promising performance by the Bucs. On the other hand, though, preseason performances usually just do not count for very much.