Week one of the NFL is finally in the books. We saw some thrillers on primetime, and some absolute duds *ahem* Green Bay Packers*. Lets take a look at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers performed versus the rest of the league. All grades were referenced using Pro Football Focus.
Tom Brady, 93.0
Tom Brady didn’t have the best stat line in week one, but it didn’t stop him from receiving the highest PFF grade. Tom Brady overcame foolish turnovers, driving down the field to set up Ryan Succop for a game winning field goal.
Both of his interceptions aren’t on him either. One came in a hail marry before the half, and the other bounced off Leonard Fournette’s hands on an easy screen pass.
Look for a similar performance against the Atlanta Falcons in week one.
Alex Cappa, 87.1
The Buccaneers offensive line was fantastic on Thursday. While pressure got close a few times, Brady was upright the entire game with zero sacks.
Cappa was a big part of stonewalling a Dallas Cowboy’s interior line that didn’t look great on paper. But hey, that is how you should perform against an inferior matchup.
Cappa’s grade ranked second for the guard position, ahead of superstar Quenton Nelson.
Rob Gronkowski, 85.0
Talk about vintage Rob Gronkowski. The 11 year veteran’s chemistry with Tom Brady was quite a sight to see. His second touchdown of the game came after a check at the line of scrimmage, as Brady noticed a blitz and got Gronkowski in the open field.
Gronkowski’s 85.0 grade was second best for a tight end in week one, and I suspect he’ll be on top for weeks to come.
Antonio Brown, 84.1
Antonio Brown’s five receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown was good enough for a top five grade in week one. Brown really showed off his finesse and speed, burning cornerback Anthony Brown for a 47 yard score.
Brown should be in the mix every week, but I suspect Brady will distribute the ball based on matchups. Still, Brown has the opportunity to break out in any game, and he looks closer to his old self.
Carlton Davis, 79
Carlton Davis was a lone bright spot in a secondary unit that looked poor on Thursday night. He forced a 13.9 passer rating when targeted, caused three incompletions, and came away with one interception.
Davis ranked fifth in cornerback rankings after week one, and he has the ability to be a true shut down corner with a little bit more polish.
Donovan Smith, 78.8
Has anyone on the Buccaneers improved more than Donovan Smith? It was only two years ago that fans were calling for his head. But on Thursday, Smith graded out as the sixth best tackle in the league.
He stopped DeMarcus Ware on multiple reps, and looked fantastic utilizing new pass blocking techniques. Now to be fair, the entire offensive line might get a boost due to Brady’s quick decision making, but a question mark going into the 2020 season has turned into a strength.
The Buccaneers had some elite individual performances on Thursday. While they struggled in the secondary and in the backfield, overall, it seems as though players are quickly gaining respect after an incredible Super Bowl run.