DLT’s Doubloons – Buccaneers Run Away From Dolphins

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There’s going to be a game where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers only flex their muscles in two of the four quarters and it’s going to get them beat. Sunday was not that day, as the Bucs blew the doors off the Miami Dolphins 45-17.

What I Liked

  • Tom F’n Brady.
  • Antonio MF’n Brown.
  • The Bucs Running Game.

What I Didn’t

  • The lapses of concentration in the 1st and 3rd quarters of the game.

Pieces of Eight

One

One day, long into the future, Tom Brady is going to hang up the cleats and call it a career. On that day, Buc fans will look back and realize this is the time when we were living the greatest moments in Buccaneer history. Watching the Buccaneers dominate, Brady make magic and Tampa Bay compete for rings.

Yes, of course, we all love the Alstott Up the Gut, Derrick Brooks, and Warren Sapp era of Bucs football. It was our first taste of greatness.

This – though – this is what it truly feels like to be one of these storied franchises that have been in contention every year. This is what it’s like to be the Patriots or the Steelers or the Packers.

Even moreso, this is what it feels like to have the greatest player to ever play the game wear your uniform and do amazing things for your team.

Enjoy this, Tampa Bay. We, of all fanbases, know how fleeting this time can be. Soak it in. Love every moment of it. We’ll be talking about it for the rest of our lives – when we saw Tom Brady play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s glorious, isn’t it?

Two

Speaking of the G.O.A.T., it was another record breaking day for Brady, as he set the franchise record for consecutive completions without an interception, he moved passed Peyton Manning for second in number of games with 4 touchdown passes or more (36) and is one shy of tying Drew Brees (37).  It was his ninth game with 5 touchdown passes (only Drew Brees has more with 11). Finally, for the first time in his illustrious NFL career, he threw for 400 yds and 5 touchdowns in the same game.

Meanwhile, Antonio Brown made his own history on Sunday, becoming the fastest player in NFL history to 900 receptions (143).  He also eclipsed 12,000 yds in his amazing career, the fifth player in league history to do it in less than 150 games (joining Julio Jones, Jerry Rice, Torry Holt, and Andre Johnson).

Three

Statistically speaking, the Buccaneers defense had a solid day at the office. They held their opponent to 306 yds of total offense, forced two turnovers, registered 3 sacks, and limited Miami to just 17 points in the game.

The eyeball test, though, tells a different story. A terrible start to the game allowed a Miami offense that came is as one of the worst scoring offenses in the league, to sustain two first quarter drives of 70+ yds and put 10 points on the board.

Then, in the third quarter, Tampa Bay’s defense once again fell asleep, allowing Miami to drive 87 yds in 11 plays to claw their way back into the ballgame at 24-17.

To their credit, Tampa Bay’s banged-up defense (which took another hit on Sunday losing captain Lavonte David), pretty much shut the door after that. In fact, Brissett, who carved up the Buccaneers in the first half for 191 yds, managed just 84 in the second half.

It was still disturbing to see the slow starts at the beginning of the half for the Bucs’ defense. Also disturbing was seeing Brissett break away from sure sacks and complete some miraculous passes. While he is a strong, big QB who’s tough to bring down, he’s not exactly Patrick Mahomes. Tampa Bay should have had a six or seven sack day instead of 3.

So yes, it was a good day for the Buccaneers defense – it just didn’t feel like it, did it?

Four

Don’t look now, but Mike Evans is starting to really dominate. 13 quietly had his best game of the season, hauling in 6 catches for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Evans now leads the Bucs with 39 receptions (tied with Godwin), 393 yds and 4 touchdowns (tied with Gronk).

While Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Gronk get all the headlines, Mike Evans just puts his helmet on and goes to work at being the best Buccaneer receiver of all time.

Five

Leonard Fournette has his confidence back and man, is he become a huge factor out there for the Buccaneers. Lombardi Lenny had another outstanding ball game, rushing 11 times for 67 yards and a rushing score while hauling in another 4 catches for 43 yards.

Fournette runs with vision, passion, and elusiveness not many realized he had. He’s in an offense that doesn’t feature a running game – after all, with the G.O.A.T. as your QB and one of the NFL’s best arsenals of receivers, why would you?

Still, Fournette showed that it’s not that Tampa Bay is bad at running the ball – they’re not – they just choose not to. When the Buccaneers really need to pound the rock, Fournette and Jones can get the job done. They’ve shown it for the last two weeks.

I’ll say this, for as hard and passionate as he’s playing, Leonard Fournette has quickly become one of my favorite players on the 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Six

I know you all gasped the same time I did when reading this:

Visions of Russell Wilson being out six weeks terrorized my head. Brady stayed in the game and all he did was throw another four touchdown passes and about a gazillion yards.

After the game, Brady was asked about the hand and told reporters, “In my younger days, I probably would have never shown you guys. I’d probably try to keep it a secret. But, I think, at my old age, I don’t care so much. It’s just kind of a football injury, so I’ll do my best to get ready for this game — we’ll see what happens.”

Brady iced the hand while backup QB Blaine Gabbert played in garbage time. It’s obviously a concern. Brady took some hard shots by the blitzing Dolphins defense and with a short week to prepare for Philadelphia, you have to hope it won’t be a problem.

Brady has been well protected by his offensive line all season. The sacks he’s taken have usually come on poor blocks. Whether by chipping backs or as was the case on Sunday, a tight end completely getting whipped inside.

Still, he is 44, and let’s face it, without Brady, this Buccaneers team isn’t going anywhere.

Seven

Interesting week in the NFC South. Carolina seemed to have the Bucs’ next opponent, the Eagles under control, but then Panthers QB Sam Darnold turned into a pumpkin, tossing three picks and allowing the Eagles to escape Charlotte with an upset.

The Saints got the full Jameis Winston experience this week. With two ugly turnovers, a beautiful Hail Mary touchdown, and another huge bomb as they held off the Washington WhatChaMaCallIts.

Atlanta went to London and got a win against the hapless Jets. Man, Zach Wilson looked horrible. Jet lag?

Eight

In any normal universe, there’s no way I’d worry about the Eagles beating the Buccaneers. However, this is Thursday night football on the road and it’s Tampa Bay’s third road game in four weeks. The Bucs are already a banged up team, especially on the defensive side of the ball and we don’t know the extent of Brady’s hand injury. Will it swell up on him? Will it require a cast or protective sleeve? Will he even practice this week?

The Eagles are a bit Jekyll and Hyde defensively. They’ve put some good performances on the board against Atlanta, Carolina, and San Francisco while also being 40-burgered by the Cowboys and Chiefs.

Offensively, Jalen Hurts has a great deep ball and can run around with the best of them. He’ll be very frustrating for the Bucs to try and contain. Devonta Smith is their best weapon while Hurts actually leads the Eagles’ running game.

Make no mistake, it’s a dangerous game for the Bucs to try and navigate.

Tweet of the Game

 

 

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