Quarterback Tom Brady led the Buccaneers on the opening drive with an up tempo offense, giving fans a glimpse into their 2022 season. Head Coach Todd Bowles said, “they moved the ball down the field efficiently . . . they had a good start to the game.”
On the first play, running back Leonard Fournette lined up at left guard and took the ball out 13 yards. After incomplete passes to receivers Tyler Johnson and Mike Evans, tight end Cameron Brate secured a 7-yard pass just short of the first down. The Buccaneers decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Colts 49-yard line.
With no huddle, Brady completed a 10-yard pass to Johnson for the first down, before connecting downfield with receiver Julio Jones for 20 yards. A first of many passes for the new duo, and who Brady described as, “really easy to have chemistry with.”
The Bucs continued with the no huddle offense with short passes to Jaelon Darden and Fournette, but came up short on 3rd and 6 with Brate’s 3-yard reception. Tampa Bay settled for Ryan Succop’s 30-yard field goal to get points on the board. The Colts answered with a 1-yard rushing touchdown to take the lead 7-3.
With Brady on the sidelines, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert led the offense through the remainder of the first quarter and most of the second. Gabbert found tight end Cade Otton on a deep 30-yard pass to start the second quarter, before running backs Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Rachaad White traded carries down the field.
Vaughn scored on a goal-line carry and the Bucs were back in the lead 10-7. The Colts responded with running back Phillip Lindsay pushing through another 1-yard touchdown.
The second half of the game was lopsided with the Colts adding two field goals and a 45-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Colts’ Dallas Flowers returned the kickoff 53-yards. Two plays later, Ehlinger covered 45 yards as he scrambled out of the pocket, through the Bucs defense and into the end zone.
Quarterback Kyle Trask, who saw the most playing time for the Bucs, ended the night with a 70% completion rating, but no scoring drive. Trask did put up the longest pass of the game with a 46-yard to tight end JJ Howland The drive looked promising after running back Patrick Laird carried the ball up the middle 6 yards and had a 5-yard reception.
Unfortunately, an offensive holding penalty cost the Bucs 10 yards and, on 2nd and 17, the Colts sacked Trask for a loss of 5. Tampa Bay was unable to score in the second half and fell 0-3 in the preseason.
The real test begins on September 11th in Dallas when the Bucs kick off the 2022 season against the Cowboys.
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