This game was essentially a pre-playoff (instead of preseason? No?) game for the Buccaneers, since Tampa Bay had the No. 4 seed and division title locked in going into Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.
Obligatory Falcons’ Paragraph
The Dirty Birds, however, did themselves no favors in regards to draft positioning by taking home the 30-17 victory, ending up at 7-10 for the season.
But, we’ve talked enough (one sentence too much) about the Falcons and their continued quest for mediocrity.
Let’s focus on the Bucs. They allowed Tom Brady to play nearly the entirety of the first half and tried to limit other starters’ snap counts. Receiver Mike Evans exited with an illness and Chris Godwin also left the field about the same time as Brady.
The real story of this game was the former second rounder Kyle Trask getting his first regular season snaps in the NFL, looking, well, like it was his first time in a regular season NFL game.
He only got a few snaps to flex his muscles in the fourth quarter after backup Blaine Gabbert got a few drives (including a TD to Russell Gage who unfortunately was injured on the catch), and looked just a bit nervous.
Trask ended up with a trio of completions for 23 yards and no touchdowns. There’s not much to glean from this performance, as he was playing with a squad of backups against a team still putting its starters on the field.
Regardless, the Buccaneers fell to below .500, the first time Tom Brady has been the QB of a team with a regular season record of under .500, but other records and milestones were reached in the game.
Record Breaking Brady
Brady broke his own completions record of 485 and Chris Godwin hit 100 receptions for the first time in his career, both incredible feats considering Brady’s age and Godwin coming off an ACL injury just last season.
The Bucs now prepare for a playoff matchup with the Cowboys this Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium following Sunday’s results giving Philly the number one seed and the NFC East.
It’s a loss, and I’m sure Tom Brady is fuming about ruining his spotless regular season record, but it doesn’t matter. The injuries to Russell Gage and center Robert Hainsey are concerning, as both would be relatively significant losses offensively in the playoffs, but hopefully some good news emerges on the two as well as center Ryan Jensen who could return in the postseason.
We’ll see how things shake out with both injuries and the rest of the playoff picture.