For all the talk of the Bucs starters playing a half or more the defense was off the field after their second drive and the offense only got three drives. After opening the game with a quick three and out on offense, the defense did its job and held the Texans to the same.
On the next drive it was all Bucs.
Tom Brady led the team on a 91-yard scoring drive, going 7-for-7 on throws to Mike Evans and Antonio Brown, and ending with a Chris Godwin 24-yard touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 6-0 lead. Rookie kicker Jose Borregales’ extra point was blocked.
After a long drive by the Texans, the Bucs held them to a turnover on downs deep in their own territory. From there Brady and the Bucs got right back to work. This time on a 93-yard drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Ronald Jones II to increase the lead to 13-2. Brady had a streak of 10 straight completions, one of them for 32 yards to Godwin.
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today
That would be it for Brady and the starting offense. Brady would finish the game completing 11-of-14 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. Jones would be the only starting running back to log a carry rushing for 27 yards on four carries and a 13-yard touchdown. While Godwin led all receivers with 84 yards on three catches and a score. Brown reeled in four receptions for 42 yards, moving the chains often.
On the defensive side, the Bucs surrendered 57 yards on the ground in two series and it was obvious the unit was missing the presence of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who missed the game due to COVID-19. Linebacker Lavonte David picked up had a tremendous first quarter with a team-high eight tackles.
It was a rough game for backup QB Blaine Gabbert when he came in for Brady in the second quarter. After an immediate sack, Gabbert threw a pick on the very next play. It looked to be a miscommunication with rookie receiver Jaelon Darden.
Rookie center Robert Hainsey had some struggles snapping the ball on the night. His first game back included a low snap while pinned back against the end zone that resulted in a safety. The offensive line as a whole didn’t give Gabbert much help on the night.
The second team defense had a heck of game, starting with first round rookie pass rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. The Bucs’ first-round pick had four tackles, one for a loss, a strip sack and two QB hits on the night. He looks like the real deal.
Corners Herb Miller and Dee Delaney, who are in competition for the fifth corner spot, both tallied interceptions on the night, Delaney logging two. Safety Javon Hagan, who is battling Chris Cooper, had a sack and a forced fumble on the night as well.
Rookie quarterback Kyle Trask would start the rest of the game after Gabbert came out, and finished 12-14 for 146 yards and a score. He would lead the Bucs on a 78-yard touchdown drive – the first of the QB’s young NFL career. Trask showed good posise in the pocket going through his progressions but did have a fumble on a strip sack.
Overall ball security was a huge issue for the Bucs on Saturday night with four fumbles by three different players – including two by rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn. The Bucs couldn’t get much going on the ground, finishing with only 52 yards on 24 carries. Tampa Bay’s defense struggled stopping the run, allowing 209 yards on the ground. Yet the Bucs did however come up with four fourth down stops including one on the goal line, as well as five takeaways.
Special teams was still a weakness for the Bucs with a fumble on a kick return by Vaughn and a blocked extra point and field goal with poor protection for Borregales.
The preseason comes to a close with the Bucs’ lone win. The team will now turn their attention to Tuesday’s cut down date and rounding out its 53-man roster. The Bucs will kick off the NFL season at home on September 9 against the Dallas Cowboys.
J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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