Bucs offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs may have been the NFL’s best right tackle last season, but that didn’t stop the haters. Wirfs surrendered just one sack as a rookie, at the hands of All Pro Khalil Mack in a Bucs’ Thursday Night loss. Despite the fact that Wirfs played well against the Bears edge rusher, that one play burned in the minds of many football fans. It wasn’t just the sack from Mack, but also the hip toss of Wirfs after the play.
Since Week 5 of last season, the memory burned in Wirfs incessantly. On Sunday, the Bucs star tackle dominated the rematch, shutting Mack out of the backfield and holding him to just one tackle. That’s right – no sacks, no pressures and no quarterback hits for Mack on Sunday.
“I was very excited, yeah,” the Iowa product said, laughing. “Hopefully the GIFs can stop now.”
They should, as Wirfs posted another highlight reel performance in his 27th career game. It’s remarkable how fast he’s achieved elite play in the NFL, yet remains remarkably humble. Still, the unassuming first rounder was clearly motivated to win Round 2 against one of the league’s best defenders.
“Oh yeah, I was looking forward to it a lot,” Wirfs said. “[It’s] been a year of people putting out those GIFs and tagging me and stuff. Being in my DMs and everything. So yeah, I was looking forward to it. It was cool just to see, watching the film last year, how much of a different player I am [now]. I was so tentative and kind of intimidated last year. This year I just wanted to go out there and do what I know how to do.”
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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