The worst possible scenario unfolded at Raymond James Stadium for the Buccaneers organization on Sunday as Tampa Bay was stunned and embarrassed by the Tennessee Titans in the first game of the season, losing 42-14. Despite the dismantling, there were a few bright spots for the Buccaneers. Read what PewterReport.com thought about the players that stood out on Sunday.
RB Doug Martin
The game plan most certainly included the Buccaneers serving up a heavy dose of running back Doug Martin who appears to be poised to have a rebound year after two subpar seasons. The plan could have possibly succeeded, however once the Buccaneers fell behind by three touchdowns in the first quarter, those plans went out the window. Martin ran hard, created some positive yards without a lot of help, but after rushing for eight carries and 41 yards in the first quarter, the Bucs only went back to him three more times in the game’s final three quarters. Martin finished the game with 11 carries for 52 yards (4.7 avg.) and one reception for two yards.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The Bucs second round pick from 2014 started the season off with a bang, scoring two touchdowns and also making a nice grab along the sidelines in the first half off of a deflected pass. Jenkins earned his first 100-yard receiving game on Sunday, nabbing five Winston passes for 110 yards and the mentioned two scores. One semi-negative that drew some raised eyebrows in the press box was his high-stepping celebration on his second touchdown, although head coach Lovie Smith, when asked in his post-game press conference, said he was okay with Seferian-Jenkins catch and score.
DT Gerald McCoy
Tampa Bay’s highest paid player in franchise history notched his first sack of the season in the second quarter when he took down Titans’ QB Marcus Mariota on a play that some thought should have resulted in a Bucs touchdown. McCoy wrapped up Mariota near the goal line and drove him back, and in the process was able to dislodge the ball that then rolled into the end zone. A Titans offensive lineman scooped up the ball, but fumbled it again and it was recovered by a Bucs defender for an apparent touchdown. However, the officials ruled that Mariota’s forward progress had been stopped prior to the sack. McCoy finished his 2015 debut with three tackles, including one for a loss and one sack.
P Jacob Shum
Most of the time, when your punter is on the Most Impressive list, it normally isn’t a good thing. Unfortunately that was the case on Sunday. New punter Jacob Schum had an very good day, making many forget about former punter Michael Koenen. Schum ended Sunday with a 47.0 yard average on four punts, including a 56-yarder.
Honorable Mention: RB/KR Bobby Rainey, LB Kwon Alexander
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com