FAB 4. Several Bucs On Record Pace
Tampa Bay is off to a 2-2 start thanks to a 55-40 upset in Los Angeles of the previously unbeaten Rams in a game that was sealed with a scoop-and-score by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh after outside linebacker Shaq Barrett recorded his NFL-leading ninth sack of the season and stripped the ball from Jared Goff’s hands.
Barrett had recorded eight sacks in the first three games of the 2019 campaign and was on pace to record an astounding 42 sacks. With just one sack last Sunday, Barrett’s only on pace to post 36 sacks, which is still an absurd amount, and would still shatter the NFL record of 22.5, which was set by Michael Strahan in 2001.
Barrett, who was just named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month, needs eight more sacks over the final 12 games to break Warren Sapp’s single-season franchise sack record of 16.5 in 2000. But Barrett isn’t the only Buccaneer that is off to a record start to the season.
Fresh off his NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has passed for 1,157 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions, while completing 62.6 percent of his passes. Winston is on pace to throw for 4,668 yards with 36 touchdowns and 20 interceptions this year, with the yardage and the TDs breaking his own team records of 4,090 yards and 28 scores set in 2016.
Bucs receivers Chris Godwin and Pro Bowler Mike Evans are on pace to post the most receiving yards by a Tampa Bay tandem in team history. Godwin leads the team with 26 catches for 386 yards and four touchdowns and is on pace to post 104 catches for 1,544 yards with 16 touchdowns. That’s close to Keyshawn Johnson’s single-season Bucs record of 106 receptions in 2001.
If Godwin were to hit 1,544 yards not only would it smash his personal best of 842 yards, which he posted last year, but it would also break Evans’ single-season receiving yardage record of 1,524 yards, which was set last year. Evans is on pace to reach 72 receptions for 1,472 yards with 16 touchdowns. Evans has the team record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season, which is 12, so both he and Godwin would break that record if they maintained their current pace.
In 2014, which was Evans’ rookie season, he posted 1,051 yards with veteran receiver Vincent Jackson recording 1,002, which set a team record for having two Buccaneers have 1,000 yards in the same season. Godwin and Evans are on pace to do that again with many more yards than Evans and Jackson had six years ago.
The other Buccaneer on a record pace is running back Ronald Jones II, who leads the team with 234 yards rushing and a touchdown, while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Jones has already established a new career high in rushing yards after a disastrous rookie season, is on pace to rush for 936 yards and four touchdowns. If Jones can hit 1,000 yards by the end of the year he’ll join an exclusive club of 1,000-yard rushers in Tampa Bay history that includes Ricky Bell, James Wilder, Reggie Cobb, Errict Rhett, Warrick Dunn, Cadillac Williams LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin.
Bucs running back Peyton Barber rushed for a career-high 871 yards last year and five touchdowns. He’s off that pace this year in terms of yards as he’s on track to hit 728 yards, but Barber has two touchdowns right now and is on pace for eight this season.
Statistically speaking, several Bucs had a very good first quarter during the team’s 2-2 start. But one great quarter, or even a great half, doesn’t automatically mean anything, as Tampa Bay found out after blowing an 18-point lead at home to the New York Giants.
If these Buccaneers players can finish strong statistically – just as the team did last week after building a 21-0 lead against the Rams – then some records should fall in Tampa Bay.