The Bucs went full throttle from the beginning of the game and continued it through the end to pull away from the Falcons, 48-25, to improve to 2-0. Highlight reel plays were made on both sides of the ball, as Tom Brady tied a franchise record and safety Mike Edwards had two interceptions that went for touchdowns.
Here are the most impressive players from the game.
WR Mike Evans
I think we can quiet down the concerns about Evans’ role in the offense. Evans bounced back with a brilliant second game where he caught five passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns, which were tied for the team led. He set the tone early by catching the first pass of the game and kept it going for all four corners. Evans continued to shred the Falcons with another big afternoon.
QB Tom Brady
Brady has to seriously be considered for an MVP candidate if he’s not already the front runner. He’s just so in command that only penalties, dropped passes and blocking mistakes can slow him down. Brady had four touchdowns in the game when there was still 12 minutes on the clock in the third quarter, tacking on a fifth later. Even though there’s only one ball, Brady manages to get everyone involved and yet doesn’t force it to anyone. He always throws to the open man. Brady finished the game completing 24-of-36 passes for 276 yards and five touchdowns. Those five touchdowns tied a Bucs franchise record. Brady now has nine touchdowns in two games.
TE Rob Gronkowski
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Another game, another two tuddies for the future Hall Of Famer. Gronkowski continues to look like vintage Gronk as he becomes a top threat for the Bucs’ offense in the red zone. That’s now four touchdowns on the season for him and six in his last three if you date it back to Super Bowl LV. He shows no signs of slowing down as he takes the majority of the snaps at tight end. Gronnkowski finished the game with four catches for 49 yards and two scores.
WR Chris Godwin
With so much going on in the game, Godwin once again remains a constant reliable source in the Bucs offense. He made some key third down catches from Brady and was second on the Bucs roster with four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Through two games, he’s been their most consistent receivers.
DB Mike Edwards
Edwards had the most electric moments of the game with two pick-sixes in the game that both occurred in a series of drives. They absolutely captivated the crowd in the fourth quarter. The magnitude of Edwards’ first pick-six was gigantic at the time as he helped the Bucs pull away as the Falcons tightened the score to 28-25 late in the third quarter. He jumped the route on Matt Ryan’s third down pass and took it straight to the house after securing the catch. His second was the benefit of a deflected pass by Carlton Davis. Since joining the Bucs, he’s always been known as a ball-hawk type of player and he lived up to his reputation there. Edwards’ final stat line was four tackles, three pass breakups and two-pick sixes.
LB Lavonte David
No defender was hitting harder than David was in this contest. He had an excellent pass breakup in the first half where he laid out receiver Olamide Zaccheaus to break up the play. Later on, David made a great open field tackle to stop a Falcons ball carrier from reaching a first down. David had one of his typical games where he was involved on many plays. He finished with eight tackles.
NT Vita Vea
Vea makes his presence felt game after game right up the middle. He’s been a force on the Bucs defensive line, destroying the pocket and pushing the line of scrimmage back. Vea prevented the Falcons from converting on a quarterback draw on fourth down as he stuffed up the middle. Later on, Vea tipped Ryan’s pass at the line of scrimmage, leading to an interception for Shaq Barrett Bucs that set them up at the 18.
OLB Shaq Barrett
Barrett got the Bucs rolling in the second half with an interception early in the third quarter. It got the Bucs off and running once again. He was solid outside of that, providing good pressure to make Ryan scramble for most of the game. Barrett had one tackle and one interception this afternoon.
Bucs’ Short Yardage Defense
While Vea deserves a lot of credit, the entire interior defensive line deserves a shoutout. They’re known as a top run stopping defense, but on third and fourth and short, the Bucs were dynamite. Will Gholston and Vea both made tackles for loss when the Falcons were trying to convert first downs, and the biggest stop of the game came from Rakeem Nunez-Roches in the second half. He stopped Mike Davis short of the first down way back in Atlanta’s own territory. It had a trickle down effect where the Falcons then shanked their punt and not long after, Brady found Godwin in the end zone to retake a double-digit lead.