The Bucs remain undefeated at home this year with a perfect 3-0 record, as they beat the Dolphins, 45-17. Tampa Bay improved to 4-1 while Miami fell to 1-4 thanks to Tom Brady’s five touchdown passes. After throwing just one touchdown over the last two weeks, Brady erupted for a handful of scores on Sunday, including a pair of TDs each to wide receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Evans.
Here is a look at the most impressive Buccaneers on Sunday:
QB Tom Brady
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Brady ignited the Bucs’ 24-10 halftime lead with three first half touchdown passes, including two to Antonio Brown. He was much more accurate in the red zone with two TD passes – a 10-yard strike to running back Giovani Bernard and a 4-yard pass to Brown. Brady even showed some great mobility on a 13-yard scramble for a first down right before halftime. He added two more touchdowns in the second half to Mike Evans and finished the game, completing 30-of-41 passes for 411 yards with five touchdowns and a 144.4 QB rating. Brady seems to be a lock for NFC Offensive Player of the Week after today’s performance.
WR Antonio Brown
Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Brown had offseason knee surgery and that has allowed him to play like the Brown of old, making big plays down the field. His 62-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second half was a sight to see as he mashed the gas and blew by two Dolphins defenders. Brown’s 62-yarder was his longest catch since 2018. He added another touchdown in the red zone on a 4-yard reception. Brown finished the day with seven catches for 124 yards (17.7 avg.) and two scores. He also became the fastest player to reach 900 career catches today.
WR Mike Evans
After catching three passes for 52 yards in the first half, Evans erupted for two touchdowns in the second half. Evans schooled one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Xavien Howard on Sunday and finished the game with six catches for 113 yards and a pair of scores. He had touchdown catches of 34 yards and 22 yards in the fourth quarter to wrap up the Bucs’ 45-17 win. Evans has four touchdowns this season, which is tied for the team lead with tight end Rob Gronkowski.
RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette has had two sensational back-to-back games running and catching the ball. He had 39 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving at halftime. Fournette ran hard throughout the game, breaking tackles and playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. He looked like “Playoff Lenny” for the second straight week, finishing the game with 67 yards rushing and his first touchdown of the year on 12 carries (5.6 avg.). Fournette also had four catches for 43 yards (10.8 avg.).
OLB Shaquil Barrett
Barrett got his second sack in as many weeks in the first half, forcing a fumble in the process. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh recovered the ball for Tampa Bay. Although he missed a couple of sacks, Barrett split a sack with nose tackle Vita Vea in the fourth quarter and finished with three tackles and 1.5 sacks. His 3.5 sacks leads the team.
Tampa Bay’s Offensive Line
The Bucs offensive line was sensational in Sunday’s 45-17 win, helping the team amass 558 total yards. Brady and Blaine Gabbert combined to pass for 452 yards. Although Brady was sacked twice, those were the fault of running back Giovani Bernard and tight end O.J. Howard – not the offensive line. The Bucs also ran for over 100 yards for the second straight week, finishing with a season-high 121 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
RB Giovani Bernard
Bucs RB Giovani Bernard – Photo by: USA Today
Bernard returned to the lineup after missing the Patriots game with an injured knee. He made his impact felt right away with a red zone touchdown on a 10-yard catch to get the Bucs on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Bernard did give up a sack in pass protection to a blitzing Jerome Baker, which drew head coach Bruce Arians’ ire, but his second receiving touchdown made up for that gaffe. In the fourth quarter, Bernard came in to salt the game away and carried the ball four times for 21 yards (5.3 avg.), including a 17-yarder.
CB Jamel Dean
After missing last Sunday’s game at New England, Dean returned to action from his knee injury against Miami and played well. He gave up a couple of catches, but finished the game with five tackles and two passes defensed, including a touchdown. Dean caught a pass that deflected off the hands of wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for his first interception in nearly a year. The last time Dean intercepted a pass was on October 18, 2020 when he had a pick-six against Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
ILB Devin White
White had seven tackles in the first half, helping limit the Dolphins to just 10 rushing yards at halftime. He has played reckless and out of control at times during the first four games of the season, but did a great job of squaring up and not missing tackles in space against Miami. He finished the game with eight tackles.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
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