The only numbers that really, truly matter are the ones under each team's name at the end of every game. But even then it's still fun to dissect all the different aspects of a stat sheet once the final whistle sounds.
So, which numbers from the Buccaneers' week two win over the Falcons stood out the most? Let's dive in and find out.
How can we not start out with Tom Brady's big day? And how fitting is it that this version of the number five is the fifth item on this list?
Tampa Bay quarterbacks had thrown for five passing touchdowns in a single game four times prior to Brady's arrival. The last game came in 2015, when Jameis Winston was the quarterback.
Brady has logged two games with five passing touchdowns since arriving in 2020, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. He's the only Bucs quarterback to throw for five touchdowns in multiple games. That's 45 years of history, folks.
It really seems like there is no bar Brady can't set.
The Bucs' ground game was much more efficient this week, but only in the first half of the game.
The duo of Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette combined for 71 yards on 13 first-half carries, but combined for just eight yards on four carries after halftime.
Tampa Bay's offense was out of sorts in the second half after the opening drive of the third quarter. The Bucs were given great field position to open the third quarter thanks to Shaquil Barrett's interception. But three of the next four drives didn't gain more than 9 net yards. It was a 28-25 game at that point, so the Bucs had to do what they're best at, which is throw the ball. This doesn't mean you completely abandon the running game, though.
Whatever the reason may be, the Bucs can't expect to consistently win big games with this type of ground game in the second half.
The Bucs were not good on third down after a decent showing against the Cowboys. Tampa Bay's 33% conversion rate (4-of-12) in week two dropped them from 14th to 19th on the season. The good news is that Bruce Arians quickly identified part of the problem and knows how to fix it.
"We got ourselves in the way – way too many third-and-longs, and then we dropped one," Arians told reporters on Monday. "It's just a matter of staying out of third-and-long."
Arians statement is pretty accurate. Excluding Blaine Gabbert's kneel on the final play of the game, the Bucs' third down distance averaged around 8.5 yards per. Two third downs were 3rd and 20+ scenarios that grew from an unnecessary roughness call and a holding call on first down. Both of those drives ended in sacks, to little surprise.
When the Bucs faced a 3rd and short (three yards or less), they converted 75% of the time. So, it looks like Arians was pretty spot-on in his evaluation.
Based off what we saw on Sunday, this can be fixed. But it starts with the Bucs, first and foremost.
Tampa Bay racked up the points on Sunday in impressive fashion and now lead the league in scoring with 39.5 points per game through two games. But it wasn't just the win that came with Sunday's 48 points: A new NFL record and a grip on first place in several key categories came with them, as well.
The Buccaneers set a new NFL record with nine-straight games of 30+ plus points. They currently lead the NFL with 11 total touchdowns that include a league-high two defensive touchdowns and nine offensive touchdowns. All nine offensive touchdowns are through the air, which is also tops in the NFL.
The Bucs are also tied for the most red zone touchdowns (7) and are 13th in red zone scoring percentage (70%).
You can never have enough tuddies in the NFL and the Bucs are making sure they score as many as they can.
Per PFF, Brady dropped back to pass out of play-action 14 times against the Falcons. This tied for the fifth-highest total in week two. He completed 10 of those passes (71.4%) for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The fact that his average depth of target was 15.2 yards per attempt (seventh-highest in week two) makes this all the more impressive. Only two other quarterbacks completed over 70% of their passes with a higher ADOT and those two guys were Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson.
This led to Brady finishing with the sixth-best quarterback rating when utilizing play-action in Week 2 (141.1).
But what also stood out on Sunday was how many times the Buccaneers dialed up play-action on first down. Brady dropped back 12 times to throw out of play-action on first down. He completed 8-of-11 pass attempts for 101 yards and two touchdowns. The 12th dropback resulted in a DPI, which set the Bucs up at the Falcon 1. Brady hit Evans on a fade route for the touchdown the very next play.
It's clear that play-action is a major catalyst to Brady's success and he's very, very good at executing it. The Bucs utilized play-action on 35% of Brady's dropbacks last week, which is by far the highest percentage since 2020 and the results showed how well it works when used correctly.
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