The revenge game is over, and more importantly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to rebound from a bad loss in Week 3 to defeat the New England Patriots by a score of 19-17 on Sunday Night Football.
It was far from a perfect victory, but it was a reset that the Bucs sorely needed after a lopsided loss to Los Angeles a week ago. And of course, Tom Brady facing off against his former coach Bill Belichick provided a ton of hoopla and storylines.
You can find AllBucs' takeaways and observations from the win below.
The run game worked, finally.
Tom Brady made history on Sunday night, surpassing Drew Brees for the most career passing yards in NFL history. But don't let that fool you: Tampa Bay didn't move the ball that well against New England, but their catalyst offensively was the running game.
Including last year's postseason, Leonard Fournette posted his third-highest single-game rushing yards with 91 across 20 carries, easily his best and most efficient game of the season. He posted four rushes of 10+ yards, one going over 20, and a reception for 13 yards as well. Pro Football Focus credits Fournette with four missed tackles forced as a rusher and another miss forced as a receiver.
Ronald Jones II also flashed in a limited capacity as well, rushing like he did during his career-best 2020 season. Averaging 4.2 yards per attempt, Jones was efficient as well and scored Tampa Bay's lone touchdown of the night in the third quarter.
After rushing for 169 yards and 2.7 yards per carry across the first three games of the season, the Bucs finished with 119 yards on the ground and almost four yards per attempt on the night - the team would have been over four, if not for four rushes for three yards by Brady.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka had a breakout game.
In his second start filling in for the injured Jason Pierre-Paul, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka proved he belonged. As a result, he's now tied for the Buccaneers' team lead in sacks.
The Buccaneers more than doubled their season total in sacks against the Pats after posting three in the first three weeks of the season. Quarterback Mac Jones handled pass-rush pressure well (more on that later), but the sacks came in big moments and stalled drives for New England.
Tryon-Shoyinka played a big part in that, setting a disruptive tone early in the game. His first sack came on a first-quarter second down, with Vita Vea creating a gap for Tryon-Shoyinka to rush through. On the next play, Tryon-Shoyinka wrapped around the outside to create pressure that led to an incompletion on 3rd and 9, ultimately forcing to Patriots to punt on their first drive.
On the first play of the very next drive, Tryon-Shoyinka bull-rushed his way past the left tackle to set up a run-stopping tackle for loss by linebacker Lavonte David - a big-time play that contributed Tampa Bay's franchise record negative-one rushing yards allowed in the game.
Tryon-Shoyinka posted another sack in the third quarter, this time for a loss of nine yards on 3rd and 12 and backing the Pats up to their own 12-yard line. The Bucs' offense took advantage of the big play and the punt to follow by scoring their first touchdown of the night and taking the lead.
This is the exact progress Tampa Bay wants to see from its first-round pick this year. Whether he's in a limited role or filling in for injured starters, Tryon-Shoyinka continues to prove his worth.
Carlton Davis has been added to a long list of cornerback injuries.
"It’ll be a while, it looks like," head coach Bruce Arians said of cornerback Carlton Davis III's quad injury, indicating that the fourth-year pro could miss some time as he recovers.
Which is the absolute worst news that the Bucs could have gotten on Sunday, although an MRI this week will be far more telling.
Tampa Bay signed Richard Sherman early last week, and despite missing the entire offseason program, preseason, and three weeks of the regular season, Sherman played all but one snap in his debut - as a starter, we should note. It wasn't an ideal situation but it was the hand the Bucs were dealt with cornerbacks Jamel Dean out for the game and Sean Murphy-Bunting on injured reserve.
Sherman didn't play horribly but had a lot of rust to shake off, which led to a handful of short-to-intermediate completions going his way.
All eyes are on Dean now, assuming Davis will miss some time, as Dean was able to practice for two days in a limited fashion last week but ultimately was not ready to play on his hurt knee. If neither can go against Miami in Week 5, odds are the Buccaneers will be without all three of their Week 1 starting cornerbacks just five games into the season.
The Patriots just might be alright with Mac Jones at QB.
There's a lot of room for growth for New England's rookie franchise quarterback, but Mac Jones played admirably on Sunday night with the pressure of facing a 20-year, six-time Super Bowl-winning predecessor on his back.
At one point into the fourth quarter, Jones had completed an incredible 19 passes in a row. He finished the night having gone 31-of-40 passing for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Jones made all of the right pre-snap checks to create favorable matchups and didn't get flustered under pressure - he took four sacks but was pressured 20 times and completed 10-of-13 passing attempts while under pressure, per Pro Football Focus. He slid out of approaching pressure numerous times and made quick, accurate throws to follow.
Jones doesn't have the arm strength to make the throws that Brady did often in his New England career, but he managed the game extremely well and made the most of his opportunities with a less-than-stellar supporting cast. The future seems bright for New England and Brady's heir.
Why did New England attempt that field goal?
Considering how Jones was playing, it was surprising to see the Patriots opt for a field goal on 4th and 3 from the 37-yard line. New England had a final timeout in its back pocket and 59 seconds on the clock to, at least, convert and attempt an easier field goal.
Instead, Nick Folk - who has, in fairness, played very well for the Pats over the past two seasons and some change - lined up for a 56-yard attempt and it doinked off of the left goal post.
It felt like everything had come full circle, though. Remember, Folk was the Buccaneers' kicker before joining the Pats, and in 2017, Folk missed all three of his field goal attempts against the Patriots in a game that was decided by five points. It was only fitting that his miss on Sunday night benefitted the Bucs, unlike four seasons ago.
Brady has now beaten every NFL team.
There isn't much else to say or do other than tip your hat. Brady joined Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as one of four quarterbacks to have beaten every team in the NFL on Sunday night. The final one being his former squad is a cherry on top.
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