The magical mystery tour is coming to take you away…yes, it’s true. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-0 and we now all believe in the Fitzmagic. It’s one thing to do it against the New Orleans Saints average defense, but you do it against the Eagles? Wow.
Pieces of Eight
1) Jameis Winston is the future of this franchise. As much as we love Ryan Fitzpatrick, he’s 35 years old. This is his last hurrah. Winston is what this team will be about now and in the future. With all of that said, the Bucs face an extremely difficult decision in a couple weeks. Not necessarily for Week 4 in Chicago, I think that decision has already been made. Fitz is going to play in that game.
But Week 6 at Atlanta, logically, would be when Winston is reinserted into the lineup. However, if Fitzpatrick continues to tear apart the NFL, and the Bucs are say, 4-0, how do you pull that man off the field?
To do that would not only be disrespectful to Fitz, potentially break up a good thing in a year you HAVE to win, but also be tough for Jameis, who will have a ton of pressure on him to perform up to the level Fitz has displayed. Also though, remember back to Pre-season where Jameis was playing as well, if not better than Fitzpatrick. People have forgotten that. Jameis hasn’t had a chance to play in this offense, called by Todd Monken, in a regular season contest.
Jameis will be the quarterback for the Bucs again, make no mistake. He just might need to wait a little while before he does. Just remember folks, Fitz does this. He has these good spurts of great play in his career. He has never sustained it, which is why he has been on 7 different teams. Now, it’s not out of question that Fitz has found his offense and his moment. Many older quarterbacks can have a spark at the end of their careers.
Right now, Tampa Bay has to ride Fitzpatrick until he reverts back to FitzTragic, and if he doesn’t, Jameis will need to wait.
2) If you listened to WhatTheBuc’s podcast, you shouldn’t be surprised the Bucs started out 2-0. Derek has been saying it, I’ve been saying it, too many people had just written off this team to an o-3 start (I’m looking at a couple of negative Joes). Oh the formidable schedule. They’re without Winston. Woe is us. The fact the Bucs beat the Saints in the season finale didn’t matter. That the Eagles could have a Super Bowl hangover and would be without Carson Wentz wasn’t a concern. Now here are the Steelers. Did you see youngster Patrick Mahomes carve up the Steelers secondary for SIX touchdowns? Pittsburgh has looked terrible and it doesn’t have anything to do with Le’veon Bell’s holdout. The Bucs stand a good chance of being favored to start the season 3-0.
Even I, who often go toward the optimistic side of the ledger until proven wrong, couldn’t have fathomed that before the season starts.
3) Yes, the defense surrendered another 400 yds and 21 points. Yes, Nick Foles threw for 300 yds and a couple scores. Yes, the Bucs defense let the Eagles climb back into the game. But folks, the defense played a heck of a game when they desperately needed to. Tampa Bay isn’t going to score 40 points every week. They just aren’t. You’re going to have things go wrong like O.J. Howard bobbling a pass and it getting picked off or Mike Evans trying to fight for extra yardage and getting the ball stripped. The defense played their hearts out on Sunday and against an elite offensive line, the defensive line showed up with 3 sacks and 12 QB hits on Nick Foles, who ran for his life most of the game. They got big turnovers, huge tackles for losses and big time passes defensed. Remember, the Bucs were playing with two rookie corners and a much maligned second year player in their secondary – and that was before everyone’s punching bag Chris Conte had to leave the game and rookie Jordan Whitehead was inserted. Heck, Marcus Williams, whose been with the team three days, played 8 snaps on defense! Add to that, they were out there for 35:39 on one of the hottest days of the year. The Bucs quick strike offense was great in putting up points, but really put the defense in a bind and they started to wear down in that fourth quarter, which is where Foles started putting up yards and numbers.
4) I got to say, what an unbelievable job the offensive line did against the best front four in the NFL. The Eagles got 2 sacks and 8 QB hits on Fitz. Normally, that’s an average day for an O-line – against that defense? Awesome. The pocket around Fitz stood strong and he had time to deliver his throws. Fitz certainly helped by getting the ball out of his hands quickly, but Tampa Bay’s o-line deserves a ton of credit. Ask Matt Ryan what the Eagles can do to you.
5) What’s even more amazing about this performance is the Bucs got no help from their running game in this one. A lot of that is the Philadelphia defense, they’re the best in the league against the run, but there were holes that the backs just couldn’t get to because the Eagles were so darn fast in getting there. Averaging 1.9 yards a carry isn’t going to get it done and the Bucs have to be better at running the ball. If they can develop that element, no one will be able to stop this offense.
6) Look around the league and you see kickers missing bad kicks. If not for their kicker, the Cleveland Browns would be the talk of the NFL at 2-0. The Viking would have beaten Green Bay and not settle for an unsatisfying tie. Chandler Catanzaro’s missed extra point nearly came back to bite the Bucs in the backside, but it didn’t. While not ideal, Catanzaro hasn’t been Aguayo bad and other than Dan Bailey, the kicker scrap heap isn’t any better than what the Bucs have right now. Catanzaro has always been a bit streaky but 80% of the time, he’ll be solid. I’d fully expect that again.
7) One reason the Bucs have a hard decision with Winston, Desean Jackson. Fitz and D-Jax have a chemistry and it’s something that Jameis missed with Jackson last season. Now, as we said at the top, Jameis looked much better with Desean in Training Camp and Pre-season. We haven’t had a chance to Jameis playing in the Monken-led offense in the Regular Season. D-Jax is finally worth every penny of his contract and if this continues, all those expecting the Bucs to cut ties with the veteran playmaker at the end of the season are going to be wrong.
8) Up 27-7 against the Super Bowl Champions, you really had to sit there and marvel at the job Dirk Koetter and his staff has done with this team. I mean, holy cow, folks. I expected the score to be where it ended up, but I thought it would be a close game throughout, I never expected the Bucs to break out to a huge lead and get the Eagles in panic comeback mode. I don’t know where this team is going, but I like the path. Enjoy the Magic Mystery Tour, folks!
DLT’s Emotional Game Tweet of the Week
— 👽JC De La Torre ☠️ (@jcdelatorre) September 16, 2018