The 3rd preseason game is always considered the “dress rehearsal” game because this is the game the starters normally play in. The Buccaneers fell to the Lions 33-30 to put their record at 2-1 this preseason. There were a lot of encouraging things in this game and some things that were concerning. All 3 quarterbacks played well and the offenses flowed well again. Todd Monken did another nice job with the play calling duties. On defense the Bucs finally showed that they were able to apply some pressure. Pretty exciting for Bucs fans.
The Bucs won the toss and elected to receive. Ryan Fitzpatrick trotted on the field and went to work, but it was a Peyton Barber drive. The Bucs first drive was beautiful, they were able to control the tempo by running the ball and using the passing attack to their advantage. The drive capped off with a 14 yard touchdown run by Peyton Barber. The Lions then got the ball and were able to drive down in the red zone, where the Buccaneers were able to hold the Lions to a 24 yard field goal by Matt Prater which was good. The Bucs got the ball back and were forced to punt after a questionable offensive pass interference call on O.J. Howard and a sack by the Lions defense. Score was 7-3 in favor of the Bucs after 1.
The Lions got to work and drove down to the red zone again and again, were held to a field goal by the Buccaneers defense. After a Matt Prater 26 yard field goal went through the uprights, the Bucs were up by 1. The next Bucs possession featured Jameis Winston and Winston had another strong showing. The Bucs marched down the field and capped the drive off with a Chris Godwin 10 yard touchdown. Chandler Catanzaro would miss the extra point but the snap and hold were both very sloppy so he gets a pass from me on that one. The next Lions drive the Bucs were able to force a 3 and out but the Buccaneers could not do anything with ball and would have to punt again. Then came the fun part…. no, the Lions driving down the field was not the fun part. The fun part was what happened when the Lions tried to add points at the end of the half. Matt Prater would miss the 62 yard field goal attempt well short and everyone thought that would end the half. Adam Humphries had other ideas. Humphries caught the ball at the very back of the end zone and with some nice moves, returned all the way, 109 yards for a a touchdown. What a way to end the half huh? Bucs up 20-6.
For as fun and action packed as the 2nd quarter was, the 3rd quarter did not have much going for it. The Lions started with the ball and punted, then the Bucs got the ball and scored a touchdown. Ryan Griffin threw a dime in the endzone and Freddie Martino made a great catch to cap off a great drive. The Lions responded with a touchdown drive of their own. The Lions really had their way with the Bucs defense in the 2nd half and one of the reasons was that Lions head coach Matt Patricia kept some of his starters in the game, which was questionable. Bucs would punt on their next drive and the Lions would begin to drive. Bucs up 27-13.
The Lions started the 4th quarter with the ball and were able to punch it in for a touchdown that would cut the Bucs lead to 7. The Bucs got the ball and were able to get some points out of it as Chandler Catanzaro made a 42 yard field goal, Tampa Bay has found their kicker. After the Lions punted, the Bucs got the ball back and punted as well. That is when things started to go south as Brandon Powell took a punt 80 yards for a touchdown. Th Lions would fail to get the 2 point conversion so the score was 30-26 in favor of the Bucs. Tampa Bay must get better at special teams coverage. The Bucs then got the ball back and Austin Allen came into the game, the Bucs were unable to get anything going and had to punt. The Lions got the ball back and Tampa Bay started playing pretty conservative and I am not sure why. The only time they blitzed was when the Lions got in the red zone but by that time it was too late. The Lions took advantage of the soft coverage and were able to score a touchdown to give themselves their first lead of the night. With about 30 seconds left, the Buccaneers got the ball and Allen struggled to get anything going, he eventually got picked off and that ended the game. Bucs lose 33-30
The Buccaneers 1st and 2nd teams looked very good on both sides of the ball and that should get most Bucs fans excited. Gerald McCoy was an absolute beast on Friday night, providing consistent pressure and even got a sack. I cannot say enough how impressed I am with this Tampa Bay offense. All 3 quarterbacks looked good, running back Peyton Barber looked great, Ronald Jones even had a nice catch on a wheel route from Fitzpatrick. Overall this was a pretty exciting and fun game. Who knew that football in Tampa could be fun? Have the Bucs finally figured things out? Time will tell but it is preseason so let’s not crown them champs just yet! But maybe we should consider building a statue of Adam Humphries, after all he is responsible for tying the longest scoring play in NFL history, too bad it won’t count.