Buccaneers 29, Bears 7: Week 2 immediate reaction and observations

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Jacquizz Rodgers #32 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with teammates in the end zone after a 1-yard rush for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears on September 17, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Jacquizz Rodgers #32 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with teammates in the end zone after a 1-yard rush for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears on September 17, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers (1-0) finally got their season underway on Sunday afternoon. They did so in grand fashion, blowing out the Bears (0-2) by a score of 29-7 at Raymond James Stadium. Here, we have immediate observations and reactions from the victory.

Final. 7. 57. 29. 48

The Buccaneers did exactly what they needed to do in their season opener on Sunday afternoon. They took care of business against a lesser team, winning 29-7 to start the season 1-0.

Observations and Reactions- General

-Penalties have been an issue in Tampa Bay for years. That wasn’t the case on Sunday. The Bucs didn’t commit a penalty until there were a few seconds left in the first half. They finished the game with just four for 34 yards.

-It was a complete performance for the Bucs on Sunday, something that hasn’t been common in recent years. It was encouraging to see an easy win against an inferior opponent.

-As a whole, Tampa Bay did a great job of capitalizing on Chicago’s mistakes. The offense put points on the board after the defense forced turnovers. It also took advantage of Bears penalties that extended drives. That’s called taking what the other team gives you.

-There was some concern that the Bucs would start slow after a long layoff, but those concerns ended up being unnecessary. They put up points on their first drive and the defense kept things going from there.

-The days of the Bucs struggling at home seem a little more distant. Sunday marked the team’s fifth straight win at Raymond James Stadium, its first five-game streak in the building since 2008.

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Observations and Reactions- Offense

-For the most part, Jameis Winston was solid in his season debut. He missed on some throws, but completed 18 of his 30 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. The third-year quarterback didn’t have to do too much, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Mike Evans continued to be Winston’s favorite target. He caught seven passes for 93 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon.

-New Buc DeSean Jackson saw a decent number of targets as well, catching three of them for 39 yards. In the first quarter, he caught his 500th career pass. Winston missed him on a couple of deep balls, but once they get on the same page with those, it will be awfully dangerous.

Jacquizz Rodgers was serviceable in the absence of Doug Martin. He rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, good for an average of 3.5 yards per carry.

-Elsewhere in the backfield, Charles Sims was disappointing. He wasn’t asked to do a whole lot, but he was stuffed on a third and short and later fumbled in the red zone.

Peyton Barber, on the other hand, impressed. He carried the ball 10 times for 47 yards, getting some work in during the second half.

-The offensive line looked relatively good, allowing just two sacks in the game.

-Overall, the offense put up 311 yards. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it didn’t have to be. The group took advantage of its opportunities, leading to an easy win.

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Observations and Reactions- Defense

-The defense was the story of the afternoon. It seemed like everyone played a part in the dismantling of former Buc Mike Glennon. Wouldn’t it be something to see the turnovers continue to pile up for the defense as the season continues?

Kwon Alexander got it all started, intercepting Glennon early in the first quarter. Unfortunately, he left the game a little later with a hamstring injury. Judging by the way he walked and jumped around the sideline, though, it could have been a precaution.

Noah Spence then got in on the action, pressuring and sacking Glennon while jarring the ball loose. Lavonte David recovered, setting up another Bucs scoring drive.

Robert McClain made the biggest splash play of the day, coming up with a 47-yard pick six to put Tampa Bay up 23-0.

-The run defense was fantastic, holding the Bears to just 20 yards on the ground. Tampa Bay finished with six tackles for loss, getting them from Gerald McCoy, T.J. Ward, Lavonte David, William Gholston and rookie Kendell Beckwith (two).

-David led the team in tackles with nine (eight solo).

-Beckwith had a strong NFL debut. In addition to the two tackles for loss, he broke up a pass. The former LSU Tiger played extremely well in coverage all day. He shifted to middle linebacker once Alexander left.

Observations and Reactions- Special Teams

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Nick Folk had a nice afternoon, except for one missed extra point. He made a 42-yard field goal early, finished the half with a 50-yarder, then connected from 23 yards out. The veteran was excellent on kickoffs as well.

Bryan Anger didn’t have too much to do in the season opener, but one punt stood out. It was just a 42-yard kick, but Chicago’s Tarik Cohen mistakenly tried to return it. He got popped by Ryan Smith and lost the ball, which was then recovered by Cameron Lynch. The turnover set up Tampa Bay’s first touchdown of the day.

-Bernard Reedy got looks on both kick and punt returns, which might mean that Adam Humphries isn’t needed on the punt return team.

Final Thoughts

It was certainly refreshing to see some regular season Buccaneers football on Sunday afternoon. What was even more refreshing, though, was seeing them put away a lesser opponent with relative ease. Everything was clicking on defense, which allowed the offense to ease its way into things. There were some issues, but those problems were masked by the ability to capitalize on Chicago’s mistakes. Overall, there isn’t much to complain about. The effort was there, as was the execution. The performance by the defense was one of its best in a long time, which left very little pressure on the offense.

Winning the turnover battle will always be a plus. Stopping the run the way they did will give them a great chance in a lot of games. While Chicago is somewhat of a mess, Tampa Bay still managed to impress after an unfortunately lengthy break due to the hurricane. Sunday was a nice start to the season, one that the team will look to build on next week when it hits the road for the first time. If the Bucs continue to put up the kind of performances like the one they had against the Bears, this season really could be a special one.

Next: Ronde in the Hall?

The Buccaneers will be on the road next week in Minnesota to take on the Vikings (1-1). Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.