The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense was firing on all cylinders and Carlton Davis made his mark against the Miami Dolphins.
All things considered, Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans should be happy about the team’s preseason opener.
Highly touted rookies performed well and the offense was on point throughout the contest. The defense allowed Miami to move the ball down the field but held strong in the red zone against the starters.
Tampa’s defense gave up the lead late in the fourth quarter after Bryce Petty hit Isaiah Ford on a touchdown pass and two-point conversion.
Ryan Griffin: The ultimate third-string quarterback
Down by one with under two minutes to play. Griffin led a game-winning drive by connecting on four straight passes to set up Catanzaro for the chip shot field goal.
The Buccaneers defense collapses
Ahead by seven with just over three minutes in regulation, the Buccaneers defense fell flat on its face. Petty led the Dolphins down the field and converted on a fourth down play for a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Was it another quintessential Mike Smith defense collapse? Regardless, thank Griffin and the offense for the terrific final drive.
Buccaneers first team offense shines
Led by Fitzpatrick, the Bucs starting offense moved the ball with ease. Fitzpatrick cruised on Tampa’s first drive and Peyton Barber punched it in for six. On the day, “Fitz” completed 6-of-8 passes and threw for 55 yards. The interior offensive line dominated as well, allowing Peyton Barber to find the end zone to put the Bucs up early.
Carlton Davis puts together a strong debut
With Brent Grimes on the sidelines and Vernon Hargreaves suffering a groin injury during the first quarter, Davis received an extended look. He made the most of this opportunity with two pass breakups and five tackles. He still has work to do to land the starting cornerback job but the injuries could open the door for the Auburn product.
Three rookies bounce back
On his first opportunity to make a play, Jones dropped a dump off pass from Fitzpatrick which hit him right in the chest. He’s been criticized for his inability to catch passes and it was a tough break for the rookie.
He managed to brush off the mistake and find paydirt for the first time in his NFL career.
More from The Pewter Plank
- Devin White posts cryptic message to Lavonte David on Twitter
- ESPN predicts surprising outcome to Devin White trade saga
- Updated Buccaneers depth chart after signing two players from rookie minicamp
- Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Bucs
- The Athletic is wrong about Bucs one ‘must-watch’ game in 2023
It wasn’t a flashy performance by any means as he just had nine yards on eight carries. However, he showed elusiveness and burst which can contrast Barber’s style well.
Justin Watson was another bounce-back performer. After coughing up the ball and giving Miami great field position, he caught a big third-down pass on the following drive.
Whitehead looked silly in the second quarter when Kalen Ballage juked him out of his shoes. Later in the contest, he broke up a potential game-tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
A makeshift offensive line gets the job done
Without four tackles the offensive line somehow managed to survive. Although Jameis Winston was under pressure late in the first half, the quarterbacks were kept clean for most of the game.
It was shocking to see Tampa Bay have so much success through the air despite being paper thin in the trenches. It certainly had an impact in the running game but the injuries didn’t phase any of the quarterbacks.
Stellar quarterback play
It didn’t matter who was under center for the Buccaneers as every quarterback played well. Each quarterback led at least one touchdown drive, a good sign for a team who will be heading into the season without their starter.
They combined for 326 yards and completed 79 percent of their passes (37-of-47).
Running backs kept quiet
Although Barber and Jones rushed for a pair of TDs, the Tampa Bay running backs only managed 73 yards 28 carries. Charles Sims had a really good shot to solidify his status as the third running back with both Shaun Wilson out and Jacquizz Rodgers not getting a carry. Sadly, he managed just just six yards.
The position battle at running back is a heated one and to see nobody take advantage was disappointing. Here’s a fun note – wide receiver Bobo Wilson had the longest run of the night (12 yards).
What did you take away from Buccaneers-Dolphins? Let’s discuss @ThePewterPlank