The Buccaneers entered their regular season dress rehearsal against the Lions hoping their offensive outburst would continue. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston made sure it happened.
After a tough outing in last week’s preseason win over the Tennessee Titans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed to see Ryan Fitzpatrick get back on track.
Although the Bucs fell to the Detroit Lions 33-30 in their third preseason matchup, their wish was granted.
Fitzpatrick went right to work as he commandeered a methodical eight-play touchdown drive. Even with a banged up offensive line, Fitzpatrick handled the rush and completed 6-of-7 passes for 82 yards on the night.
Peyton Barber led the charge on the ground, with 34 yards and a touchdown, his second score of the preseason.
While he only played for two drives, the Buccaneers offense looked like a well-oiled machine under Fitzpatrick. It was a perfect way to gain confidence heading into the regular season.
What followed Fitzpatrick might have been even better. Jameis Winston has looked remarkable in the preseason, and his performance against Detroit was no different. He connected with wideout Chris Godwin on a 10-yard touchdown pass, and it left the stadium in awe.
The scoring wasn’t over just yet as Adam Humphries returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown. It was one of the craziest preseason players in recent memory, and it gave the Bucs a 20-6 lead at halftime.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Griffin completed 73 percent of his passes for 100 yards on the night.
Defensively, the Buccaneers first-team defense held their ground in the red zone. Matthew Stafford and the talented Lions receiving corps were able to move the ball down the field but had to settle for a pair of field goals.
Stafford shredded the Buccaneers secondary early, and it brought back some awful memories of 2017. An ugly miscommunication left Kenny Golladay wide open for a 36-yard reception. Tampa Bay may have to live with those mistakes with multiple rookies playing essential roles in the back end of the defense.
Allowing the Lions into the red zone early wasn’t ideal, but holding a dangerous offense to only six points in the first half is a big win. Detroit’s head coach Matt Patricia seemed to agree as he kept starters on the field to open the second half.
The second and third team defense was picked apart by veteran quarterback Matt Cassell. Despite holding a 21-point lead in the second half, the Bucs lead was cut down to seven in the fourth quarter.
Undrafted quarterback Austin Allen was hit on nearly every drop back and was unable to keep the Lions offense on the field at the end of the game. Lions quarterback Jake Rudock led a game-winning drive to end Tamp Bay’s undefeated preseason.