The magic may be over in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers were unable to complete the comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers and fall to 2-1 on the season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost completed an amazing come from behind win on national television but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-27.
The magic may have finally run out for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
After two weeks of perfect quarterback play, Fitzpatrick regressed to the mean. He did make history, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in each of his first three games, but costly mistakes put a damper on his performance.
After the Bucs defense made a clutch stop, Fitzpatrick had the ball, down by three points with over three minutes left.
There wasn’t going to be another Houdini act from Fitzpatrick though, who threw a pair of passes into the arms of Steelers defenders, which they dropped. Even with luck on his side, Tampa Bay would have an underwhelming three-and-out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the game on the line, Fitzpatrick couldn’t come through. A perfect wrap on an up-and-down game from the Harvard product.
In the first half, Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions taking plenty of points off the board. Buccaneers fans have now witnessed the complete Fitzpatrick experience and it only took three weeks.
Fitzpatrick ended his night with three touchdowns, three interceptions and 411 yards on 50 (!) pass attempts.
Tampa Bay’s offense slowed itself down against Pittsburgh. Bad drops and a fumble by Chris Godwin, Fitzpatrick’s turnovers and a bone-headed holding call on Isaiah Johnson took away a DeSean Jackson punt return for a touchdown.
With a conservative projection, the Buccaneers self-inflicted wounds cost the team 14 points.
On the bright side, the offense was able to climb back into the game. That shouldn’t be overlooked. The Bucs outscored the Steelers 17-0 in the second half and one more score would have at worst sent the game into overtime.
After playing an ugly half of football, Tampa Bay had a chance to win the game. In year’s past, the Bucs would have folded and gotten blown out by 20-plus points.
Mike Evans had a tremendous night. He hauled in six passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs talent at tight end was on display as O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate combined for nine catches and 106 yards.
It was a roller coaster of a night for Chris Godwin as well. In the first half alone, Godwin dropped two passes and fumbled a potential first-down catch. In the second half, Godwin made a handful of eye-popping plays and added a touchdown catch. His numbers may look impressive, but he left more yards and touchdowns on the table.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ben Roethlisberger tore apart Tampa Bay.
The defensive line managed a solid nine quarterback hits and three sacks, but the secondary was torched. Brent Grimes was dominated by Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith Schuster came down with nine passes for 116 yards.
Roethlisberger was on the money all game. After an early interception, the future Hall of Famer bore down, tossing three touchdowns for 353 yards with a 78.9 completion percentage.
Jason Pierre-Paul was Tampa Bay’s lone highlight on defense. He ended his night with two sacks and two tackles for loss. In both the pass rushing and run stuffing departments, ‘JPP’ proved his value.
All things considered, the Buccaneers have opened the season with a 2-1 record. No one predicted that kind of a start. With Jameis Winston set to return to the facility this week, brighter days are ahead in Tampa Bay.