All the way back in September, the Buccaneers were on top of the world. They just upset the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles in back-to-back weeks.
At the time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 2 win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles felt a like a statement.
The victory propelled the Bucs to a 2-0 record, and they were beginning to make headlines with the unlikeliest of heroes leading the way.
Journeyman quarterback and magician Ryan Fitzpatrick dominated the Eagles. He threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns on his way to another upset win. Fitzpatrick was the story of the week. No Buccaneers player may ever match his choice of postgame attire.
‘FitzMagic’ and his charm made most of the headlines, but the Buccaneers looked like a strong team. The offense was firing on all cylinders. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard terrorized secondaries.
Even Tampa Bay’s defense showed signs of improvement against Philadelphia. Kwon Alexander, Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy sacked Nick Foles. A young secondary was attacked late in the contest, but their stellar play in the first half kept the Eagles at bay.
Plus, the Bucs were able to beat Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who all of a sudden seems impossible to slow down.
After months of negativity and projections that saw Tampa Bay at the bottom of the NFC South, it was nice to get the early victories. It provided hope for a season that started on the wrong foot before the offseason began.
What appeared to be a lame duck coach in Dirk Koetter and a problematic situation at best at quarterback, Tampa Bay looked destined for another disappointing season. With a win over the Eagles, all of that felt like it was in the distant past.
In the end, all of the Buccaneers’ demons came back to haunt them. Thankfully, the fan base had a few memories from the Fitzpatrick days to think back on.
The contest started out with a bang for Tampa Bay. On the first play from scrimmage, Fitzpatrick hit Jackson in stride for a 75-yard touchdown catch. The veteran speedster was dominant to open the season, proving to his former team that he still had plenty left in the tank.
The scoring continued for the Bucs as Fitzpatrick connected on yet another 75-yard touchdown. This time to second-year tight end, O.J. Howard. Bucs fans were in awe of Howard’s speed as he blazed past defensive backs to paydirt.
Tampa Bay scored again before halftime and held a commanding 20-7 lead heading into the locker room. In all three phases, the Bucs were in control.
The feisty Eagles didn’t go away in the second half even after the Buccaneers extended their lead to 20 points. Foles and company stormed back to make it a one-score game.
On second-and-13 from their own 12, the Buccaneers managed to convert a crucial first down thanks to an incredible catch from Jackson. With the two-minute warning looming, Tampa Bay would be in prime position to win the game.