Buccaneers: Unsung heroes during Week 1 win versus Cowboys

Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers finally won the special teams battle.

It feels nice starting the season off with a huge win in primetime. The Buccaneers aren’t known for starting off their seasons too hot; however, last night showed the champs don’t have a hangover after winning the Super Bowl.

There were moments of excellence on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, but there were also moments of disaster that made us question all of the progress we saw over the course of the past year.

While there were many ups and downs on offense and defense, the special teams unit finally stepped up for the Buccaneers.

It feels like it has been years since Tampa was able to be consistent in this aspect of the game. Returns have lacked burst and any level of success, defense against returns has been porous, and we don’t have to get into the woes kicking the ball.

Fortunately, last night the special teams unit was one of the best performers for the Bucs, and it showed through several players that rarely get enough love.

Bradley Pinion is probably the only Buccaneer from last night who deserves a perfect grade. The punts were exceptional, and even Pat McAfee took notice on Twitter after Pinion already made what should be one of the best punts of the season.

Jaydon Mickens is another name that has been around for Tampa for a while but has really started to pop in recent seasons. The Super Bowl and part of the playoffs showed Mickens has some gas in the tank to bring the heat on returns, and last night was one of the best return nights for the Bucs in years with Mickens shouldering the load.

There isn’t a better-suited player on the roster to end the Buccaneer drought for return touchdowns.

Finally, Ryan Succop stepped up, but what’s new? Succop had a shaky training camp, but all of that is forgotten after yet another solid performance in the first game of the season. The Bucs have found a great one, and Succop’s impact as a consistent option is extremely underrated on such a competitive team.

The offense and defense were great for the Buccaneers last season, and it is nice to see the special teams unit finally follow suit.

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