Tom Brady wasn’t even the offensive MVP for the Buccaneers in his own reunion game.
In a game that sold itself as a great matchup between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, both performed forgettably in their biggest game after their split. From missed throws to inexplicable play calls by one of the greatest coaches of all time, this game was a mess from start to finish.
The Buccaneers and the Patriots played sloppy games on both sides of the ball. The Buccaneer defense was without most of their starters in the secondary by the end of the game. The rain also slowed everyone down, and Tom Brady missed an uncharacteristically large number of passes in key moments.
Granted, there were also some beautiful passes from Brady that resulted in dropped balls, but the Buccaneer offense was not itself with so little success through the air.
Fortunately for Tampa, another offensive player stepped up to keep the ball moving in the right direction when it mattered most. For a team that couldn’t need the run less than it already does, Leonard Fournette put the team on his shoulders when everything else wouldn’t work.
While Tampa shouldn’t want to be in consistent situations where they rely on Fournette like they did last night, his performance should be plenty to secure the starting job and majority of the reps for the rest of the season.
Fournette finished the game with 138 yards on 23 touches for a clean six yards per touch. The Buccaneers were also only nine yards away from their first 100-yard rusher of the season, but the success in the passing game with 15.7 yards per reception for Fournette is enough to overlook this small milestone.
On a night where almost everything went wrong, Fournette was one of the few pieces that went right. If Byron Leftwich decides to change the scheme and move towards a more effective run strategy, Fournette could easily be in a position to put together more performances like this down the stretch.
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