The Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed a dominant game to calm concerns about a 3-1 start that could have been 1-3 if a pair of kicks had different results. Enter the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, and Bucs Believers are now breathing much easier. Tampa Bay looked like the team everyone expected them to be in 2021 with a convincing 45-17 takedown of Miami.
Quarterback Tom Brady did something he had never done before in his 22nd year as a professional. He threw for over 400 yards, 411 to be exact, and five touchdowns with no interceptions. This happened against the team that has defeated him more times than any team in the NFL during his career.
Brady spread the wealth like a great point guard all day long, finding nine different pass catchers. That includes a pair of touchdowns and over 100 yards each for receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Evans. Running back Giovanni Bernard also found the end zone out of the backfield on a 10-yard catch.
The running game was effective for the second game in a row, combining for over 120 yards. Leonard Fournette, who led the team with 67 yards rushing and a touchdown, seems to be the clear starter going forward. If the Bucs continue to get this kind of total production on the ground, stopping them is going to be an almost impossible task.
The Bucs defense had a good game overall, and it was no surprise that the Dolphins couldn’t run against the league’s best at stopping opposing runners. A paltry 39 yards on the game was all they could muster. Tom Brady, to put that number into context, rushed for a third of that by himself for the Bucs.
The Dolphins did find holes in the pieced together pass defense of the Bucs, thanks to two pass reception touchdowns from running back Myles Gaskin. Overall, though, the pieced together secondary held up well, keeping Dolphins receivers in front of them and not giving up big plays. Cornerback Jamel Dean’s early 4th quarter interception of Jacoby Brissett all but sealed the Bucs win.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett passed for 275 yards, but that’s a statistic that looks better on paper than it did in the game. Defensive end Shaquil Barrett and the rest of the Bucs front seven harassed Brissett all day, and the team combined for 3 sacks.
Overall, the Dolphins had no real answers on Sunday for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that used the game as a great way to get back to their dominant, winning ways. They can’t just be satisfied after one really good performance. The Bucs must remember how well this formula works and use it to be dominant against any of their opponents for the rest of the season.