After an offseason of getting buried, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off the season with an upset win over the Minnesota Vikings that almost nobody saw coming.
Outside of a very small handful of pundits, every major outlet and pregame show was on the Vikings to roll over Tampa Bay in Week 1. Instead, Baker Mayfield led a gutsy second half performance that secured a huge win for a team looking to prove all of the doubters wrong.
It wasn't a perfect game, something Mayfield noted after the win, but it was the sort of win the Bucs seemed to find a way to fumble away last season. This time around, Todd Bowles made calls like going for it on fourth down around midfield and Dave Canales' gameplan helped lock things down in the clutch. Defensively Tampa Bay looked outstanding and there appears to be pieces in place that, if developed over the course of the season, could make the Bucs into serious contenders.
We're only one week into the season, so let's not get ahead of ourselves, but the Bucs already look better than anyone outside of Tampa Bay thought they would and there are a few standouts that deserve to be talked about one way or the other.
4 winners (and 2 losers) from Bucs Week 1 upset win over Vikings
Winner: Devin White, LB
This is going to be a huge season for Devin White, and it's already off to a hot start.
Back in April, White requested a trade after not getting a contract extension offer he liked and sent a bit of a shockwave throughout the fan base. To his credit, White later rescinded the trade request and admitted that he was being 'a little selfish' but the fact remains that he's playing this year without a contract for next season.
White is in the final year of his rookie deal and has all the incentive in the world to ball out to prove he's worth the price he demanded this offseason. He reportedly wants a deal in the neighborhood of Roquan Smith's deal, which is worth $100 million, but is a bit rich for the Bucs blood -- especially this offseason.
So far he's well on his way to making the case for himself.
White was flying all over the field on Sunday and made his presence felt at the right times. In the first quarter alone he had seven tackles and finished the game with a team-high total of 12 tackles. It wasn’t just the hits, it was the ferocity of the hits he laid out.
After the game Todd Bowles singled out White’s performance, which is exactly the kind of way everyone wants him to start the season.