For the second straight week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are celebrating Victory Monday.
After pulling off an upset win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, the Bucs rolled over the Chicago Bears and are off to a 2-0 start. Nobody outside of Tampa Bay saw this coming, but anyone paying attention will see the development of a team that is starting to believe in itself in ways we didn't see last season.
There's an attitude and energy around the Bucs this year that hasn't existed for a while. Baker Mayfield's grittiness is wearing off on al lthe right guys, and the result is games like the one we saw these last two weeks.
It's one thing to have a few highlight reel moments, but it's another to actually build off them. It seems like the Bucs were expected to do the latter, which truthfully is something they did last year. None of the clutch Tom Brady drives developed into anything more than sighs of relief before the next big problem arose, where now it feels like lessons are being learned.
Todd Bowles once again mad a gutsy call, trusting Dave Canales to run the ball on third and goal from four yards out rather than drawing up a safer play. The immediete result was a touchdown, but those sorts of decisions and displays of trust are having a longtail impact on the psyche of the Bucs -- and it's a glorious thing to see.
Not everything was perfect, but the Bucs are 2-0 and more than a handful of guys stepped up in some pretty impressive ways.
Winner: Shaq Barrett
Sunday was an important day for Shaq Barrett in more than one way.
Barrett put an exclamation point on the afternoon with a pick-six that sealed the Bucs victory late in the fourth quarter. With the Bears backed up against their own goal line, Barrett reached back to snatch a Justin Fields pass out of the air before rumbling into the endzone.
He was mobbed by Bears players in the short distance between where he made the interception and the goal line, but there wasn't a soul strong enough to stop him or the power that moment created for Barrett.
The catharsis extended beyond what it meant in the context of this specific win. Barrett missed most of last season with an Achilles injury and this summer his two-year-old daughter drowned in the family pool.
After the game, Barrett talked about how much the big game meant to him amid one of the toughest years of his life.
Sometimes things are bigger than football. Shaq Barrett balled out between the hashes in Week 2, but it all amounted to much more than a notch in the win column could possibly explain.