Buccaneers lose; Brady takes first snaps

By: Garrett Ballard

The Indianapolis Colts beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third and final game of the 2022 preseason. The Bucs lost all three preseason games but saw impressive action from their starters in this game against the Colts.

Tom Brady impresses in limited snaps

At the forefront of the news was the return of Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was away from the team for the first two preseason games and made his return the day after the game against the Titans. He practiced all week with the team and played for a short time against the Colts.

Brady’s stat line was minimal, but so was his playing time. He finished the game with just 44 yards on six completions. Brady played just one drive but managed to distribute the ball to five different receivers, including Julio Jones. The biggest play of Brady’s time in the game was a 20-yard pass to Jones on a comeback route.

That catch from Brady would be the only one Jones would have in the game, and it propelled the Buccaneers’ offense to their first points of the game; a 30-yard field goal by Ryan Succop.

Brady looked like he has not missed a beat. He threw the ball accurately and his arm looked as strong as ever.

Rest of the Buccaneers’ struggle

Aside from the starting offense, the Buccaneers struggled on Saturday. The defense gave up 27 points, including a 45-yard rushing touchdown to Sam Ehlinger.

A theme of the preseason has been the Buccaneers’ poor punt and kickoff coverage. That theme continued on Saturday. The Buccaneers’ special teams coverage let the Colts run all over, including a 52-yard return to set up the Ehlinger rushing touchdown.

The starting defense kept the Colts from scoring, but the depth looked shakey.

The injuries keep coming

The Buccaneers’ offensive line suffered more injuries on Saturday. Ryan Jensen is already out for an extended period of time, and now his backup, Robert Hainsey, has a banged-up ankle. Hainsey, the current starting center, was walking around on the sideline after the injury and reportedly telling his teammates he is fine.

The now backup center, Nick Leverett, also got injured on Saturday. Leverett suffered a shoulder injury and did not return to the game.

The Buccaneers’ offensive line depth is already thin. Jensen and Aaron Stinnie are out for the year, Tristan Wirfs will be out for a period of time, and now Hainsey and Leverett are not 100%. The injuries keep piling up.