The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons in week 2 after their dramatic season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The NFC battle against America’s team was much closer than expected with Dak Prescott picking up where he left off before his injury last October. It’s no secret the Buccaneers secondary struggled, giving up 406 yards in the air and failing to keep the Cowboys young receiving core out of the end zone. The Buccaneers starting cornerback, Sean Murphy-Bunting, suffered a dislocated elbow after getting wrapped up with safety Antoine Winfield Jr. defending CeeDee Lamb late in the opening quarter.
The Buccaneers defense rallied in front of 65,000 fans to limit Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to a 48-yard field goal in their final drive. With 1:24 left on the clock, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers marched down the field to set up a 36-yarder for veteran kicker, Ryan Succop. With 7 seconds to spare, Succop put the pigskin through the uprights to seal the deal and the Buccaneers start the season 1-0 for the first time since 2018.
“I learned a long time ago that you don’t learn anything more from losing than you do from almost losing”, stated Bruce Arians. “Obviously there’s turnovers, penalties, things we can improve but our guys fought and won the game. Special teams was outstanding.”
Buccaneers Punter, Bradley Pinion, was named NFC special team player of the week with 4 punts in the season opener with 3 punts inside the 20. Tom Brady was rewarded FedEx player of the week for the 13th time in his career after throwing for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head into their first divisional game against Atlanta 1-0 with Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown expected to continue their hot streak after a dominating performance in opening week. Brown finished week 1 with 5 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Gronk caught two touchdown passes and surpassed a milestone with 101 catching touchdowns from Tom Brady.
“It’s cool”, claimed Rob. ”I didn’t even really know about it in the moment… I just listen to Coach [Tom] Moore. He said, ‘I’ll keep counting for you Rob and you just keep catching.’ I said, ‘I like that one. I’ll just keep catching.’”
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have 101 touchdowns and sit at #2 on the highest scoring duos of all time behind Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison with 114; but are the only duo to have connected on two different teams.
Brady is undefeated [8-0] against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons at who struggled tremendously against the Philadelphia eagles last Sunday. Ryan threw for 164 yards and took 3 sacks in the 32-6 loss at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Georgia. The Falcons are learning a new system under Arthur Smith who enters his first season as the Falcons head coach. Atlanta gave up 3 touchdowns to sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles who were the only team in the NFC East to start the season 1-0.
The Buccaneers overcame the divisional rivals both appearances last season. In week 15, the Falcons were up 17-0 in Atlanta at halftime over the Buccaneers who ultimately rallied back with a vengeance to win 31-27. In week 17, Tampa fired from all cylinders and put away the Falcons 44-27. Tom Brady may be Matt Ryan’s kryptonite dating back to the historic loss in Super Bowl LI where the Falcons had a 28-3 lead at the half they ended up fumbling and losing in overtime to Bill Belichick 34-28.
“We obviously weren’t doing what we were capable of doing and we needed a big wake-up call and we got it”, explained Brady. “I think – thinking about last game – we’ve got to start fast, and we have to finish strong, and we have to play well all four quarters.”
Tampa’s safety Jordan whitehead will be making his debut this afternoon at Raymond James versus the Falcons for week 2 as Mike Edwards filled in next to Antoine Winfield Jr in his absence. His presence is crucial for the Buccaneers secondary that struggled against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL opener. Jamel Dean was pushed into the starting cornerback role in Sean Murphy-Bunting absence as veteran Ross Cockrell was assigned the slot corner role.
“It’s always huge when you lose your starting corner,” mentioned Bruce Arians.” Those guys are hard to find in the first place. A player of his caliber and his flexibility is hard to replace, but we’ve got plenty of capable people.”
The Buccaneers also added cornerback Carlton Davis to the injury report due because of a hamstring that limited him in practice throughout the week. His status remains questionable against the Falcons. Atlanta has only ruled out Wide receiver Frank Darby with a calf injury.
There may be a lot of questions surrounding Matt Ryan and his receivers but there is still enough offensive power to keep Atlanta in this game including their #1 wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The Falcons rookie tight end and 4th overall pick, Kyle Pitts, can run routes like a wide receiver and drew 8 targets in his first NFL game. Cordarrelle Patterson now listed as a Falcons running back was effective in week 1 against the Eagles and will test the Buccaneers secondary.
4:05 PM EDT kick-ff at Raymond James as well as Fox TV.