By: Michelle Sabin
Sports Talk Florida – Bucs reporter
Brady with the arm and Suh with the stop, the Buccaneers win week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers 31 to 38.
Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh came up with the play of the game, according to Head Coach Bruce Arians. With 41 seconds left in the first half and the Buccaneers trailing 7 to 24, Suh forced a fumble (recovered by Devin White) leading to a Buccaneers touchdown.
While Suh may have had the play of the game, Quarterback Tom Brady demonstrated his elite throwing abilities as he and Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert went head to head. Despite the 21-year age difference between the two quarterbacks, both players showed off their deep passing abilities throughout the entire game. Herbert stepped up first with a 53-yard pass, but Brady answered.
Brady quieting the critics who say he may be too old for the game or past his prime. He completed 369 yards and 5 touchdowns, to recover from an early deficit of 21 unanswered points by the Chargers. Brady now has 222 regular season wins; the most in the NFL.
After the game, Arians reflected on their performance and the Bucs ability to bounce back, saying the second half was “a show of character.“ It may not have been the same result in years past. Arians added, “had this been last year we would have gotten our ass beat by at least 20. This team has a ton of character and playmakers . . . when we don’t beat ourselves we are going to be a tough team to beat.”
Brady certainly did not accomplish this feat on his own. Those five touchdowns were by five different receivers, including rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who scored his first NFL touchdown, and veteran Cameron Brate, with his first touchdown of the season. The other three scoring receivers were Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, and O.J. Howard.
Unfortunately O.J. Howard left the game with a ruptured achilles tendon, and is not expected to return this year. Injuries have made their mark early across the league this year and the Bucs have not faired any better.
Receiver Chris Godwin was out again this week due to a concussion, and Mike Evans sat out a few plays on Sunday battling his own injury. The Bucs were able to utilize the depth on their roster and looked to receivers Scotty Miller and Justin Watson to step up on offense.
Arians reported this week that Miller would be a “wait and see” if he would take the field – and it is a good thing he did. Miller had 5 receptions for 83 yards, matching what he put up last week against Denver.
Mike Evans led the team in receiving with 122 yards over 7 receptions. However, he needs to avoid unnecessary penalties, including the personal foul for getting into an altercation with the Chargers. He also had a pass interference call for pushing off his defender.
To win ball games, the Bucs need to “build from the good things and learn from the bad things,” as Brady said.
The team now has to gather whatever they have left in the tank, and get ready for their next battle on Thursday. They hit the road to face the Chicago Bears who are also 3-1 heading into week five.
The Buccaneers are a quarter of the way through the season and, despite the win today, Arians knows they can still play better. As Brady said, “we’ve got to figure out how to play sixty minutes well.”