In his Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut, Tom Brady and his team fell to the New Orleans Saints, 34-23. The game was full of ups and downs for both sides, and many fans were not expecting the game to go the way it did. With all of the twists and turns throughout this game, what do we make of these Buccaneers?
Sure, they played a tough New Orleans team, but the Saints also fell to the Minnesota Vikings last year at home in the first round of the playoffs. Should Tampa Bay fans be concerned yet?
Struggles for Tom Brady Offense
The game really got off to a great start for Tampa Bay. They got a quick stop, then drove down the field to go up seven on a Tom Brady keeper. For the rest of the first half, however, the Bucanneers offense really struggled to get going.
Tampa Bay’s next four drives before the half resulted in a three and out, an interception, a blocked field goal, and another three and out. Obviously, no offense is without its faults, but it was very obvious that Mike Evans and Brady still have work to do. Confusion between the two on Evans’ route directly led to the interception, and the pair would only link up once with 2:46 left in the fourth, with the game already out of hand.
Running Game Struggles
The Buccaneers heavily relied on running back Ronald Jones, much more than I think a decent number of fans were expecting. He ran hard but ultimately didn’t find much success, with just 66 yards on 17 carries. It seems like, at least for now, the strategy for Bruce Arians is to utilize a run-heavy approach with medium-to-short depth passes from Brady. Receivers Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller seemed to have rather good rapport with Brady throughout this game. While Evans only hauled in a single catch, he was on a snap count after being a game time decision.
Tom Brady Fantasy Football Impacts
Tampa has a good defense this season and some talented pieces around Brady. The Saints have an elite offense and a pretty good defense, so this was far from a bad showing. However, fantasy fans might want to keep a close eye on Brady. While he is obviously miles ahead of former quarterback Jameis Winston, his decision making was spotty at times, which was most blatantly seen on Janoris Jenkins’ 36-yard pick-six. He’s not the Tom Brady of old and, unless we see something change, he shouldn’t be considered a QB1 at the moment.
Fantasy wise, main takeaways from this game are that Jones and Miller are both worthy of rostering in leagues. Keep an eye on the tight end situation as well. It seemed, at times, like tight end Rob Gronkowski was utilized more as a decoy while O.J. Howard saw the bulk of targets between the two. Lastly, even though the Saints scored 34, seven came from a pick six, seven came from good field position after another Brady pick and three came from a fumble on the kickoff. This Tampa defense is legit. They may not be worthy of a weekly spot, due to a stacked division. However, they are definitely worth streaming.
Overall, you never want to get too high or too low on any player or team after just one game. While the pieces around Brady are better and the defense is legit, I am a little worried over Brady’s decision making. I still think the Buccaneers should be favorites to make the playoffs. However, until we see this team improve on their offensive consistency, it might be time to tap the brakes on the Super Bowl hype just a bit even if it’s only been one game.