The Buccaneers inconsistency continues in Week 5 as they drop a close game to the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots.
This was a game that was supposed to be full of offense, but it sure didn’t turn out that way. The Buccaneers and Patriots defenses actually played much better than most expected. Early on it looked like the Bucs defense was going to have its way with the Patriots. The Bucs forced an interception of Tom Brady on the Patriots very first drive of the game. Brady had gone the first four weeks of the season without committing a turnover. He had two tonight. Unfortunately, the Bucs were not able to convert either of those turnovers into points.
The Bucs got a boost to the running game when they welcomed back Doug Martin this week. Prior to the season, there had been much talk about if the Bucs were even going to keep Martin on the roster. He showed tonight that not only does he belong, but he is the clear cut best running back on the team. Martin showed great speed and vision as he broke off multiple big runs in the first half. He capped of his stellar first half with a one yard touchdown run that put the Bucs up 7-3.
One possible big turning point in this game came late in the second quarter. Brady had just thrown a touchdown to Chris Hogan putting the Patriots ahead 10-7. Tampa Bay was going to get the ball back with about 3:30 remaining with a chance to either retake the lead, or at least get some points before halftime. Instead the Bucs promptly go three-and-out, give up a long punt return with a penalty added after. This set the Patriots up in great field position. Luckily the defense was able to hold the Patriots to just a field goal and head into halftime down 13-7.
On a night where Jameis Winston struggled for most of the game, he got it going in the later stages. Winston was able to bring the Buccaneers within a couple points late in the game when he found Cameron Brate for a touchdown right before the 2 minute warning. New England added another field goal to make the score 19-14 with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Winston was able to drive the Bucs down the field to give his team a shot to win the game, but his pass to OJ Howard fell incomplete. Patriots hang on to beat the Bucs by the final score of 19-14. Interestingly, this was Bill Belichick’s first win as a head coach in Tampa Bay and Tom Brady’s first start in Tampa.
Once again this week everybody is going to be talking about kicker, Nick Folk.
After he played the role of the hero against the New York Giants last week, he is going to play the role of goat this week. Folk missed three field goal attempts tonight. The shortest attempt being 31 yards. This is a shorter attempt than your normal extra point. In a game that is decided by this close of score, the margin for error is slim. Folk has now missed five attempts in the last two weeks. It would be a surprise to nobody if he is looking for a new job within the next couple days.
The Bucs (2-2) will have the mini bye-week as they don’t play now until Sunday, October 15th, when they’re in Arizona to take on the Cardinals (2-2) at 4:05 Eastern Time.