Wed. Jun 12th, 2024
Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Bucs
Shaquil Barrett #7 of the Tampa Bay Bucs returns an interception during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears for a touchdown. | Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Besides the game, one of the best (or worst) parts of the football season are Monday mornings.

Any football fan knows, whether it’s meeting up with buddies at school, the casual conversation among workplace friends and rivals beside the proverbial ‘water cooler,’ or turning on your favorite sports talk show to see the cast set ablaze by the unimaginable moments they just witnessed less than 24 hours prior— Monday mornings are for bragging rights, armchair quarterbacks, and “Did you see when?!”

This Monday morning, Bucs fans—

Will be excited to bring up— The Baker Mayfield to Mike Evans connection is alive and well.

Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Bucs
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Great things come to those who wait. Last week, against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bucs’ top receiver had just six catches for 66 yards and was noticeably absent from the first quarter. Week two was a return to form for the future Bucs Ring of Honor member. He went way over a 100 yards, and found his way into the endzone for the second time in as many weeks. Evans finished with over 160 yards on five catches of all different varieties, showing the versatility he rarely gets recognized for. Mike Evans’ introductory season to Dave Canales and Baker Mayfield is off to quite a harmonious start. Two games in, Evans has 237 yards on 12 catches.

Vita Vea.

Tampa Bay’s nose tackle, when he is on his game, is an un-blockable force. Today, that force was on display. Vea is never one to scatter his name across the stat sheet, he ended week two with 1.5 sacks and three tackles, his impact on the Bears offense was as massive as the nose tackle himself. Freeing up other defenders, while holding blocks and controlling the line of scrimmage makes Vita Vea an impactful player. Vea, and the entirety of Tampa Bay’s pass rush, played sensationally against the Bears tallying six sacks.

Tampa’s first quarter offense.

When the first quarter came to an end on Sunday, the Bucs were trailing. Their offense had only scored three points. Doesn’t sound like anything to be excited about but when you dive a little deeper, Tampa’s first quarter production is a little bit exciting. The Bucs, on just two drives, left the first period with 12:14 time of possession. Tampa drove almost the entire field on each of their first quarter opportunities. The issue is that the Bucs, on back to back drives, deep into Bears’ territory, had to settle for field goal attempts (more on this next).

Are going to be worried about— Finishing drives on offense.

It wasn’t until Tampa Bay’s third offensive possession, where the team was able to find the endzone. While that first evasive trip across the goal line gave the Bucs the lead, if the Bucs were playing a team that boasts a more potent offense than the Chicago Bears, it may not have. The team’s inability to cash in on those first two drives could have buried them in a hopeless hole. The Bucs are lucky that they were matched up against the Bears and their defense did its part, keeping Chicago contained, until the Bucs found their stride. Tampa Bay’s outlook for the season isn’t a fully developed photograph yet, but if the team expects to contend with the more formidable opponents they will face as their schedule gets tougher (Philadelphia Eagles next week) short field goal attempts may not be the answer.

Won’t be able to let it go— Baker Mayfield looks very comfortable running this offense.

Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Bucs
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Tampa Baker experiment has been all systems go through the first two weeks. Baker Mayfield has looked poised in the pocket, composed under pressure, and has shown consistency in his decision making. Mayfield has done a good job taking what is available to him and being risk averse, while still moving the offense effectively. In Dave Canales’ offense, he has been the quarterback Tampa would have hoped he’d be. Baker Mayfield played mistake-free football last week against the Vikings in week one, finishing 21/34, with two touchdowns, and no turnovers. In week two, Mayfield again, engineered Tampa’s offense with precision. The Bucs’ passer threw for 318 yards, a touchdown, and kept the ball out of harm’s way.

The season is still young and the future still has the ability to tell many different tales. Two games into 2023, Tampa Bay has shown that they are not the team most thought they would be. Their trip to the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, as many predicted, is not off to a good start. Tampa Bay is 2-0 and they have put good football on tape. The Bucs have a long way to go and a lot of season left. Still, for another week, Tampa Bay is undefeated.

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By admin