‘Champa Bay’ continues to look more and more like Tampa Bay each week.
The current leaders in the NFC South, Tampa Bay Bucs, traveled up to Pittsburgh to face off against the Steelers in rookie Kenny Pickett’s second career NFL start. Tampa Bay entered the game undefeated on the road this year, winning week one against the Dallas Cowboys and then week two against the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers welcomed the Bucs to Pittsburgh coming off a week five matchup in Buffalo. The Bills kept Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense out of the end zone while spending a lot of time in the end zone themselves, putting up 38 points on the T.J. Watt-less Steelers defense.
Any time the Bucs take the field there are certain expectations of the team and the players on gameday. Sometimes the reality is aligned with the expectation other times the reality is something entirely different, here’s:
Who we thought would do well and did:
Chris Godwin- Tom Brady wore a Chris Godwin T-shirt earlier this week in his press conference, what he didn’t tell us was that this was a bit of foreshadowing from the G.O.A.T. Pre-dating Brady’s time in Tampa Bay, Chris Godwin used to wear number 12 for the Bucs and before that he wore number 12 for Penn State University. Players often like to show out when they head back home or back to their college roots and Godwin played big today. With his highest yardage output of the season, he was heavily involved in the game plan and finished with over 90 yards and six catches.
Who we thought would do well and didn’t:
The rest of the team- In 2022, the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Pittsburgh Steelers are two teams heading in different directions… In theory. Tampa Bay’s expectations, on paper, are greater than Pittsburgh’s but the team plays with an acceptance of failure and mistakes. Countless uncoordinated penalties and self destructive tendencies can sink any team no matter the level of talent on the roster. The Bucs went from sailing the seven seas in a robust pirate ship to floating on a few pieces of drift wood.
The Bucs’ lethargic effort continues- Tampa Bay has had a habit of starting slow this season so maybe another lethargic effort isn’t a surprise, but against a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers with a rookie quarterback and a laundry list of injuries a faster start and better execution was expected. The Bucs were Super Bowl favorites heading into the season. When this same Pittsburgh Steelers team played another Super Bowl favorite last week, the Buffalo Bills showed the world what it should look like. Attack and pin a lesser opponent into submission. The Bills defeated the Steelers by 30+ points.
Ryan Succop- The Bucs played a very ugly game this week in Pittsburgh. In an ugly game you need to be able to count on your special teams. The Bucs’ special teams unit was not without its flaws but Ryan Succop was not among them. Succop continued his stellar season, going 4/4 on his kicks.
The Tampa Bay Bucs managed to come in underneath low expectations on the road this week. The Bucs have now positioned themselves in a place they don’t want to be in. Heading into week seven of the NFL season they are 3-3, they do have a 2-0 in-division record and a chance to further extend that mark as they prepare to do battle with the Carolina Panthers next week. Tampa has positioned themselves to not be taken seriously as contenders through the rest of the season until they show otherwise.