And that’s the ballgame. Patriots win, 19-14.
Patriots 19, Bucs 14 — The Patriots kicked a 48-yarder to make it so the Bucs needed touchdown.
Patriots 16, Bucs 14 — THE BUCS HAVE LIFE! Winston hit tight end Cameron Brate with just over two minutes left in the game and two timeouts in hand for the Bucs.
MISSED KICK! Oh, Tampa.
Oh, Tampa, Tampa, Tampa.
Nick Folk, the kicker they brought in to replace the kicker they drafted in the second round last year, missed a 31-yard field goal.
To be a Bucs kicker is to be part of the most cursed position in sports.
FUMBLE! With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, the Bucs defense got to Brady again, this time sacking him and causing a fumble that Tampa Bay was able to get.
That’s three sacks on the night so far and a season total of 16 on Brady, one more than the 15 sacks he took in 12 games last year.
Also, here’s Adarius Glanton celebrating the fumble. Gone fishin’!
Patriots 16, Bucs 7 A drive that started with a series of big plays, highlighted by Brandin Cooks’ 34-yard reception, the Patriots ended up settling for a field goal on the opening possession of the second half.
Back-to-back roughing the passer penalties on the Patriots moved the Bucs all the way up to the Patriots’ 38-yard line. Nick Folk came out to attempt a 56-yard field goal, but this is the Bucs kicking unit we’re talking about, so no.
Patriots lead 13-7 at the half.
FIIIIIIIGHT! Well, tensions at any rate. Tempers flared a little bit as the first half ended.
Patriots 13, Buccaneers 7 The Bucs gifted New England some great field position with a big Danny Amendola punt return and a Tampa 15-yard penalty tacked on. The Pats milked the clock down inside the two-minute warning before sending out Gostkowski to kick a chip shot field goal.
Patriots 10, Buccaneers 7 After giving up the first touchdown of the night, the Patriots immediately answered back by marching down the field. Brady hit Chris Hogan in the end zone to give the lead back to New England.
Buccaneers 7, Patriots 3 Doug Martin is back and made his presence felt in the second quarter. Returning from a three-game suspension, Martin ripped off runs of 11 and 17 yards to get the Bucs down into scoring position. He nearly scored an 11-yard touchdown, but it got ruled down at the 1-yard line on review. Martin finished the job with a goal line dive on the next play.
First quarter: Patriots 3, Buccaneers 0
Patriots 3, Buccaneers 0 Dion Lewis finally broke the game open with a 33-yard run, getting the Pats in the red zone. The drive stalled from there and New England had to settle for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal, getting the first points of the game.
It hasn’t been the shootout we expected so far, with both teams trading punts and rarely crossing midfield. The most notable thing to happen was Brady appearing to hurt his non-throwing wrist on a sack, though he’s still in the game.
Brady badly overthrew a wide-open Chris Hogan and got picked off on the Patriots’ opening drive, giving the Bucs some nice field position. Tampa was unable to take advantage, going three-and-out on the ensuing drive.
The Patriots got bad news long before the game began when Rob Gronkowski suffered a thigh injury in Wednesday’s practice. He’s inactive for this game, leaving Tom Brady without his best offensive weapon.
Before the game
Through four games, Tom Brady has the Patriots on a record-setting pace when it comes to passing offense. The problem is that his defense is making every other quarterback it faces look like, well, Tom Brady.
New England has the worst passing defense in the league, allowing opponents to post a 116.5 passer rating to start the season. Brady, despite leading the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns, has a 116.6 rating. In 2017, the Patriots are getting an unpleasant idea of what it’s like to face their own amazing quarterback, week in and week out.
That’s good news for Jameis Winston, who has had an uneven start to his third season with the Buccaneers. He’ll lead Tampa Bay into an important prime-time matchup with New England on Thursday Night Football.
Winston has led his team to a 2-1 start, but his team’s two wins have come against two of the NFC’s bottom feeders. The Buccaneers have beaten the 1-3 Bears and 0-4 Giants to begin their season, and that last win over New York didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Tampa needed a late field goal to claim victory over a team whose top runner — at least in terms of rushing touchdowns — is Eli Manning.
The young quarterback struggled against the one quality team he faced in 2017, throwing three bad interceptions against the Vikings in a 34-17 road loss. What’s even more troubling is how the Bucs defense performed. Tampa Bay allowed Case Keenum to have one of the greatest games of his career in Week 3, throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. If Keenum, Minnesota’s third choice at quarterback, can do that, Brady should be pretty optimistic about his chances for another big performance.
All signs point to a high-scoring affair, which would spice up an unbalanced string of Thursday night games. Week 3’s back-and-forth fireworks between the Rams and 49ers stand as an unexpected high point in a lineup that’s also included Texans-Bengals and Packers-Bears snoozers. With two high-powered offenses set to face off, NFL fans will have to hope Week 5’s game can recapture the magic of San Francisco-Los Angeles.
- The Patriots defense looks like a fatal flaw in the team’s quest to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
It’s a stunning turnaround for a team that boasts All-Pro defenders like Malcolm Butler, Dont’a Hightower, and Devin McCourty. The Patriots have made slumping passers look like a prime Peyton Manning while giving up more passing yards than anyone in the league. New England’s inability to get late stops cost the team victories over the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. Without Tom Brady’s fourth-quarter magic, it would have sunk the Pats against Houston as well.
- Doug Martin returns from suspension this week, and it could be just what a low-key rushing attack needs.
The veteran running back is finally done with his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He went to rehab earlier this year, was a full participant this offseason, and looked good in preseason—so the Bucs are likely to give him his starting job back.
- The Patriots could make a trade to improve their defense, but it won’t fix what’s fundamentally wrong.
Thing is, what’s killing this defense and setting records (and not the good kind) isn’t a lack of talent. It’s the same thing that people have clowned on the Saints about for years. To hear the team tell it, the guys either don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing, or they all think they’re supposed to be doing something other than what they’re actually supposed to be doing...which, as you can guess, means that someone’s not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
- Last week’s win over the Giants has the Buccaneers climbing the NFL power rankings.
The NFL doesn’t think the Bucs are that much better than they were last week, though. Understandable given the fact that that game was far too close for comfort—unnecessarily so, given the amount of points left on the field with missed kicks and red zone issues.
- Will moving Devin McCourty into Patrick Chung’s role improve the Patriot defense?
McCourty has played nearly every single defensive snap this year, including every snap over the past three weeks, while Chung has seen his snaps decline from 97 percent in Week 2 to 73 percent in Week 3 and just 54 percent against the Panthers.