DENVER- The sky was falling when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faltered in their season opener in New Orleans. It came back closer to reality in last Sunday’s 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Now we’re starting to see the kind of Buccaneers many predicted we may see this 2020 campaign when they traveled to Denver, Colorado.
Facing a win-less Denver Broncos team, Tampa Bay produced on each side of the ball as the Buccaneers rolled to a 28-10 victory Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. This marks the second win in a row for Tampa Bay and the Buccaneers will head back home to prepare for a home matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, who lost 21-16 to the Panthers on Sunday.
Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady once again dealt early and often, throwing for nearly 200 yards in the first half before cooling off in the second. Brady ended his day throwing for 297 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those going to wide receiver Mike Evans. After a punt block on special teams, Brady and the offense took advantage with a 10-yard touchdown pass to returning wide receiver Chris Godwin.
Godwin looked good in his return from concussion protocol but did exit from the game in the second half with an apparent hamstring injury. Much talk during the week leading into the game was surrounding the usage of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Despite head coach Bruce Arians proclaiming that the tight ends don’t see the ball a whole ton, they did on Sunday. Gronkowski caught six passes for 48 yards and OJ Howard had 49 yards receiving himself.
The defense had themselves a field day in Denver’s backfield and most of the time ended up in a meeting with quarterback Jeff Driskell. Driskell, who replaced the injured Drew Lock, never got into any kind of rhythm on the offense. The former Florida Gators’ quarterback threw an interception and was sacked five times, twice by Shaq Barrett who was making a return of sorts to Denver. Barrett played for Denver before leaving and signing with Tampa Bay in free agency.
With two wins and counting, the Buccaneers seem to have some winnable games coming up. Next weekend the Buccaneers host the Chargers and then will have a short week and face the Chicago Bears during Thursday night football on the road. On October 18th, Tampa Bay will return home for a home matchup against the Green Bay Packers, which city officials are looking to host with 25 percent capacity at Raymond James Stadium. Many are hoping that capacity percentages will continue to rise as the season moves forward. Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Miami Dolphins have already hosted games with fans in attendance.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.