By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports writer
TAMPA- Many looked at the blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams and the narrow win over the New England Patriots as signs that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be starting to trail off. Well, Tom Brady and crew wanted to remind you not to write them off one bit. Not yet anyway.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the listless Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon and to say it was the team’s best offensive performance to date might fit the bill. The Buccaneers got a sensational day out of Brady, who threw for over 400 yards and five touchdowns and guided Tampa Bay to a 45-17 win over the Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay improves to 4-1 on the season and has a quick turnaround facing the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night football.
It looked like it would become a slugfest between the Buccaneers and the Dolphins early on, as both teams put points on the board on their first possessions. Miami (1-4) then got a touchdown when quarterback Jacoby Brissett found a wide-open Myles Gaskin for a touchdown pass to put Miami up 10-7. Brady and crew went to work and got the game knotted up at 10-all on a field goal make by Ryan Succop.
On time passing with all three of the top receivers for Tampa Bay was the calling card on the day, with Brady and the offense still without star tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady still was able to dissect and chop up the Miami secondary how he pleased, hitting on touchdown passes to Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, and Giovanni Bernard. It was just another day at the office for Brady and the offense, in which the team is starting to see the defense get a bit healthier.
It looked as if Miami would have a chance heading into the fourth quarter down 24-17 but Tampa Bay made sure to put the game completely out of reach. Twenty-one straight points from the Buccaneers in an avalanche of touchdowns just made it a bridge too far for the Dolphins’ comeback efforts. Miami now has dropped four games in a row.
Despite returning the services of Jason Pierre-Paul and Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay ended up losing linebacker Lavonte David to a sprained ankle and could miss multiple games because of the injury. Kevin Minter stepped up in David’s place and filled in fine alongside Devin White. Forcing turnovers will become the key for a beleaguered Buccaneers’ defense with so many injuries. The team is hoping soon that they can get back Gronkowski and Sean Murphy-Bunting.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.