Friday night’s preseason matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became a first hand look at what the new era under Bruce Arians may look like.
The Buccaneers weren’t able to open up the Arians’ era with a victory, but were able to take away some good things in the 30-28 preseason loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
If the Buccaneers’ opening offensive series tells us anything, Tampa Bay should be a fun team to watch this 2019 campaign. Arians sent the first team offense out for one series and they took care of business, going 81 yards on 12 plays, culminating in a Jameis Winston-to-Chris Godwin touchdown.
Winston finished his night after one series going 5-of-6 passing for 40 yards and the one touchdown. What looked impressive was offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s mix of plays that resulted in the score. Leftwich mixed in a good steady dose of the pass along with the 1-2 punch of Peyton Barber (three carries, 18 yards) and Ronald Jones III (four carries, 18 yards).
Despite the good opening start for Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers’ defensive secondary still looks like a work in progress under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, whom brings over a 3-4 look he’s had from his days with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets.
Seeing the most time at quarterback on the night for Tampa Bay was third signal caller Ryan Griffin, who played in relief of backup Blaine Gabbert (6-of-8, 50 yards). Griffin ended the evening completing 26-of-43 passes for 329 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Spencer Schnell led all Tampa Bay receivers with seven catches for 119 yards. Running back Dare Ogunbowale led all Buccaneers with 34 yards on 10 carries.
Tampa Bay next plays at home against the Miami Dolphins, marking the return of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.
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