Tonight, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome in Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions for game three of the 2018 preseason. Jameis Winston who will sit for the first three games of 2018, has been red hot in the first two games of the preseason.
While the Bucs as a team have been red hot in the passing game, their running game has struggled to find its legs. Tampa Bay running backs are led by Peyton Barber and his 53 yards on 10 carries through two games. The 5.3 yards per carry average is respectable, but the team has seemed to abandon the running game quite quickly. Ronald Jones II has averaged less than a yard per carry on 12 carries for 11-yards, not quote the start Bucs fans were hoping for out of the rookie from USC.
Leading the pack in the preseason
Heading into tonight’s game with the Lions, the Buccaneers led the NFC South in points scored, and points allowed. Tampa and the Carolina Panthers both hold a 2-0 record, but Tampa has scored three more points than the Panthers (58 for Tampa 55 for the Panthers). They have also allowed two less points then the New Orleans Saints (38 for Tampa 40 for New Orleans).
Rain, rain go away
The original 8pm start time for the game got slightly delayed due to bad weather. Sometime shortly after the original kickoff time it was announced the game would commence just before 9pm. Once the game did get underway though, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team down the field with a semi balanced attack. Peyton Barber eventually took a rush up the right side 14-yards for a 7-0 lead. When Stafford took the field, the Bucs defense did bend a little while not quite breaking. A defensive breakdown allowed Stafford to get a 36-yard pass to a wide open Kenny Golladay that nearly led to a Lions touchdown. Detroit would be forced to settle for a 24-yard FG from Matt Prater. The first quarter would come to an end with the score 7-3 in favor of the Bucs. Prater would notch another one with about 10 minutes left in the first half. The field goal would trim the Bucs lead to one (7-6).
Winston to Godwin
is a phrase that could be said numerous times following Winston’s three game suspension. Tonight Jameis lobbed a pass into the end zone and Chris Godwin leapt into the air snatching the ball and coming down to the ground cleanly with it. The touchdown was Godwin’s second of the preseason, and Winston’s third passing touchdown. Early on in the series it looked as though Jameis wouldn’t get a chance, but a Lions defensive holding call extended the series for the hometown team. The score wouldn’t be extended by the extra point however the kick was wide right to leave the score 13-6, Bucs.
Curse of the Kicker
Not since Matt Bryant have the Bucs truly had a consistently, consistent kicker. Conner Barth was as close to a regular good kicker the Bucs ever signed, but he eventually left. Roberto Aguayo had such promise coming out of FSU, but couldn’t find the middle of the goal posts. Now new Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro seems to be less than consistently, consistent. After going 2-3 on field goals and 2-3 on extra points against the Dolphins in week 1, he went 5-6 on field goals and extra points against Tennessee. Tonight against the Lions, just before halftime he missed yet another extra point. One day when that certain Atlanta Falcons kicker retires the curse will be broken, until then the Bucs will continue to search for their next new kicker.
In a rare play, Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries took a missed Prater field goal 109-yards for a Bucs score. In a play reminiscent of the of the 2013 Iron Bowl Humphries juked and jived his way down the field slipping past Lions defenders for a 19-6 Bucs lead. The play was very eerily similar to the Iron Bowl, seriously watch them closely it’s kind of weird. Catanzaro was able to hit the point after touchdown for a 20-6 halftime lead. The Bucs would tack on another touchdown this time Ryan Griffin to Freddie Martino just about four minutes into the 3rd quarter for a 27-6 lead.
Kick Six Vol. 2!
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 25, 2018
Detroit Completes the comeback
Trailing 27-6 in the 3rd quarter, Detroit need to find a way to get back in the game. Just over five minutes into the quarter Theo Riddick to the ball and ran 10-yards to get the Lions within two touchdowns. Barely six minutes into the 4th wily veteran Matt Cassel would find Bradley Marquez on a three yard pass to cut the lead again, the Bucs now had only a 27-20 lead. Catanzaro would notch his first field goal attempt of the night. The 42-yard field goal wasn’t the longest, but most Bucs fans waited on baited breath for the referee’s signal of a good kick. With the kick splitting the uprights the Bucs now had a 30-20 lead. Brandon Powell would take a punt to the house after the Bucs were unsuccessful at running down the clock. The 80-yard punt got the Lions within four after a failed 2-point conversation. With the two minute warning looming, Jake Ruddock would take the Lions down the field for 60-yards in 10 plays. The eventual score to tight end Marcus Lucas to take a 33-30 lead with little time left to win the game on a late interception from Bucs QB Austin Allen.
The Buccaneers will welcome in the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday August 30th at 7:30pm in the final preseason game before the regular season begins.
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