The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played before a prime-time national audience last Thursday, and for a good portion of the evening Shaq Barrett stole the spotlight. Barrett's three-sack performance in the Buccaneers' 20-14 road win over the Carolina Panthers is earning him some extra attention this week, as well.
On Wednesday, Barrett was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week Two. It's the first such award for the Buccaneers' sixth-year outside linebacker, who spent his first five seasons with the Denver Broncos.
Barrett is the first Buccaneer to win a Defensive Player of the Week Award in four years, since linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David were so honored in Weeks Eight and 11, respectively, of the 2015 season. The last Tampa Bay edge rusher to earn that award was Simeon Rice, in Week 17 of the 2005 campaign.
Barrett also duplicated a rare feat last accomplished by Rice in 2002 when he racked up three sacks in a single quarter against the Panthers. Barrett's constant harassment of quarterback Cam Newton halted Carolina's first two drives of the third period, as the Buccaneers were trying to protect a 10-9 lead. The Panthers did kick a go-ahead field goal after Barrett's third sack but Tampa Bay took the lead back for good with a touchdown on its next drive.
Barrett's stat line for the game also included three tackles, three tackles for loss and four quarterback hits. He is the first Buccaneer to record a three-sack game since Jacquies Smith in Week Two of the 2015 campaign, and his four sacks through the first two games of a season tied a franchise record.
The Buccaneers signed Barrett as an unrestricted free agent in March, and he has made an instant impact, already surpassing his sack total from 2018, his last year with the Broncos. Barrett is also the first player in franchise history to win a Defensive Player of the Week award within his first two games as a Buccaneer. Warrick Dunn captured an offensive award in his second NFL game in 1997 after the Bucs had drafted him in the first round that same spring. Two former Bucs have won a Special Teams Player of the Week award within their first two games: Clifton Smith in his second NFL contest in 2008 and Jacquez Green in his professional debut in 1988.