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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Christian Izien Accomplishes Rare NFL Feat

Data Crunch: Rookie S Christian Izien became just the fourth undrafted player in NFL history with picks in each of his first two games, Mike Evans continued to rise up multiple charts and Chris Godwin kept two streaks alive

Christian Izien Data Crunch

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears, 27-17, on Sunday, but it took two interceptions in the last 2:03 of regulation to put the game away. First, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett intercepted an attempted screen pass and plowed into the end zone for a four-yard pick six. Moments later, rookie safety Christian Izien grabbed a pass deflected by safety Antoine Winfield Jr., allowing the Buccaneers' offense to kneel out the rest of the game clock.

Izien, who also had an interception near the goal line in the Bucs' 20-17 win at Minnesota in Week One, is one of only four players in the NFL who have multiple interceptions already, prior to the games on Monday night. The Jets' Jordan Whitehead leads the way with three, while Izien is tied with Atlanta's Jessie Bates and Buffalo's Matt Milano at two each. Moreover, Izien is just the fourth undrafted player in NFL history with an interception in each of his first two NFL games. He joins Philadelphia's Brenard Wilson in 1979, Tampa Bay's Ray Isom in 1987 and Carolina's Robert Lester in 2013.

The Buccaneers did not commit a turnover for the second straight week and thus have a +5 turnover ratio after two games, second in the NFL to Dallas at +7. This marks just the third time in team history the Bucs have made it through the first two games of the season without committing a turnover; the 1981 and 1994 teams did the same.

Tampa Bay's defense also sacked Bears quarterback Justin Fields six times, led by two from outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who turned in the second multi-sack game of his career. That was the Bucs' highest single-game sack total in almost exactly a year, as they last had six sacks in a Week Two win over New Orleans in 2022. That sack total was a good omen for the Buccaneers; over the past two seasons, including 2023, the Bucs have had six or more sacks in a game 10 times and they are 10-0 in those contests.

In addition to his first career touchdown, Barrett also claimed the first of the Bucs' half-dozen sacks in the second quarter, running his total as a Buccaneer to 41.5 sacks, the fifth most in team history. Despite missing the last nine games of the 2022 season due to an Achilles tendon tear, Barrett ranks eighth in the NFL in sacks since he signed with the Buccaneers in 2019. Notably, Barrett is the only player on that top-10 list who entered the league as an undrafted free agent. Seven of the other nine were first-round picks.

Most Sacks, NFL, 2019-23

1. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh: 60.5

2. Myles Garrett, Cleveland: 55.0

3. Matt Judon, Baltimore: 45.5

4. Cameron Jordan, New Orleans: 44.5

5. Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams: 44.0

6. Nick Bosa, San Francisco: 43.0

7. Chris Jones, Kansas City: 42.5

8. Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay: 41.5

9. Trey Hendrickson, New Orleans/Cincinnati: 40.5

10. Haason Reddick, Arizona/Carolina/Philadelphia: 40.0

Tampa Bay's offense ran up 437 yards of offense against the Bears on Sunday, the fifth-highest single-game total of the 2023 season so far. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 317 yards, marking his first 300-yard game as a Buccaneer and the 11th of his career. He currently owns a 104.4 passer rating, which ranks fifth in the NFL and his best mark through two games in his career. Mayfield has been particularly effective on third downs so far, completing 20 of 23 passes for 201 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 132.1.

Best Third Down Passer Rating, NFL, 2023

Table inside Article
Player Team Att. Comp. Rating
Kirk Cousins Vikings 21 14 136.6
Baker Mayfield Buccaneers 23 20 132.2
Desmond Ridder Falcons 15 12 127.8
C.J. Stroud Texans 31 25 114.9
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs 23 16 112.6

Mayfield's favorite target on Sunday was wide receiver Mike Evans, who caught six passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. That was the eighth-highest single-game total in Evans's career and it stood as the 37th 100-yard outing of his career, which is nearly double the total of the next player on the list in franchise history. His teammate, Chris Godwin, is second with 19. Evans has the seventh most 100-yard receiving games since he entered the NFL in 2014.

Table inside Article
Player Team(s) Games
Julio Jones Falcons/Titans/Bucs 49
Antonio Brown Steelers/Patriots/Bucs 43
Davante Adams Packers/Raiders 43
Travis Kelce Chiefs 42
DeAndre Hopkins Texans/Cardinals/Titans 39
Mike Evans Buccaneers 37
Stefon Diggs Vikings/Bills 36
Amari Cooper Raiders/Cowboys/Browns 31
Tyreek Hill Chiefs/Dolphins 30
Cooper Kupp Rams 29
Keenan Allen Chargers 29

Evans scored on a 32-yard catch in the third quarter, marking the second time he has found the end zone in two games this season. That increased his career total to 83 touchdown receptions, which is tied for the 25th most in NFL history with Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. (He also has an 84th career touchdown on a fumble recovery.) Evans's 79 yards after the catch are the most he's ever had in a game. He now has 10 career games with at least 170 receiving yards and a touchdown; no other player in franchise history has more than two.

Evans did all of this in the 139th game and 138th start of his career. He now ranks sixth in team history in games started, breaking a tie with Ring of Honor member Mike Alstott.

Godwin added five catches for 58 yards in Sunday's win, extending two league-leading runs. He has the longest active streaks of games with at least five catches and is the longest active streak of games with at least 50 receiving yards.

Longest Active Streaks of Games with Five-Plus Receptions, NFL

1. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers…16

2. Keenan Allen, Chargers…10

3. Ja'Marr Chase, Bengals…10

4t. Davante Adams, Raiders…4

4t. Hunter Henry, Patriots…4

4t. Michael Thomas, Saints…4

Longest Active Streaks of Games with 50+ Receiving Yards, NFL

1. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers…10

2. Keenan Allen, Chargers…8

3. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys…6

4. Davante Adams, Raiders…4

5t. Stefon Diggs, Bills…3

5t. Mike Evans, Buccaneers…3

 Punter Jake Camarda turned in his second consecutive excellent outing, punting four times for a gross average of 52.8 and a net average of 47.8. He dropped three of his four punts inside the 20; the exception was a booming 72-yarder that landed in the end zone. That was the third longest punt in Buccaneers history and he now owns two of the three longest and five of the nine longest kicks on that list.

Table inside Article
Punter Opponent Date Yards
Jake Camarda L.A. Rams 11/6/22 74
Sean Landeta N.Y. Jets 12/14/97 74
Jake Camarda Chicago 9/17/23 72
Tom Tupa New Orleans 12/1/02 71
Dave Green Detroit 11/20/77 70
Jake Camarda Atlanta 1/8/22 66
Jake Camarda New Orleans 15/5/22 66
Jake Camarda Baltimore 10/27/22 66
Mark Royals Chicago 1/2/00 66

With the win over the Bears, the Buccaneers improved their record to 2-0 in 2023, marking the third straight season they have opened with a 2-0 record. That is the first time in team history the Bucs have recorded three consecutive 2-0 season starts and they are the only team in the NFL that has done so in the last three years.

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