We generally intend this award to go to a Buccaneer standout regardless of the final score. However, I'm leery of insulting anyone on the home team with faint praise; it's not likely a Buccaneer would appreciate a game ball after Sunday's contest. Thus, it goes to Baltimore QB Joe Flacco, who threw a team-record five touchdown passes, all of them before the game was 17 minutes old.
Play of the Game
Photos from the first half of Buccaneers vs. Ravens.
CB Jimmy Smith's interception of Mike Glennon's fourth pass of the game essentially opened the floodgates for Baltimore's first-quarter barrage of points. Smith came off his own man on the left sideline to cut in front of Louis Murphy and pick off the pass, returning it to Tampa Bay's 22 to set up Torrey Smith's second touchdown catch of the game.
Photos from the second half of Buccaneers vs. Ravens.
Baltimore scored on the game's opening possession and never trailed, obviously. They scored on each of their first seven possessions, so there wasn't an obvious turning point. Smith's interception might qualify here, too, but the Bucs might have slowed down the Ravens' onslaught if they had been able to hold their opponents to a field goal after the turnover. They did manage to put Baltimore into a third-and-nine, but Flacco found Torrey Smith again for a nine-yard score on a quick slant.
It Was Over When
Flacco threw scoring touchdown passes on three straight third downs, all of them third-and-eight or longer, all of them in the first quarter. Taken in total, those three passes put the game far enough out of reach that the chances of a Buccaneer comeback quickly dwindled to a near impossibility.