View exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of the Buccaneers Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles from Team Photographer Kyle Zedaker.
-FitzMagic… er… Fitzpatrick, again.
Let's start by just running through the laundry list of factoids related to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's performance:
His four touchdowns on Sunday…
…make Fitzpatrick just the third player in NFL history to throw at least four touchdowns in each of his team's first two games. He's one of two this season (Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes). Drew Bledsoe was the only other quarterback to do it in 1997 for the New England Patriots.
…make Fitzpatrick the first Bucs quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in back-to-back games in franchise history.
…along with his four touchdowns from Week One make Fitzpatrick the 10th player since 1950 to record eight or more passing touchdowns through first two games of the season.
…started with a 75-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson against Jackson's former team. It was one of four touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick of 50 or more yards, tying him for the most such plays through the first two games of a season with former Jets quarterback Joe Namath.
His 402 passing yards on Sunday…
…put him alongside the Patriots' Tom Brady and Panthers' Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to record at least 400 passing yards through the first two games of the season.
…make him the third player since the 1970 NFL merger to records consecutive games with 400 passing yards and four touchdowns. He's the first to do it in the first two games of a season.
…makes Fitzpatrick the eighth player since 1950 to record at least 800 passing yards through the first two games of the season.
…make him the only player in Buccaneers history to throw for 400 yards in a single game twice.
Ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as his postgame press conference outfit that he borrowed from receiver DeSean Jackson. For more FitzMagic, hop on over to Scott Smith's Data Crunch.
-Making Foles uncomfortable.
The Bucs' defense improved upon their pass rush from Week One, registering three sacks of Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles. The first sack came at the hands of linebacker Kwon Alexander, his first since 2016. It was also a strip sack as the ball toppled out of Foles' hands and was recovered by rookie cornerback Carlton Davis for the Bucs' first takeaway of the day. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul followed up a few plays later with his first sack as a Buccaneer, bringing his career total against the Eagles to 6.5 sacks. The longest sack of the day for Tampa Bay came from Bucs' defensive stalwart Gerald McCoy, who dropped Foles for a loss of nine yards in the third quarter during a series that resulted in a three-and-out for the Eagles. The Bucs defense also forced Foles into 48 passing attempts by effectively shutting down the run game. The Bucs allowed just 91 total rushing yards by Philadelphia and expecting the pass, the Bucs were able to get pressure on Foles. They registered 12 quarterback hits in Sunday's game, including the aforementioned three sacks. It meant Foles wasn't comfortable in the pocket. The Bucs didn't let him escape with his legs though, either. The Eagles' signal caller had just eight rushing yards on three attempts. Bucs' defenders also broke up six passes and held Foles to just one touchdown through the air.
-DeSean Jackson continues revenge series against his former team.
Going into Sunday's game, Jackson was 4-1 against the team he spent the first six seasons of his career with. In those five games against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had 440 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 20 total receptions. That comes out to a 22.53 yards per reception average, in case you were wondering. On Sunday, Jackson had four receptions for 129 yards, his most yardage against Philadelphia in his career. He got a good chunk of that 129 on the very first play of the game. Though initially looking for wide receiver Mike Evans underneath, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick picked up on a corner blitz and saw that Jackson had gotten behind the post safety. That's when he hurled it towards the middle of the field for the 75-yard touchdown. What's even crazier is that Jackson said it was the Raymond James Stadium video board that tipped him off about the play. He said he looked up and saw that Fitzpatrick was winding up and figured the ball was coming his way. Sure enough, it was and Jackson hauled in the catch, juked the cornerback on one move and cut into the end zone. By design or not, it was a thing of beauty and continued Jackson's dominance against Philadelphia.
-The Bucs had yet another 20-point lead that was squandered down to one score by the end of the game.
So, as great as it was to beat the defending Super Bowl champions, that doesn't mean everything was sunshine and rainbows. Head Coach Dirk Koetter said that the first half offense made a lot of mistakes, save for the two 75-yard touchdowns by Jackson and tight end O.J. Howard. The offense ended up kicking it into gear behind another 400+ yard performance by Fitzpatrick but the defense also gave up over 400 yards of total offense for the second week in a row. Philadelphia was held to only a 33 percent third-down conversion rate, but Foles had over a 70 percent completion rate overall, despite the six pass breakups the Bucs defense had. This is probably also due in part to the discrepancy in time of possession. The Bucs' defense was on the field a lot more than the offense. Coach Koetter said there were eight defensive players that played 70 or more plays. The Eagles' offense had the ball for 35:39 in contrast to the Bucs' 24:21. The Bucs had an average scoring drive of just 1:21 and even that's skewed given that the two 75-yard touchdowns at the hands of Jackson and Howard took just 11 and 12 seconds each. The Bucs' offense is going to have to give the defense a little bit more time off the field if it doesn't want to have to put up four scores or more every outing.