For those that followed the Patriots at all in the past decade, it always felt like New England would lose at least one game a year to the lowly Dolphins.
Well, TB12 said “no thanks” to that unexpected loss this year, as the Bucs dominated the Dolphins 45-17 Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
The first half was relatively close, with the Bucs taking a 24-10 lead into halftime. The Dolphins then responded in the second half by narrowing the lead to 24-17, but then… you saw the final score.
Tampa Bay asserted its dominance over a banged-up Miami team, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to put the nail in the proverbial coffin. Brady had an eye-popping 411 yards and 5 touchdown passes, including a pair each to Antonio Brown and Mike Evans.
Leonard Fournette had a whale of a game, racking up 110 yards from scrimmage and a TD on the ground. Hauling in the other Tom Brady TD pass was 3rd-down back Gio Bernard, with a spectacular display of his amazing athleticism, flipping into the end zone in the first quarter to kick the scoring off for the Bucs.
While at some points defensively the Bucs still looked a little rough, it was encouraging to see the pass rush at least make Jacoby Brissett work really hard on seemingly every play, with 7 QB hits and 3 sacks as a team. Plus the unit managed to get a game-sealing pick from Jamel Dean in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Succop was perfect as usual, nailing all six extra points and the one regular field goal he attempted in a day where seemingly every kicker was having trouble with the point after attempts.
In some bad news, linebacker Lavonte David exited the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. News has yet to come out about the severity of the injury, but he was able to walk off pretty steadily under his own power. Hopefully holding David out of the game was more of a precautionary measure than anything else, but even if the former Cornhusker misses some time, backup Kevin Minter is more than a capable replacement.
Overall, not a bad day to be a Bucs fan. The Panthers fell to 3-2 after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 21-18, giving the Bucs sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Speaking of those young Eagles, the Bucs head to Philly this Thursday night for a game against quarterback Jalen Hurts and the aforementioned dirty birds. It will be the second Thursday night game of the year for the Bucs, although the first one was their first game of the season, so this one’s a little different.
Hopefully David is able to return for that game against the Eagles, because Philly’s offense can be incredibly hot-and-cold, but when it’s hot, the team can be very dynamic with the dual-threat Hurts at quarterback.
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