Week five of the NFL season kicked off with a great Thursday-night-football matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots. The game was held in Tampa in humid heat that hovered around 80 degrees for the entire game.
The Bucs entered the game 2-1 coming off a week four win against the dismal New York Giants. Meanwhile, the Patriots had just lost a tough game against Cam Newton and the Panthers to bring their record to 2-2.
From the very beginning, this game was set to be a battle between two great quarterbacks. Jameis Winston is currently in the third season of a great career—this year his stats have been flying up as he matures into the next great quarterback of the NFL. Tom Brady entered the week in MVP form and has had a magnificent season so far, despite being the ripe old age of 40. He led the league entering the week with 1,399 passing yards.
The Patriots had a slow start as Brady threw his first interception of the season. The Buccaneers front line would trouble Brady all day with six QB hits, three sacks, and three pass deflections. This came as a surprise, as the Buccaneers had only recorded one sack in the previous weeks. Because of the three sacks he took on Thursday, Brady has officially been sacked more within the last five weeks than he was all last season.
The Patriots drew first blood in the game by kicking a 27-yard field goal to top off an 89-yard drive. A few drives later the Buccaneers drove 68 yards and scored the first touchdown of the game on a one-yard run by Doug Martin. The Patriots quickly responded with a five-yard dart to Chris Hogan. Chris Hogan has now scored five touchdowns in five games.
The score entering the half was 13-7, with the Patriots in the lead, after a Gostkowski field goal with forty seconds left in the half. The Patriots fell into some trouble in the second half after their lead was reduced to two points with only two minutes remaining in the game. The Buccaneers had a failed onside kick and let the Patriots waste a minute of clock and score a lead-increasing field goal. Jameis Winston made this very interesting as he marched to the Patriots redzone. However, his efforts were stopped at the 19-yard line after an incomplete attempt at the end zone.
Things to note:
The Buccaneers kicker, Nick Folk, missed all three of his field goals (56, 49, and 31 yards) while Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski made all four of his (27, 23, 45, and 48 yards).
With the three sacks he took on Thursday, Brady has officially been sacked more through five weeks than he was all last season.
After the game Jameis Winston spoke to Tom Brady in the tunnel to let him know how much he looked up to him.
Chris Hogan has five touchdowns in five games and has the second most in the NFL in the category.
The Patriots had two drives stopped short of the endzone inside of the Tampa Bay ten-yard line.
Despite all five starters returning from last season, the Patriots offensive line has played terribly all season.
The Patriots defense starred on a day when the offense was struggling to reach the endzone.
Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin averaged 5.7 yards per carry in his first game back after serving a four game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
The Patriots have been making aggressive moves on their roster as they signed DB Alex Carter and OL Cole Toner to the practice squad while releasing third string QB Taylor Heinecke and OL Jason King. This move is obviously an attempt to address deficiencies on the roster in the DB and OL positions. Dropping their third quarterback is a risky move as Brady has been under attack all year and the Patriots are usually very uncomfortable with only two QBs.
The Patriots have opened as eleven-point favorites on their AFC East rival, the New York Jets (3-2). The Jets have had a surprisingly decent year so far after many experts predicted in the preseason that the team would go 0-16 this year. The Patriots should dominate on both sides of the ball and walk out with a 4-2 record. The teams meet on Sunday, October 15th, at 1:00 PM in Rutherford, New Jersey.