On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(3-2) were defeated on the road by the Chicago Bears(4-1) 20-19, but one bright spot in the loss was the play of running back Ronald Jones II.
The 23-year-old Jones had his second straight 100-yard game on Thursday night. Jones rushed for 106 yards on 17 carries, including a 37-yard scamper. With injuries to Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, Jones has been getting the bulk of the carries for Tampa Bay, and according to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, Jones is playing at a high level.
“I think RoJo (Ronald Jones II), he’s playing at an extremely high level,” Arians said on Friday. “I still can’t believe he didn’t get his touchdown where he made that catch, but that is the rule that you don’t get the forward progress after they blow the whistle. He’s running the ball well [and] making people miss, [getting to the] second level and making people miss.”
Arians is not the only one happy about Jones’ play. Buccaneers QB Tom Brady was also very complimentary of the third-year running back.
“Yeah, he played great,” Brady said about Jones on Thursday after the loss to Chicago. “Explosive runs and ran hard and took care of the football, and he’s a great runner. He’s just doing a great job for us. It was a short week. We knew there was some contingency, and hoping other guys get healthy, but it just wasn’t the case. He played really hard, and he played great.”
After five games, Jones has 74 carries for 359 yards and one touchdown. The 74 carries are fifth-most in the league and 359 yards is the third-most in the NFL at this stage of the season. Additionally, Jones is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Now, when Fournette and McCoy are healthy, Jones’ workload will probably be reduced, but he’s the number one back for this team, so he’s going to get his touches, and after what we have seen the last two weeks, that’s not a bad thing for the Buccaneers.
Tom Brady’s performance against the Charger is receiving a lot of recognition. Earlier on Wednesday, Brady was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, and later in the day, Brady named the FedEx Air Player of the Week for Week 4, marking the 11th time Brady has won this award in his career.
The 21-year veteran became the second quarterback in team history to win both awards in the same week.
Against the Los Angeles Chargers, Brady completed 30-of-46 passes for 369 yards and five touchdowns, earning a 117.0 passer rating in a 38-31 Buccaneers win. The win marked the 222nd of Brady’s NFL career, surpassing his former teammate Adam Vinatieri for the most wins by a player in NFL history. To secure that milestone win, Brady helped Tampa Bay overcome a 17-point deficit, marking the 34th time that Brady has led his team to a win after trailing by 10-or-more points – the most-such comeback wins in league history.
Brady’s team-record-tying five touchdown passes were the most by any player in Week 4, while his 369 passing yards ranked second in the league. He threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns in a game for the seventh time in the regular season, tying Peyton Manning for the second-most such games in NFL history. He also tied Manning for 300-yard passing games, notching the 93rd of his career.
On Sunday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had Buccaneers fans thinking about 2019 when the Chargers’ Michael Davis intercepted Brady and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Ultimately, Brady and the Buccaneers would be down 24-7 in the second quarter, but unlike last season when Jameis Winston threw 30 interceptions, the Buccaneers would turn things around. After the pick-six, Brady would throw four touchdowns, and Tampa Bay would defeat Los Angeles at home 38-31.
The 43-year-old Brady would finish the game 30/46 for 369 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception.
“He’s the G.O.A.T,” Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis said after the game. “That’s as simple as I can put it. He’s the G.O.A.T. – Tom Brady. He’s a great player, even better to play off of him. Having him go down and score touchdowns gives us a lot more energy on our sidelines and just gives the whole sideline more confidence and the comeback we had today.”
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians added: “I thought he just played outstanding. I just have to coach him up better on that one play and just get it coached better. He played fantastic and was lights out in the second half.”
The Buccaneers got the victory on Sunday, but Brady would like to see Tampa Bay play well for the whole game.
“We put ourselves in a pretty good hole, and we were going to have to dig our way out of it. That’s just the way football works sometimes – just have to tighten some things up,” Brady said. “Glad we came back – defense made a big play for us before the end of the [first] half, and that got us ignited a little bit. We made some plays in the third quarter and made some good plays in the fourth quarter. Started the game well [and] finished the game well – that middle part – we have to figure out how to play 60 minutes well.”
According to Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, who had seven receptions for 122 yards and one touchdown on Sunday, Tampa Bay needs Brady to play the way he did on Sunday to be a great team in 2020.
“We all know his track record and his résumé,” Evans said about Brady. “It speaks for itself. We need him to play like that week-in and week-out if we want to be the special team that we think we are capable of being. We have to utmost confidence in Tom [Brady]. He had a hell of a game today.”
If Brady does play at this level the rest of the way, the Buccaneers 2020 season could be very special.
In 2007, then Patriots WR Randy Moss had the best season of his Hall of Fame career. Moss had an NFL record 23 receiving touchdowns that season, and the guy who threw Moss those touchdown passes, Tom Brady, threw a then NFL record 50 touchdown passes. The Patriots went undefeated in the regular season that year, and while it did not end with a championship for Brady, it was probably his best season.
Fast forward to 2020, Brady is now 43 years old and is playing with another big-time receiver in Mike Evans. The 27-year-old Evans has been over one-thousand receiving yards in each of the first six seasons of his career. Ironically enough, the three-time Pro Bowler joined Moss as the only wide receivers to have over one-thousand receiving yards in each of their first six seasons in the NFL.
Like Moss, Evans is tall and athletic, and on Thursday, Brady was asked to compare Evans and Moss. According to Brady, Evans could join Moss in the Hall of Fame.
“From a physical standpoint – both [have] big bodies, big catch radiuses, and great body control,” Brady said. “[They have] great understanding of the game – feel, instincts, [etc.]. Randy is a Hall of Famer. I think Mike is going to be one too, and it’s been amazing to play with him.
“I love playing with Mike. He’s been just spectacular from the day I met him. I admired him from afar for a long time. I’m just blessed to play with him and Chris [Godwin with] what he’s accomplished in his short time in the NFL. I think those two guys really lead the charge for our receivers, and they’re great mentors for the young players we have. We’re just going to keep working hard every day to try and be on the same page more and more.”
After two games with Brady this season, Evans, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury, has eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdown receptions.
Moss is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, and yes, if Evans keeps playing at a high level, he could join Moss, and eventually, Brady in the Hall of Fame.
On this edition of the Go4it podcast, we were joined by Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, who talked the Chiefs and his belief that their offense could be better this season, the Saints victory over Tampa Bay, Tom Brady, Cam Newton performance against Miami, and Roaf gave his thoughts on the NBA playoffs.
After the acquisition of Tom Brady in the offseason, many were ready to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Lombardi Trophy. However, after losing to the Saints in the season-opener last Sunday, the same people prepared to crown the Buccaneers(0-1) are now the same people ready to jump off the bandwagon, which Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discussed on Wednesday.
“I was amused when they handed us the Lombardi trophy in July,” Arians said. “It’s part of the business. You go with it, and it’s one week at a time [and] one day at a time. We win a few games in a row, and everybody will be back on the bandwagon [and] happy. It’s just part of the game. If we lose this week, the world will come to an end.”
The NFL is a week-to-week league. Meaning one week, a team can look like world-beaters, and the following week, a team can look very bad. Tampa definitely did not play their best football against the Saints. However, after watching the film, Arians believes all that went wrong can be corrected.
“You’re very disappointed [after the game], and then you look at it, and you take all the good things that happened,” he said. “The things that were bad – could they be correctable? They were very correctable, and we’re on to Carolina now.”
Additionally, there won’t be many times when Brady will throw two interceptions in a game, which he did against the Saints. After that game, Arians was critical of Brady, but according to Arians, he and Brady are on the same page.
“Tom and I are fine, so I don’t really care what other people think,” he said. “It’s just what he and I think. We left the stadium fine [and] we showed up today fine, so there [is] nothing to talk about.”
Tampa Bay has a chance to get right in their home opener against another division foe, the Carolina Panthers(0-1), who also lost in their season-opener against the Raiders, so both teams will be desperate for a win on Sunday. According to the USA Today, since 2007, 107 teams have started 0-2. Only 11.2% of those teams turned things around to make the playoffs.
If the Buccaneers lose against the Panthers, fans will panic, and many will continue to jump off the bandwagon. But, at this point, it’s never wise to bet against Brady.
The first two seasons of Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Rosen’s career has been very interesting. After being selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 NFL Draft, Rosen, who started 13 games as a rookie, was expected to be the team’s franchise quarterback. But after one season and a coaching change in Arizona, which led to the Cardinals selecting QB Kyler Murray with the number one overall pick in the 2019 draft, Rosen was traded to the Dolphins.
In Miami, Rosen began the season as the starter, but after three games, he was benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins would select QB Tua Tagovailoa in the first round. In early September, Rosen was waived by the Dolphins, and a few days later, Rosen was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad.
Now, Rosen has a chance to learn from Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and maybe the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady, which is exciting to the former UCLA product.
“It’s a privilege. It’s a privilege to be in a room with such a great quarterback,” Rosen said on Thursday. “I’ve never played for the Buccaneers before, obviously, but it feels a little bit like home with a couple familiar faces from Arizona. It’s nice to come take a breath and get to really learn some football from some of the best to ever do it coaching, and probably one of the best to ever do it playing.”
Obviously, it has been a struggle for the 23-year old Rosen, and he points to the time when the Dolphins benched him after three games as a turning point in his career.
“I think, for me, the turning point was getting benched in Miami after three games,” Rosen said. “That was like a big look in the mirror sort of situation for me where I kind of was like, ‘I’m literally playing behind probably one of the smartest quarterbacks to ever do it (Ryan Fitzpatrick), and you’re not absorbing information like you should.’ I was trying to be as self-critical as I could be and identify the problem. I was like, ‘I’m just going to see what this dude does. I’m going to mirror his schedule. I’m going to try and take every note that I possibly can.’ I started seeing the game very differently and going up to the line of scrimmage with a much better plan than I ever had before, and it started to show in practice. Film started to make a lot more sense to me. I thought I made some strides in practice through the end of last year, and I felt like I played really well at Miami’s training camp this year actually and was pretty proud of the work I put out there, which was encouraging to me.
“With this next step coming here to Tampa, obviously there aren’t training camp-like reps to go around, but you can always get better in any capacity. I think I’m just looking to continue on that improvement. Fitz has his style of play, and Tom [Brady] has his style of play, and they’re very different. I, myself, plan on having a different style of play, but it’s really interesting getting to understand those Mondays on explanations for why certain guys go certain places, and I’m really looking forward to getting here and getting to just experience how Tom goes about it.”
What happens with Rosen is anybody’s guess, but this is an excellent opportunity for him in Tampa Bay. Hopefully, for Rosen, he can seize the moment.