After trailing early for the second consecutive week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stormed back quickly with a 45-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bucs move to 5-2, firing on all cylinders in every phase of the game. The Raiders drop to 3-3 as their uneven start to the season leaves a lot to be desired.
Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.
Story Of The Game
Tom Brady turned in another stellar performance alongside longtime teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady finished 33-for-45 for 370 yards and five touchdowns, with Gronkowski reeling in five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. The connection between these two swung the momentum of the game, and the Raiders defense shuffled through linebackers only to find that nobody could effectively cover the Hall of Fame tight end.
Brady recorded four touchdowns and three interceptions in his first two games for Tampa Bay. But, in the last five games, he now has 16 touchdowns and one interception, elevating the Bucs to legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin returned from his hamstring injury to catch all nine of his targets for 88 yards and one score. There is no secondary in the NFL that will be able to slow down the Bucs passing game once Antonio Brown lands in this already stacked receiving corps.
Aggressive Derek Carr will always be the best version of himself. He finished 2019 with the league’s highest checkdown percentage (11.1%) but showed a willingness today to take shots downfield. Carr completed three passes that traveled 20 yards or more, despite facing pressure on 29.3% of his dropbacks.
Four starters along the Raiders’ offensive line missed significant practice time when Trent Brown tested positive for COVID-19, and the lack of preparation showed. Gabe Jackson’s ejection only made matters worse, and the Bucs defense generated 16 total pressures.
Both teams looked anemic running the football, averaging less than a yard before contact and generating a negative EPA figure per play. Fans in Tampa Bay should not be concerned about this, considering how well Ronald Jones looked the past three weeks. But for Las Vegas, with a running back as talented as Josh Jacobs, sound the alarm.
Simply put, the Raiders defense looked overmatched; Brady faced virtually no pressure and picked the secondary to pieces with almost everyone in his arsenal.
Defensively, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. recorded his first NFL interception. The second-round pick out of the University of Minnesota missed one snap on defense but surrendered nothing in coverage.
Wide receiver Henry Ruggs III caught two passes for 35 yards, and 28 came after the catch. He logged the only notable performance among the Raiders rookies.
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