Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans who just experienced their first NFL game in person likely left Raymond James Stadium feeling little inspiration after a 19-14 Cincinnati Bengals victory that checked almost every box for ugly, early-season football. Bengals kickers Austin Seibert and Evan McPherson will split the game ball, as both made a pair of field goals.
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Joe Tryon flashes — The final first-round pick of the 2021 NFL Draft gave Bucs fans a peek at his physical tools on Saturday night. In the same second-quarter drive, Joe Tryon won a pass-rush rep that contributed to an acrobatic Javon Hagan interception that was immediately fumbled away and produced a sack that was negated by a dubious unnecessary roughness call on the very next play. Tryon is raw and physically imposing, but with Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul ahead of him on the depth chart, expect Tampa to take its time and use him in special situations.
New (and old) Tiger makes his first appearance — NFL reporter Dov Kleinman recently gave people, like me, some fodder for Ja’Marr Chase skepticism with his statement that Chase wasn’t separating consistently in camp. This has been an ongoing conversation about the LSU product since 2019, but the Bengals still see him as an outside receiver, and he played all six of his reps outside tonight, catching one pass on a screen. With a primary slot receiver in Tyler Boyd and a versatile threat in Tee Higgins, it’s clear that Cincinnati needs Chase to fit as the “X” to complete the WR room.
Kyle Trask has a difficult time — Kyle Trask hit the field to a brief ovation in the middle of the third quarter, and that was about all the support he received from anyone wearing his team’s colors. Trask finished the day with a 5-for-16 stat line — he had four passes dropped and was sacked twice. With veteran Ryan Griffin on the roster, Trask will be slotted as an emergency QB this season. After bringing back the contributors of last year's championship team, the roster can accommodate holding on to a third quarterback.
Tanner Hudson produces — The Buccaneers aren’t hurting for any production at the tight end position, but fourth-year player Tanner Hudson flashed his hands, with four catches and 48 yards in his 19 snaps, converting a couple of first downs in tight coverage. With Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard ahead of him, his ability in pass protection will ultimately decide whether he spends any time on the active roster.
Joseph Ossai’s early breakout — Third-round pick Joseph Ossai acquitted himself well in his preseason debut, recording a sack, five hurries and a tackle for loss across just 33 snaps. Ossai earned a 79.9 overall grade as Longhorn in 2020, with 37 total pressures and 13 tackles for loss or no gain. His rookie competition to break into the rotation, Darius Hodge, also put on a strong performance with two sacks, a tackle for loss and three hits on the QB.
Turnover galore — The ball changed hands an ungodly amount of times, with seven total turnovers between the teams. Griffin threw a pair of interceptions, as did Kyle Shurmur. Brandon Allen threw a pick, Samaje Perine fumbled on the Bengals' opening possession and Javon Hagan turned one of his forced turnovers into a turnover of his own. There were six total sacks, nine total tackles for loss and Tampa Bay totaled fewer than 200 yards of offense.