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> The red-hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers scoff at the notion that their
liny195
сообщение 7.1.2019, 6:15
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first 2-0 start in eight years is a surprise."I think that's where we expected to be Cheap Jameis Winston Jersey ," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said after throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's 27-21 victory over the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles."I don't know if everybody else expected us to be there," the 14th-year pro filling in for suspended starter Jameis Winston said, "but we're just going to continue to ride this momentum."Next up is a prime-time matchup next Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.Suddenly, what once looked like a potentially tough start to the season with Winston serving a three-game ban for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy is turning into one of the league's best feel-good stories.The Bucs, coming off a 5-11 finish last season, haven't made the playoffs since 2007."You can't peak too early. We have a lot of football left," receiver DeSean Jackson said. "I just know this team and this locker room is a different team than how we were last year."So are the Eagles (1-1), who fell behind on Jackson's 75-yard TD reception of the first play of the game and never fully recovered.Nick Foles threw for 334 yards and one TD without an interception, however an injury-decimated offense hurt itself with turnovers, penalties and other mistakes.The loss left Eagles coach Doug Pederson in no mood to draw comparisons to last season."I'm not going to go back and pull out old memories," Pederson said. "New team, new faces. We've got our own set of circumstances now."Some things to know about the Bucs' victory over the defending Super Bowl champs:FAST STARTFitzpatrick threw for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns for the second straight week. In addition to teaming with Jackson on the first play from scrimmage, the 35-year-old quarterback connected with tight end O.J. Howard on a 75-yard scoring play in the second quarter.Chris Godwin and Mike Evans had TD catches, too, and Jackson finished with four receptions for 129 yards."It's unbelievable," Jackson said of Fitzpatrick, who thrown for 819 yards and accounted for nine TDs in two games. "He's playing out of this world right now."SLOW STARTPhiladelphia's defense yielded 271 yards passing and three touchdowns in the first half. The offense, already playing without Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery and Darren Sproles, wasn't helped by losing running back Jay Ajayi, receiver Mike Wallace and left tackle Jason Peters in the first half.Nick Foles wound up throwing for 334 yards, but by the time the Eagles began to move the ball consistently they trailed 27-7."A lot of self-inflicted wounds," Pederson said of his team's sloppy play early."Guys step up all the time and that's what we did," Foles said. "We gave ourselves an opportunity to win this game."NO TIME TO PANICFoles Ryan Fitzpatrick Jersey , who stepped in for Wentz after the Eagles lost their starting quarterback to injury late last season, tried to put the loss and the team's offensive woes in perspective."We didn't win every single game last year. I think people forget that," Foles said. "There's a lot of expectations for us, but we can't put that kind of pressure on ourselves."Nelson Agholor's 2-yard TD reception trimmed Philadelphia's deficit to 27-21 with 2:46 remaining."We had our shots. I just feel like if we had got that ball back one more time, we would have a chance to try to win it," Peters said. "But we were pinned back there with 20 seconds left and we didn't have a lot of options."THE LAST TIMEThe Bucs are 2-0 for only the second time since 2005, when they went on to finish 11-5. They also won their first two on the way to a 10-6 record in 2010, but did not earn a playoff berth. The 2016 Buccaneers draft class has taken some lumps. This, we all know. But Tampa Bay hasn’t given up on the crop just yet, and despite Vernon Hargreaves III being placed on injured reserve, there’s still hope this group will make a positive impact on the 2018 defense. His name is Ryan Smith.Smith, like many members of this class who are still around the team came in with a lot of cold eyes on him. There hasn’t been a lot of patience surrounding his name when viewed on Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever other method you use to converse with other Bucs fans.Still, he was kept. Not just kept, but activated. While second-round pick Ronald Jones stands on the sidelines inactive, Smith is playing and playing significant snaps.In his first two years the North Carolina Central University product saw his rookie snap count on defense jump from under 250 to nearly 600 in 2017. Two weeks into 2018, he’s already played over 100 snaps on defense alone.His playing time has certainly been boosted by the absence of veteran Brent Grimes for the first two games, and also by the aforementioned injury to Hargreaves. Evidenced by the facthis snap count jumped nearly 30 from Week 1 to Week 2. So, while the team chose to keep him active, it wasn’t necessarily the plan for him to be a featured member of the defense. Rather, most of his participation was expected to be on special teams where he and Josh Robinson formed one of the better gunner duos in the league until Robinson was released this pre-season.And while Smith hasn’t necessarily earned his increase, it appeared against Philadelphia he was ready for it.There’s never been any question the 25-year old has athletic talent. He’s fast and has shown flashes of the range the Bucs likely saw when they tried to make him a safety coming out of college.What was missing was production and the conversion of athleticism into ability. And fans of the team spent much of last season on edge waiting for opposing quarterbacks to target him, fearing he was the weakest link in one of the worst past defenses in the league.In Week 1 Cheap Carlton Davis Jersey , Smith had three tackles on defense and one on special teams. In Week 2, he walked away with seven and two respectfully. Doubling his previous week’s totals. He had one pass defended in New Orleans. At home against Philly, he broke up three, including one intended for tight end Zach Ertz as the Eagles tried to pull closer with the score at 27-7.The Eagles did end up scoring on the same drive. However, following the pass breakup by Smith, another two minutes ticked off the clock before they found the end zone. Obviously we’d all prefer they don’t score at all, but we can’t deny how important those two minutes coming off the clock turned out to be.After two games this season, and with the unexpected increase in workload, Smith is on pace to collect over 100 combined tackles and has three passes defended. His previous career highs are 62 and five, both from last season.More importantly than the numbers are the values in those numbers. Like the pass defended in the end zone, Smith made some important tackles. The one most fans will remember came against punt returner Nelson Agholor.His chances of reaching those numbers will depend in large part on the recovery of Grimes. Once he returns, Smith’s snaps will likely drop again, but not quite as low as they once were. On his Week 2 performance, Smith had this to say,Pretty humble considering he just had the best game of his still young career. This according to his own head coach. I don’t know how many press conferences you watch, but normally if coach Koetter gets emotional, it’s either in a joking manner or in a bit of anger.This is not the emotion we saw when speaking about Smith. It shows just how much the coaches believe in Smith and how much they’ve invested into him. To see him come up big when they needed him most this season is a big step in the right direction. However, careers are not made with steps. They’re made with strides.If Grimes can’t go again for a big Week 3 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night, not only is Smith going to have another increased role on the defense, he’s going to have all of the lights and sounds of prime-time football to deal with.Oh, and then there’s Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster to deal with as well.Here’s hoping the solid start to this season is a sign of better things to come. We have to imagine there will be setbacks. Smith is not a finished product. But if we saw anything out of him on the field in Tampa Bay this weekend, it was justification as to why the team has kept him around.And people are taking notice.
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