Bucs running game, defense can make Tom Brady’s job easier

TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady likes the way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened the season, showing a greater commitment to running the ball as well as a strong, confident defense that can make the 45 quarterback’s job a little easier year.

“The running game, the defense, that will win you a lot of games in the NFL,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion said after a 19-3 win over Dallas, improving his all-time record to 7-0 against the Cowboys. .

They can also help the Bucs (1-0) protect Brady as a revamped offensive line, with two new young starters, coalesces following the loss of two veterans in training camp and plays part of the game. Sunday night opener without injured left tackle Donovan Smith.

“We’re less into throwing the ball and controlling the game… playing great defense and getting turnovers,” said Brady, who was 21 of 27 for 212 yards, one touchdown and one interception after leading the league in completions, attempts, passes. yards and touchdowns last year.

“I think we did a decent job moving the ball around, we just couldn’t get it into the end zone,” Brady said. “There are a lot of things to clean up.”

While a more balanced approach to offense was influenced by several factors, including a desire to slow down Dallas’ pass rush led by Micah Parsons and the hyperextended elbow that swept Smith away in the second half. , coach Todd Bowles stressed that it made sense to stick to running. game against the Cowboys.

“We were having success, we were eating the clock, so we stuck with it,” Bowles said.

Fournette carried 21 times for 127 of Tampa Bay’s 152 rushing yards. He also had two receptions for 10 yards.

The defense, bolstered by the offseason addition of tackle Akiem Hicks and a healthy secondary, did its part in shutting down the Cowboys after giving up a field goal in the game’s first practice.

Dallas, which led the league in offense and scoring last season, was limited to 12 first downs and 244 total yards on offense.

It’s as dominant a defensive performance as Tampa Bay has had since the Bucs thwarted Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl season two years ago.

Linebacker Devin White set the tone for the defense with eight tackles and two of Tampa Bay’s four sacks. The fourth-year professional also received rave reviews from Bowles, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to coach when Bruce Arians retired in March.

“It wasn’t just the pass rush. It was the way he executed and led the defense,” Bowles said. “He was sort of the quarterback there. Understand trainings and (make) the right calls and checks. …I think he did a great job.

The Bucs settled for four field goals in the first half. They finished with a total offense of 347 yards, but entered the end zone only once – on Brady’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans in the third quarter.

“I think the defense has been terrific,” Brady said. “Offensively, I think we can do a lot better than that. … We’re going to have to.

WR Julio Jones. Slowed by injuries that have limited his output with Atlanta and Tennessee for the past two seasons, he looked good on his Bucs debut with three receptions for 69 yards, including a 48-yard catch that was the most big pass of the game.

If there was one downside to the opener, it was WR Chris Godwin who left with a hamstring injury after being cleared to play on Sunday night just eight months after undergoing surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament, as well as the medial collateral ligament, to its right. knee.

Bowles said Godwin’s hamstring injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as the team initially feared. “It all depends on how his treatment goes and how he heals. I hope he will be back as soon as possible,” the coach said. … Smith, meanwhile, has a hyperextended elbow and will be monitored during the week. “It’s a pain tolerance thing, so he’s pretty sore right now,” Bowles said.

5 — After being penalized 11 times in a season-opening two-point win over the Cowboys in Tampa last September, the Bucs have only been flagged five times on Sunday night, which Bowles says is ” still a bit too much.”

The Bucs travel to New Orleans next Sunday to take on NFC South rival Saints, who have won all four regular season meetings between the teams since Brady signed with Tampa Bay in 2020. Of course, the Bucs Brady-led Bucs won a playoff. game in New Orleans during the Tampa Bay Super Bowl race.

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