New England marched into Tampa, the one National Football League city where Patriots coach Bill Belichick had never won a regular-season game, and weathered those self-inflicted errors, most of which came on offense.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski #3 of the New England Patriots and punter Ryan Allen #6 watch Gostkowski's 45-yard field goal during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 5, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Patriots had two penalties on special teams, one came on Brandon Bolden who was off sides cost the Patriots the chance of getting the ball back on 4th downfield. It was certainly the kind of performance the defense needed.
"I think it really helped settled the game plan down, knowing we've got Steph on Evans, Malcolm on Jackson", McCourty said. And second, this is a game the Bills should win. Quarterback Tom Brady with 1,399 yards and 10 touchdowns leads NFL. They would get things going once the second quarter rolled around, as Tom Brady completed 13 consecutive passes between the second and third quarter. That was also the second-longest span of attempts without an interception in Brady's career. Through three games, the Bucs have a grand total of one sack. Realistic ones with a high-octane offense and a defense loaded with playmakers. We were letting them score, letting the offenses go back and forth. As more of a one-dimensional attack, it has allowed opponents to have a better read on when to dial up pressure.
There were a few defensive penalties that kept drives going and almost led to the team shooting themselves in the foot once again. That first one right before the half, the 56-yarder or whatever it was, it was pretty windy down there.
Still, it was far from flawless overall, as evidenced by two bone-headed penalties for roughing the passer at the end of the second quarter that inexcusably gave the Buccaneers a chance at a 56-yard field goal.
"We had two weeks in a row (where) we've had far too many penalties", Belichick said. That's about the best that can be said for a game that will eventually go down as the door opening for a defensive turnaround, or remembered as just another lackluster Thursday night game.
Howard started for Tampa Bay, but didn't have a reception in the game.
This team still has some work to do, including some internal issues. Jameis Winston would lead Tampa Bay on a drive to end the quarter.
There was one solid positive, however, for the defending Super Bowl champs.
This week's early game shapes up to be a huge game. They didn't do much with it, of course, but the result of that foul was that when possession was finally exchanged, Brady's offense was again backed up to its 6-yard line. Its ironic but they could have done better than what they had tonight. I can't imagine the Patriots won't be active, sniffing around for pass rushers or some recycled Belichick player they can plug into the mix, for chemistry's sake if nothing else.