Super Bowl Champs Head to Tampa
for Bucs Home Opener
Philadelphia (1-0) at Tampa (1-0)
Raymond James Stadium, kickoff 1 p.m.
After what could be modestly described as the ideal season opening – and emphatically described as one of the most dominant performances in the league in week 1 – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now turn their attention to their home opener this Sunday against the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Led by backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay posted a 48-40 win in New Orleans to open the season. Those 48 points were tied for the most in the league on the opening week of play.
This is no time to relax at One Buc Place, however, as the Eagles come to town fresh off a victory of their own. Philadelphia wasn’t quite as impressive as Tampa in its 18-12 win against Atlanta, but has had an extra three days to prepare for the Bucs after opening the season on Thursday night.
“Philly’s a really good football team in general,” Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said. “They’re the Super Bowl champs. With their starters playing, I think they’ve won seven games in a row….They’re a confident team, they’re a fast team, they’ve got a great front four, they’ve got an awesome O-line.”
About the Eagles
Not only did Philadelphia get off to a winning start, it also helped the Bucs out by capturing a win against an NFC South team.
It wasn’t exactly a dominant performance by the Eagles and it took them a little bit of trickery to capture the win against Atlanta. That’s something the Bucs will be on the lookout for Sunday afternoon.
“You’ve got to be alert for [trick plays],” Koetter said. “[Eagles coach Doug Pederson] has definitely shown that he’ll go for it on fourth down across the 50 [yard line]. He’s not afraid to go for two and he’s not afraid to run trick plays.”
Quarterback Nick Foles was the recipient of a pass on that trick play, converting a third down in Falcon’s territory that helped lead to a score in the third quarter. That was the highlight for Foles, who threw for 117 yards on the evening, completing 19-of-34 passes.
Foles is expected to be the man under center again this week, with Carson Wentz still sidelined with a knee injury he suffered last season.
About the Buccaneers
While Philadelphia plodded its way to a win in week 1, Fitzpatrick and the Bucs were on the fast track against New Orleans, piling up 529 yards of total offense. Fitzpatrick accounted for 417 of those yards through the air, throwing four touchdown passes and rushing for another. His performance helped him earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Fitzpatrick was able to spread the wealth around through the air, completing 147 yards worth of passes and a touchdown to Mike Evans, while also finding DeSean Jackson for two scores and Chris Godwin for another.
Fitzpatrick joins Washington’s Mark Rypien (11/10/91 vs. ATL) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 400 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions and rush for a touchdown in a single game.
Tampa’s defense also got in on the scoring against New Orleans when safety Justin Evans returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown. Since 2016, Tampa Bay is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions returned for touchdowns (5) and total defensive touchdowns (9).
The Eagles will see a couple of familiar faces on that Tampa defense this year when they face off against defensive tackle Beau Allen and defensive end Vinny Curry – two former Eagles who came to Tampa in the offseason.
“It’s always strange when you play guys that you know and you’re familiar with, but that’s just the nature of the NFL,” Allen said. “It’s definitely not chummy this week. We’ve got a football game to play and I really want to beat them.”
The Series at a Glance
Overall regular season series: Philadelphia leads series, 8-6 Tampa Home Record vs. Philadelphia: 2-4 Current Streak: Buccaneers, one win (2015)
Did you know?
This is the third year in a row the Buccaneers have hosted the defending Super Bowl Champions at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs played host to the Patriots last season, falling 19-14 a year after losing 27-7 to the defending champion Denver Broncos.
How to Watch
Watch locally on FOX with Kenny Albert calling the play-by-play and Ronde Barber providing color analysis and Tiki Barber reporting from the sideline.
How to Listen
Local Broadcast: 98ROCK (97.9 FM) Satellite Radio: Sirius/XM Channel 231
Monday Night Football vs. Pittsburgh (Raymond James Stadium), Monday, Sept. 24, 8:20 p.m.
More on previous Bucs highlights here.
Content provided by Shawn Lafata and the Tampa Bay Bucs