Best and Worst: Patriots 19, Buccaneers 14
WORST WAY TO START THE GAME
The Bucs won the coin toss and chose to defer, which didn’t seem like the end of the world for the Patriots. Their offense is their only sure thing anyway, so maybe they could at least start with the lead. Then Tom Brady threw a really bad ball intended for Chris Hogan that went for his first interception of the season.
BEST 31-YARD RUN BY DION LEWIS
In one play, Dion Lewis racked up more yards than he had in a single game all season. On a first-and-10 from the Tampa 45, Lewis broke off a 31-yard run to put the Pats in the red zone. New England had to settle for a field goal on the drive.
WORST ILLEGAL HANDS TO THE FACE TO RUIN A 3RD AND 20 AND EXTEND A DRIVE
A Deatrich Wise illegal hands to the face penalty in the second quarter ruined a 3rd and 20. Jameis Winston’s pass to Cameron Brate was incomplete on the play, but Wise’s penalty extended the drive via a first and 10 at the New England 28. The Bucs ended up scoring on that drive with a one-yard touchdown run from Doug Martin.
Speaking of which…
BEST RETURN FROM SUSPENSION
Doug Martin ran all over the Pats on that drive, including a 17-yard run. He finished his first game back from a PED-related suspension with 74 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown
Tom Brady and (earmuffs, Julian) Danny Amendola. A week after leaning on Amendola late, Brady repeatedly went to Amendola on third downs to convert Thursday night.
WORST FREE RIDE UP THE FIELD
The Bucs shouldn’t have had a chance at even a Hail Mary late in the first half, but back-to-back roughing the passer penalties — the second of which came with no time remaining — moved the Bucs from the Tampa 32 to the New England 28, giving the Bucs a crack at a field goal to end the half. Fortunately for the Pats, Nick Folks’ 56-yard attempt was short and wide right.
BEST HOLY SMOKES HE CAUGHT IT
Tom Brady threw a perfectly placed ball over James White’s shoulder in the second quarter that required a little extra for White to corral. Though he bobbled the ball as he caught it low on his torso while being tackled, White stuck with it and held on before he hit the ground. That put the Pats in the red zone, eventually leading to a touchdown from Brady to Chris Hogan.
Brandin Cooks heard footsteps as he dropped a ball over the middle on third-and-5 in the first quarter, but he made up for it early in the third quarter with back-to-back catches for 17 and 34 yards, respectively.
The Patriots’ color rush uniforms looked great. Unfortunately, they still had their silver helmets with their all-white uniforms because the NFL only allows teams to have one helmet. It’s the worst rule!
BEST AT GETTING STOPS ON 3RD DOWN
The Patriots. They stopped each of the Bucs’ first seven third-down conversion attempts.
The Bucs converted a third-and-2 in the fourth quarter with a pass to DeSean Jackson that went for 41 yards.
Nick Folk because the Bucs kept sending him out there to attempt super long kicks. He missed a 56-yarder and a 49-yarder. Once his confidence was good and ruined, he missed a key 31-yarder wide left that would've made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter.