THE WAIT IS OVER
Tampa Bay demolished Detroit 47-7 on Saturday at Ford Field in a game where the outcome was determined by halftime. The Bucs advanced to 10-5 on the 2020 season and the Lions dropped to 5-10 on the campaign. The victory guaranteed the Buccaneers a slot in the postseason. Yes, folks, you are not dreaming. That ended a 13-year run of no playoff appearance frustration for the Pewter Pirates and their fans.
The Bucs wasted little time in taking the lead as they dented the scoreboard at 11:43 of the opening 15 minutes. After taking the kickoff, QB Tom Brady (22-of-27 for 348 yards and 4 TDs with 0 INTs in 30 minutes of game time) connected with TE Rob Gronkowski down the right sideline with a 33-yard strike. That ended a 77 yard drive that took six plays and 3:17. The usually reliable K Ryan Succup banked the extra point off the right upright keeping the Buccaneers lead at 6-0.
Tampa Bay added to their lead at 7:39 of the first period.
This time, it was Brady finding WR Mike Evans (10 for 181 yards and 2 TDs) with a 27-yard aerial. This took only four plays to traverse 80 yards in 2:06. This time Succup converted the PAT and the Buccaneers moved ahead by a 13-0 count.
The Pewter Pirates put more points on the board at 11:51 of the second period. RB Leonard Fournette powered up the middle from four yards out. That finished off a 51- yard drive that took 2:24 and six plays. Succop was true and the Tampa Bay lead ballooned to 20-zip.
TB scored again at the 4:52 mark of the second quarter and it was through the air. Brady found WR Chris Godwin who made an outstanding grab on a seven-yard pass. That ended a 91-yard drive that took seven plays and 4:10 of clock time. Succop was true and the rout was on as the Buccaneers took a 27-0 advantage.
The Bucs were not done
they added more markers with 74 seconds left in the first half. Brady threaded the needle to WR Antonio Brown in the back of the end zone to complete a 12-yard TD pass. This drive took nine plays to travel 76 yards in 2:06. Succop added the extra point to stretch the lead to 34-0 and, for all intents and purposes, the only drama left was what the final score would be.
It didn’t help the Lions cause that starting QB Matthew Stafford went out after the first series with an ankle injury and never returned. It also was a bad omen for Detroit that, on their first play after receiving the second half kick, they fumbled the pigskin that was recovered by S Jordan Whitehead setting the Bucs up at the Motor City Guys 25-yard line.
Tampa Bay took advantage of the gift and changed the count at 14:50. It only took one play and five seconds after the turnover for backup QB Blaine Gabbert to hit Gronkowski over the middle for six. Succop missed his second PAT, this one was wide right, but it was not catastrophic as the Pewter Pirates extended their advantage to 40-nil.
Finally, the Lions got on the scoreboard
at 9:20 of the third quarter with a special teams score. PR Jamal Agnew took P Bradley Pinion’s 49-yard punt 74 yards to the house. That ended the shutout but kept the Bucs on top at 40-7.
The Buccaneers answered that score with one of their own at 7:07 of the third period. Gabbert threw his second TD toss, this time to Evans, for a 22-yard score. That drive took four plays to go 73 yards in 2:13. Succop was good with this kick and the arithmetic now read 47-7 in favor of the guys in the white jerseys and that would culminate the scoring.
Tampa Bay now gets ready to take on division rival Atlanta to close out the 2020 regular season on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. With the Bucs as a Wild Card, they will have to travel whether they win or lose.
That destination will be determined by a lot of factors. We do know it will either be to the champions of the NFC West (either Los Angeles or Seattle) or East (can be any of the four teams).
So, the Buccaneers will be road warriors. Rob Kriete and I will keep you informed as to where the Bucs destination will be. Enjoy.