Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady rides uneven day to first win

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their first win despite an uneven day from Tom Brady.

Week 2 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was certainly more satisfying than the first week of the season. The team came away with their first win of the season and showed flashes the team’s true potential. Unfortunately for Tom Brady, although he looked solid in the first half, his numbers dipped in the second half as the Carolina Panthers played their way back into the game.

With Brady and the passing game struggling, the Buccaneers had to lean on the running game to seal the win for the team. Brady was not horrible but he did manage to have some shaky throws and the numbers were not truly indicative of how he played on the day. Brady finished the day with 217 yards and he was 23 out of 35 passing attempts.

The 65 percent completion rate is good but Brady also threw another interception and was involved in a fumble on a handoff during a draw play to Ronald Jones. Although it is likely the fault of Jones, the fact they were not completely in sync shows Brady’s assimilation to the offense is still an ongoing process.

Brady threw one touchdown to Mike Evans on a back-shoulder throw that was a good idea and well-executed. The pass was one where Brady had a nice, clean pocket and threw a good pass to Evans who adjusted very nicely for the touchdown.

He had another potential touchdown dropped by LeSean McCoy. Both the throw to McCoy and Evans were two of his best during the day. They both showed how effective Brady can still be when he is given a clean pocket.

Brady also missed another potential touchdown in the first half with a completed pass to Justin Watson. Watson was ahead of all defenders, but the pass was wobbly and terribly underthrown. The throw caused Watson to break stride to make the catch, and what should have been a touchdown was instead only a 36-yard completion.

Fortunately for Brady and the Buccaneers, the team still wound up with a touchdown on the drive.

Throughout the second half, Brady was plagued by both drops and inconsistency. He was most in rhythm when throwing to Evans or short passes to his running backs. Carolina turned up the pressure in the second half and left tackle Donovan Smith was routinely getting beat by a Brian Burns spin move. Carolina was only credited with one hit and zero sacks, but the pressure surely was in Brady’s head.

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Brady’s lack of comfort with his tight ends could be troubling but Bruce Arians often does not maximize on throws to the position and it is starting to look like this will not change just for Brady’s benefit. On the plus side, he seemed much more in sync with Evans and, hopefully, the offense can look even more potent next week when Chris Godwin returns.