It’s been a real roller-coaster ride for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the first month of the season. After getting off to the hottest start in the league, the Bucs appear back where they left off in 2017: Mired in misery.
There is no denying the Bucs offense has been one of the league’s most potent this year, leading the league in pass yards per game. On his way to breaking NFL records, Ryan Fitzpatrick reinvigorated the franchise with the beginnings of a new identity.
Unfortunately the good works of the offense under Fitzpatrick’s leadership were undone in Weeks 3 and 4 by the league’s worst defense, which allowed 139 points in just four games. Indeed the 2018 Bucs are the NFL’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
There are plenty of accolades to go around the Tampa Bay locker room, but rebukes, too. Here are the Bucs’ 2018 quarter-season awards:
Who else would it be? “Fitzmagic” led the Bucs to two massive wins over the defending NFC South and Super Bowl champions and set an NFL record by throwing for 400 yards in three consecutive games.
Statistically, Fitzpatrick could not have had a better month. He leads the NFL in yards per attempt (10.5) and is in the top five in pass yards (1356), touchdowns (11), yards per game (339), pass plays over 20 yards (20), and quarterback rating (114). All this in three and a half games.
Fitzpatrick is unlikely to emerge from the Bucs’ bye week as the starter with Jameis Winston returning from suspension. Nevertheless the Bucs have the Harvard-educated journeyman to thank for putting them in the thick of the NFC South race at the season’s quarter point.