If you watch football, and in particular offensive football, it’s always fun to see big plays and touchdowns. However, as exciting as the Bucs made it Sunday at the Superdome with all of those Ryan Fitzpatrick passing yards, and touchdowns to the likes of DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, the real heroes were up front.
Yes, it’s not flashy, but the Buccaneers offensive line deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the job they did Sunday in the 48-40 win over the Saints.
Anchored by high-priced free-agent acquisition Ryan Jensen (celebrating above) at center, Tampa Bay kept a clean pocket in front of Fitzpatrick for the entire day. No sacks allowed, and only a couple of times was he even hit while throwing his 28 passes.
And on Monday afternoon, coach Dirk Koetter was all smiles, when talking about Jensen’s play and leadership and what the line as a whole, was able to do:
Tune in to head coach Dirk Koetter's day-after-game press conference! https://t.co/M9j69tc5ZV
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 10, 2018
“Ryan (Jensen) was a man possessed out there with the way he was finishing yesterday and he definitely set the tone. Our O-Line did play a nice game. To have zero sacks, even though we only attempted 28 passes, zero sacks against a team that is pretty good at rushing the passer was huge.” Koetter continued, “The way we ran the ball early, Peyton (Barber’s) first two touches were explosive runs. We didn’t run it as good in the middle of the game. Maybe would’ve liked to run a little bit better later, but everything starts with the O-line.”
The Bucs also have a pair of experienced tackles in Donovan Smith, who overcame a knee ligament sprain in preseason to start his 49th game in a row Sunday. And, they also have veteran right tackle Demar Dotson, who’s now in his 10th season. Those two repeatedly were able to handle the outside rush of the Saints one on one, and that was vital.
As Koetter mentioned, the Bucs ran the ball effectively in the first half with Peyton Barber, which helps set up the play-action, and that’s traced back to good offensive line play, as well. Even though they didn’t run it as well in the second half of the game, the Saints were reeling from the Bucs hitting them with big pass after big pass and had already built up a large lead.
It is only one game, and the Buccaneers will get from a Philly defense Fletcher Cox this week.
Still, it’s very encouraging to see the way they played Sunday and help the book offense put 41 of the 48 points on the board.
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