Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled to score points yet again, as the Baltimore Ravens ran their way to a 27-22 win on the road Thursday night.
Brady didn’t throw a touchdown pass until it was too late, though he had ample opportunity to do some damage with multiple red zone trips. But that’s just the way the things have been going for the Bucs in recent weeks, and for the first time in his 23-year career, Brady is 3-5 to start a season.
The timing and communication with his receivers have been spotty, and the same can be said in this contest as Brady was animated on the field and sideline when he wasn’t on the same page as his teammates.
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He finished the game with 325 yards on 26-for-44 with a touchdown pass to Julio Jones in their last-ditch effort to come back.
On the other sideline, things didn’t start off too hot for the Ravens, but the second half is where they made their mark. They scored 24 of their 27 points in the third and fourth quarters, including two touchdowns to kick off the second half.
The first was a five-yard catch for Kenyan Drake, and then rookie tight end Isaiah Likely found the end zone for the first time in his career on a 10-yard strike from a scrambling Lamar Jackson.
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But the run game, the Ravens’ bread and butter, is what helped them set the tone in the second half. Baltimore killed clock and racked up their points, with Devin Duvernay scoring on a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter to make it 24-13.
On their final drive, the Ravens virtually iced the game with a 40-yard run from Drake that set up another Justin Tucker field goal to make it 27-13 with not enough time for the Bucs to make a comeback.
The Ravens totaled 231 yards on the ground, with Gus Edwards the leader with 65 yards on 11 carries. Jackson totaled 43 yards on nine carries.
It was an inauspicious start for the Bucs, as Dee Delaney ran into Jaelon Darden on a punt return and the Ravens recovered it at the six-yard line after the defense forced a three-and-out to start the game.
However, the Bucs defense held Jackson’s group to three points, and Brady and the offense responded with an opening-drive touchdown.
Tampa Bay was running the ball like they have in the past on that first drive, with Leonard Fournette picking up positive yardage followed by Chris Godwin taking a short pass 44 yards to set up first-and-goal from the Ravens’ eight-yard line. Fournette would find the end zone on a one-yard rush.
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But Fournette would finish the game with just 24 yards on nine carries, and the Bucs had 44 total rushing yards.
Baltimore was also banged up in this one, as, tight end Mark Andrews, Jackson’s favorite target, wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Edwards were all considered questionable to begin the game. By the end of it, they were all out and Jackson had to work with what he had.
Players had to step up and they did.
Likely finished the game with a team-high 77 yards, while receiver Demarcus Robinson also totaled 64 yards on six catches.
For the Bucs, Mike Evans was the leading receiver with 123 yards on six receptions, including a 51-yard snag. Chris Godwin had 75 yards on six catches as well.
Now 3-4 on the season, losing their last three games, Brady and the Bucs will continue to be questioned about their struggles as their prepare for the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday at home.
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The Ravens will wait for Monday night next week when they head to New Orleans to take on the Saints.
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