The Patriots started the season by winning two close games. The Buccaneers started the season by losing two close games. When they met today, it wasn’t close.
The Patriots beat the Buccaneers easily, jumping out to a 17-3 halftime lead and coasting through the second half. The Bucs did march down the field and put together a nice drive in the first quarter to take an early 3-0 lead, but once the Patriots’ offense got going, this game was never in doubt. The final score was 23-3.
What’s also not in doubt is that the Patriots’ passing game is going to be in good shape as long as Tom Brady is healthy, even if all the new faces in the receiving corps have some growing pains. Brady put together a quiet but methodically effective game and looked fine even without Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola.
The Buccaneers looked anything but fine. They struggled on both sides of the ball, and Josh Freeman’s bad game is going to lead to increased chatter that Greg Schiano may soon decide to go with rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. At 0-3, the Bucs are going nowhere fast.
But at 3-0, the Patriots are once again looking like a team that will march to the playoffs. There will be hiccups along the way, but the Patriots will be just fine.