The Buccaneers won their second straight game Sunday in Miami Gardens, breaking a six-game road losing streak in the process. Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s instant analysis from Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win over the Miami Dolphins:
WINNING IS WINNING
Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud: Oh so you want style points, too? The score looks better after the crazy TD to end the game. But the Bucs are 2-0 with Jameis Winston on the shelf with a shoulder injury. On the other hand, even though Ryan Fitzpatrick did enough to win, you can’t expect to keep finding teams that will give you the game.
FITZPATRICK COMES THROUGH
Greg Auman, @gregauman: It wasn’t pretty by any means, but with the game on the line, Fitzpatrick made three big throws to set up the go-ahead field goals. The Bucs defense worked hard to lose this game, but Miami proved to be even worse on Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT?
Tom Jones, @tomwjones: This might have been the worst NFL game I ever saw. The Dolphins committed a zillion penalties, but somehow the Bucs were in a dogfight until the very end. They survived and won on a late field goal. I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter how. The Bucs won. But, man, that was ugly. The Bucs will be fine for the rest of the season as long as they play teams as bad as the Dolphins.
HOW DID THEY DO THAT?
Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly: They won it. The Dolphins had four turnovers and 17 penalties … and the Bucs still blew a 20-7 lead. No matter. They won on a field goal by Patrick Money. The Bucs recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff as time ran out. Weirdness. But they’ve won two in a row and are 4-6. Is there really daylight here? Probably not. When does Jameis get back, anyway?
THE BRIGHT SPOT IN AN OTHERWISE UGLY SEASON
Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics: Is it safe to say the Bucs have solved their kicking situation? Just when it seemed as if Tampa Bay was on the verge of another collapse, Patrick Murray’s 35-yard field goal saved the day. He has now made 10 of his 12 field goals this season and all seven of his extra points. The only time we have to cover our eyes is when the offense is on the field. Go figure.
BAD BEATING WORSE
Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you: The Bucs won but the ability of the Dolphins to climb back in the game after four first-half turnovers speaks volumes about Tampa Bay’s deficiencies. Turnovers, more than 100 yards in penalties and the starting quarterback’s premature exit usually means certain victory for the opponent. With the Bucs, it just meant they had a chance at the end. This was simply bad beating worse.