TAMPA — The Bucs didn't do rookie S Justin Evans any favors Thursday night, with injuries forcing him into his first NFL start against a prolific Patriots offense and Tom Brady.
Evans stepped up on the opening drive though, getting an interception on a pass from Brady that sailed high across the middle. It's the first career interception for the team's second-round pick out of Texas A&M, and almost as rare for Brady.
Brady entered the game with no interceptions in 155 passes this season, and the pick ended a streak of 264 passes without an interception, the second-longest streak of his 18-year NFL career.
RB Doug Martin made his debut after finishing the four-game suspension that started last season. He was welcomed with a loud cheer on his opening carry, a 7-yard gain on the team's second drive.
Martin ran the ball well, with gains of 11 and 17 yards to set up a run from the 11 that was initially ruled a touchdown. Replay showed his knee touched down with the ball at the 1, much like WR Mike Evans had a touchdown called back on replay in Sunday's win against the Giants.
On Sunday, the Bucs only got a field goal. On Thursday, they didn't mess around this time — on first and goal at the 1, they lined up nine wide on the offensive line and Martin dived over the top for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Undrafted rookie TE Antony Auclair was active for the first time and made his NFL debut. He was in on Martin's touchdown run as a blocker. … The Bucs also promoted S Isaiah Johnson from the practice squad to provide depth with T.J. Ward and Keith Tandy both inactive with hip injuries. Johnson made his NFL debut on special teams.
Lights up for Vegas
The Bucs held a moment of silence before the national anthem as fans were asked to hold up their cellphones with lights on in memory of the victims of this week's mass shooting in Las Vegas. The national anthem was sung without incident, with all players from both teams standing and no players kneeling in protest.
Off and running
Need a Bucs presence in your weekend after a Thursday game? The Bucs Care "Treasure Chests Finish at the 50" races will be Saturday morning at Raymond James Stadium, with more than 4,000 participants expected to take part.
The team's annual event to support the fight against breast cancer has a 5K, 10K and fun run, all coordinated to finish with runners coming out of the tunnel and end their runs on the 50-yard line in the stadium.
Registration is open for the event until 5 p.m. today.
This and that
Five members of the Bucs Ring of Honor were in attendance to honor late owner Malcolm Glazer getting inducted at halftime Thursday. Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp were there in their Pro Football Hall of Fame blazers, with Jimmie Giles, Paul Gruber and Mike Alstott also in attendance and on the field for the opening coin toss. … Special teams captain Josh Robinson left the game in the second quarter with a concussion and was ruled out for the rest of the game. … DE Ryan Russell left the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.