NFL Football

28
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Tampa Bay 10 13 5 0 28
Denver 0 10 0 0 10
10
1:25 PM PT2:25 PM MT3:25 PM CT4:25 PM ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 PM MST3:25 PM EST3:25 PM CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25 , September 27, 2020
Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado  Weather: 55°, Partly Cloudy  Attendance: 5,226

Buccaneers-Broncos Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos

  1. Denver has won seven of the nine all-time meetings with Tampa Bay, including each of the last four dating back to 2000. The Buccaneers have won just one of five trips to Denver, taking a 17-10 win on December 26, 1993.
  2. Tampa Bay scored 21 first-half points en route to a 31-17 victory over Carolina, its first win of the season. The Buccaneers allowed just 87 rushing yards, the 15th time since last season that they've held their opponents under 100 rushing yards; that's three more than the next-most in that span (Jets and Eagles, 12 each).
  3. Denver lost, 26-21, in Pittsburgh to fall to 0-2 for the second consecutive season, the first time the Broncos have started 0-2 in back-to-back seasons since doing so in four straight from 1963 to 1966. The Broncos have converted eight of their 24 third downs this season, tied for third-worst in the NFL.
  4. Leonard Fournette had 103 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries after recording just five yards on five carries in Week 1. Those 12 carries were the fifth fewest by a 100-yard rusher in franchise history and marked the second time in three games that a Buccaneer ran for 100+ yards on 12 or fewer carries (Ronald Jones II, 106 yards on 11 carries in Week 17 last season).
  5. Melvin Gordon III has tallied 148 rushing yards on 34 attempts this season, 124 more than the Broncos' next-leading rusher (Phillip Lindsay, 24). Gordon also has five receptions and has accounted for 41.9 percent of the Broncos' touches this season, fifth highest in the NFL.
  6. Tom Brady has gone 7-6 as a starter against the Broncos, with wins in six of his last seven matchups with Denver. He ranks seventh all-time with 3471 passing yards and sixth all-time with 26 passing touchdowns against Denver and has thrown just six interceptions in those 13 games.
Team Comparison

Tampa Bay
 
Denver
27.0 Points 17.5
228.0 Pass Yds 246.0
104.0 Rush Yds 105.5
4 Takeaways 2
(AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio, File)

DENVER (AP) After watching Von Miller and Bradley Chubb team up for 24 1/2 sacks in Denver in 2018, Shaq Barrett didn't want to be a backup anymore and took his talents to Tampa.

When he returns with the Buccaneers (1-1) Sunday to face the Broncos (0-2) he'll saunter into Empower Field as the NFL's defending sacks champion.

And although he's still searching for his first sack of 2020, he'll bring with him zero regrets.

"I just want to show them that they did have a chance to have me and they let me go," Barrett said. "But I am happy with my situation down here. I love it."

It was a good move for Barrett before he'd ever played a down for the Bucs.

His one-year, $5 million deal last season represented some $53,000 more than he'd earned in Denver, where he spent his rookie year on the practice squad after going undrafted out of Colorado State before a four-year run backing up the likes of Miller, Chubb, DeMarcus Ware and Shane Ray.

He parlayed that into the $15.88 million franchise tag he's playing on this season after a monster year in which he collected an NFL-best 19 1/2 sacks, forced six fumbles and earned his first Pro Bowl nod.

"I didn't even want to stay in Denver no more after my last two years there. I felt there was zero percent chance I'd start," Barrett said. "They weren't even giving me the opportunity to compete to start. I did as much as I could there. I learned as much as I could there. There was no more on-the-rise there."

If anyone's lamenting Barrett's departure it's the Broncos.

Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury last September and when he returned to the lineup this month, Miller suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

Had he stayed, Barrett would be in his second season as a starter in Denver.

"No, I most definitely don't think about that," Barrett said. "That's the only reason why they had me was like if one of them did get hurt, they knew they had a secure, comfortable backup who could come in, make some plays and be a somewhat starting-caliber player.

"But that's not the role that I wanted" anymore, Barrett said. "It worked initially, but as I got older, I did want to see if I could be a full-time starter in the league and that just wasn't an option there or a role I could possibly have."

Still, he's thankful for his time in Denver.

"All my time there was a blessing," Barrett said. "I wouldn't be the player I am now without" it.

Other subplots Sunday when Tom Brady goes for just his fifth win in a dozen trips to Denver and the Buccaneers seek their first win over the Broncos since 1999:

STILL THE BEST

Brady has thrown interceptions in his past four starts, three of them pick-6s. But Broncos coach Vic Fangio sees no signs the 43-year-old QB is showing his age.

"He doesn't look any different to me," Fangio said. "He's still got really good arm strength and strong football intelligence in recognizing things. I don't see a major difference other than the new uniform that he's wearing."

Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan shared similar sentiments about TB12.

"Tom Brady being one of the G.O.A.T.s, you never want to sleep on a guy like that even if he isn't looking the same as he has in the past," Callahan said. "We're still going to approach the game like he's The Man. We don't want to get caught slipping."

BRONCOS BACKUP

With Drew Lock (shoulder) sidelined for the second straight season, Jeff Driskel gets his first start for Denver and is seeking his second career win, which is 248 fewer than Brady.

"As long as I can remember, I've watched him play," said Driskel, who is 16 years younger than Brady. "He's been playing for 20 years or whatever it's been. He's been a constant in this league. He's been one of the best, if not the best for a majority of those years."

WHERE'S GRONK?

There's no denying Rob Gronkowski is off to a slow start in Tampa Bay with just two catches for 11 yards. He was held without a catch last week for just the fifth time in his 117-game career.

"He doesn't look any less daunting," Fangio insisted. "In fact, he looks like he's in pretty good shape. He's running better than he was late in the final season of his career with New England. I think he's healthy and ready to go. ... He hasn't gotten his yet, but I'm sure by the end of the season, he's going to have some good numbers."

Maybe even by game's end Sunday. In six career games against the Broncos, Gronkowski has 34 receptions for 445 yards and three TDs.

FANTASTIC FOURNETTE

Leonard Fournette, who signed with the Bucs this month, rumbled for 225 yards on 29 carries in the Jaguars' 26-24 win at Denver a year ago.

After that game, Fangio shuffled his defense, moving Mike Purcell to nose tackle and switching Shelby Harris to end while inserting linebacker Alexander Johnson into the lineup.

"Hopefully, we'll have a better day against him than we did last year," Fangio said.

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AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall contributed.

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated September 24, 2020

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