Thanks to a 2-0 start

#1 von liny195 , 03.01.2019 08:02

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hoodie , Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs are riding high and now they get to show everyone that they are for real when they play the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Both teams are similar in the fact that they are the top two offenses in the league, but they also are in the bottom seven on defense.There will be matchups galore to watch in this game and it could be another offensive shootout like we saw in Week 1 against the Saints. OverviewAll-time series record: Pittsburgh leads the series with 8-2 record against the Bucs. However, Tampa Bay won the most recent meeting, 27-24 in 2014. The Bucs are 1-5 at home and 1-3 on the road against the Steelers.Longest win streak: The Steelers won four in a row from 1976-1989 and from 2001-2010.The Bucs will need another big game from FitzpatrickPhoto by Michael Reaves/Getty ImagesLargest victory: Like every other team, Pittsburgh trounced the Bucs 42-0 in their 1976 inaugural season.2018 offensive and defensive rankings: Tampa Bay owns the league’s best offense (1st pass, 27th run) and the 27th ranked defense (31st pass, 2nd run). The Steelers aren’t too far off in offensive production compared to the Bucs. They have the second best offense (2nd pass, 20th run) and the 25th ranked defense (14th pass, 30th run)What to watch for:The Bucs’ receiving corps against the Steelers’ secondary: This is a matchup nightmare for Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay has four receivers (including Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard) that are all 6-foot-1 or taller. The tallest corner on the Steelers is Artie Burns, who barley checks in at six feet tall. The Steelers’ receiving corps against the Bucs’ secondary: While the Steelers don’t have the biggest receivers, they are all extremely talented and have an excellent rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. JuJu Smith-Schuster should have a big night. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard: The Steelers have allowed 10 receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns through two games to opposing tight ends. Granted, most of that was given up to Travis Kelce, but one could argue that Howard is just as athletic as Kelce and that Brate is just as effective in the redzone.Steelers’ defensive line against Bucs’ offensive line: Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt are no joke. The Bucs had issues at times with the Eagles’ pass rush last week, especially with Fletcher Cox. Caleb Benenoch better be ready.Tampa Bay’s running game: Opponents are currently averaging 150 yards per carry against the Steelers. Having a quarterback that can run helps as well. Patrick Mahomes and Tyrod Taylor combined for 13 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown - and we all know that Fitzpatrick can run, too.Impact PlayersTampa BayQB Ryan Fitzpatrick: For the third consecutive week, Fitzpatrick makes the list. WR DeSean Jackson: The NFL’s leading receiver should have another big game if he’s matched up with Cameron Sutton in the slot. TE O.J. Howard: Howard should have another big game on Monday night.CB Brent Grimes: It looks like Grimes will suit up for the first time this season. How much he plays is unknown, but Tampa Bay will need him at his best.S Justin Evans: He will be responsible for not letting Antonio Brown get past the defense. K Chandler Catanzaro: More of a liability than an impact player - despite the knock - Chandler will need to hit ALL of his kicks.Grimes should see his first action of 2018 on MondayPhoto by Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesPittsburghQB Ben Roethlisberger: With Leveon Bell off the roster, this is Ben’s offense.WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster is already the league’s best slot receiver and you saw what Nelson Agholor did to M.J. Stewart last week.RB James Connor: Bell’s backup had a great Week 1, but not so much in Week 2. A lot of that had to do with game flow, but the Bucs will need to contain him. DT Cameron Heyward: As mentioned earlier, Heyward will be unleashed on the Bucs’ offensive line and they will need to figure out how to slow him down. LB T.J. Watt: Watt has been as disruptive as they come since he entered the NFL.CB Joe Haden: He will most likely be matched up against Mike Evans, which will be fun to watch. Cool stats:Tampa Bay’s 75 points scored, 810 passing yards and 965 total yards are all the most through two games in franchise history. The team’s 810 passing yards are the most in any two-game stretch in team history, while the 965 total yards are the second-most in any two-game stretch in team history.The 75 points scored are the second-most in any two-game stretch in team history.Fitzpatrick has four touchdown passes of 50+ yards through the first two games of the season Youth Customized Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jerseys , tying N.Y. Jets QB Joe Namath (1972) for the most 50+ yard touchdown passes through the first two games of the season in NFL history.Fitzpatrick is the first player in the NFL to post consecutive games with a passer rating of 140 or higher since 2015 and he is the first Buccaneer in history to do so. On Tampa Bay’s first play of the game against Philadelphia (9/16), WR DeSean Jackson caught a 75-yard touchdown - the longest opening play from scrimmage in franchise history. It was Jackson’s 23rd career touchdown of at least 60 yards, tying Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for the most such touchdowns in NFL history.DeSean Jackson should have another big gamePhoto by Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesGame OutlookTampa Bay has an opportunity to send one of the NFL’s proudest franchises into total dismay in front of a national audience.The Bucs are on fire while the Steelers are not. Both teams have faced their share of distractions in the early weeks. From the Jameis Winston suspension/lawsuit to the ever-growing rift between Pittsburgh’s management and Leveon Bell/Antonio Brown - plus a 0-1-1 record - each team needs to win to keep the distractions at bay.This game is pretty much a toss-up and will come down to who can execute better. So far, the Bucs have been far more efficient and impactful on offense than the Steelers. Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay have both struggled on defense, so expect another shootout Monday night.Then again this is the NFL and it probably wouldn’t surprise anyone if this ended up as a 20-17 game. So much for struggling without Jameis Winston.The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not only thriving in the suspended quarterback's absence, they're evolving into an offensive juggernaut that's set to perform on a national stage when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Monday night.Thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick and a talented collection of playmakers that include DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, the Bucs (2-0) are off to their best start in eight years and have the NFL's top-ranked offense.The Steelers (0-1-1) are not far behind at No. 2, however inconsistency on defense has Ben Roethlisberger and Co. winless through two weeks."I respect what they've done. I'm not so sure I'm surprised," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Tampa Bay's emergence with wins against the New Orleans Saints and the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.They've done it with Fitzpatrick, a 35-year-old journeyman who has thrown TD passes for seven NFL franchises, delivering the best two games of his career."Man, he's got some explosive weapons. He's stepping in for Winston, but Fitz is not a step-in guy. This guy has started in multiple cities," Tomlin said."We've seen him extensively in Cincinnati and Buffalo. He's a smart guy, Ivy League-educated, always made good decisions. That's why he's been able to sustain himself and play for the length of time that he's played."What once looked as if it might be a potentially disastrous stretch to open the season with Winston suspended three games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy suddenly is an opportunity for the team's first 3-0 start since 2005.Very encouraging for a franchise that has missed the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons, the second-longest drought in the league behind the Cleveland Browns (15).Fitzpatrick believes he's playing the best football of his career."But, I mean, it's early. Consistency is the biggest thing," the 14th-year pro said. "Trying to stay consistent with a high level of performance and just continue to try to win games."As well as things are coming together for the Bucs, though, it's been rocky times for the struggling Steelers , off to their worst start in five years.Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell has not reported to the team and signed his one-year franchise tenderAnd star receiver Antonio Brown made headlines after shouting at offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline last week and then responding to criticism on social media from a former team employee by suggesting the team trade him if it wants to find out how productive he can be without Roethlisberger.Tomlin, however, isn't flinching."We are two weeks in. We do not have a large body of work. We are focused on winning this next opportunity," the coach said."I am not ready to paint with a broad brush ... in terms of where our football team is or what is going to define this group."Some things to know about the Steelers and Buccaneers:JUJU ON THAT BEATAll the self-created melodrama surrounding Brown has overshadowed another significant development for Pittsburgh's offense: the continued rise of second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.The 21-year-old came on strong over the second half of his rookie season in 2017 and has picked up right where he left off. Smith-Schuster is tied for Brown for the team lead in receptions (18) and his 240 yards receiving ranks fifth in the league."He just has a great knack and feel for the game, knowing when to sit down in zone, knowing when to move in man," Roethlisberger said."He uses his body and size at times, so I think he's really studied the game, and studied his game and has really gotten better."RING OF HONORHall of Famer Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as a player with the Steelers and later transformed Tampa Bay from a laughingstock into a championship contender as a coach, will be inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.He joins Hall of Famers Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, as well as Doug Williams, Jimmie Giles, Mike Alstott, John Lynch, Paul Gruber, coaches John McKay and Jon Gruden and late owner Malcolm Glazer as members of the ring.NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE PASTThe Steelers have made it a habit of stubbing their toe early in the season only to find their groove at midseason and reach the playoffs each of the past four years. Not that their resiliency has provided them any sort of comfort facing the club's worst start since 2013."It doesn't matter what we've done in the past," defensive end Cam Heyward said. "I'm not worried about what we've done two years ago, a year ago. Worry about what we've got to do now, the present. Be in this moment. Understand we made some mistakes. Now we've got to correct it."FLAG DAYDefensive breakdowns and Brown's behavior aren't Pittsburgh's only problems. The Steelers have hurt themselves under an avalanche of penalty yards.Pittsburgh has been flagged 24 times for an NFL-high 206 yards in penalties through two weeks.Tomlin described the issues as "popcorn," meaning they're coming from all over the place. If there's a bright side for the Steelers, it's that they've found a way to clean things up as the season progresses.A year ago they were called for 23 penalties through two games and finished with the ninth-fewest penalty yards in the league.AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

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