MONDAY HUDDLE: Tom who? Bucs defense dominant once again in win

Buccaneers smother another opponent, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are up next

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after an interception by cornerback Jamel Dean during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.

Bucs defense makes another victim walk the plank

With much of the talk centered around Tom Brady and his personal life during training camp for the Buccaneers, it’s clear one thing was overlooked: It might not matter who plays quarterback for Tampa Bay with how elite the defense looks.

The Bucs not only made it 2-0 to start the year, but 2-0 in road games with a 20-10 win at New Orleans and another dominant defensive performance.

In two games this year, the Tampa Bay defense has allowed one touchdown, 13 points overall and 276 yards per game. The Bucs forced five turnovers against the Saints and sacked quarterback Jameis Winston six times.

Next up is the home opener against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who Tampa Bay has stymied in the past.

South Florida gives Gators all they could handle

If there ever were a scenario where it felt like a team won when it lost and another lost when it won, that was Saturday when South Florida played at Florida.

Thanks to a missed 49-yard field goal with 23 seconds left, Florida survived the upset bid with a 31-28 win.

But South Florida might have announced it is turning a corner in Jeff Scott’s third year as head coach. The Bulls rallied from a 24-10 deficit in the second quarter to take a 28-24 lead with 11:14 remaining in the fourth quarter before seeing the Gators take a 31-28 lead with 5:05 remaining on a 3-yard touchdown run by Trevor Etienne.

Still, it could be a great springboard for South Florida going forward.

On the other side, all the good vibes for Florida and quarterback Anthony Richardson after a great season-opening win over Utah have vanished.

Richardson struggled for the second week in a row, going 10-of-18 passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

No doubt, all the NFL Draft buzz surrounding Richardson has quieted quickly.

Edgewater edges out Jones in a thriller

Orlando was the site of one of the state’s best prep football games last week. No. 23 in the FHSAA rankings, Edgewater eked out a win at No. 47 Jones, earning a 14-13 victory in a district opener.

The difference was a blocked extra point by Edgewater, which improved to 4-0 on the season.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.