TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano acknowledged that the start of Friday night's 25-21 preseason loss to the New England Patriots "was a little bit of a downer."
In fact the whole first quarter, played mostly by the first units of both teams, was a textbook look at Tom Brady doing almost everything he wanted. Referring twice to the Patriots' quarterback as a "first-ballot Hall of Famer," Schiano said it was best not to read too much into the experience.
"I thought we played more physical than we did in week one," he said, "but there's just a whole — what did I say, truckload last week? There's a boatload this week that we have to get corrected. That's what preseason is about. Hopefully, as we start getting closer to regular season, we get all our guys back and hit this thing running."
Brady completed all eight of his passes on the game-opening touchdown drive, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, and three more on New England's next drive before finally throwing one incomplete pass. The Bucs never touched him.
Meanwhile the Patriots sacked Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman three of the first six times he dropped back to pass.
"We had a couple of issues going on, some communication things," Schiano explained. "Our (headphone) device wasn't working great. It was a perfect storm, that first drive, but that happens in games and you have to be able to overcome all those things and find a way to get them stopped. We had two third downs we didn't execute well on."
Although running back Doug Martin left the game in the first quarter after getting kicked in the head on pass protection, Schiano said early indications are that the Bucs sustained no serious injuries in their four-day visit to New England.
"I thought we got a lot out of last week, for a lot of reasons," he said. "No. 1 obviously was going against a quality football team that's well coached. No. 2, getting out of the heat, that was big for us, to let our guys recover a little bit. And then the thing I really liked is we were kind of sequestered, alone by ourselves, so we had a chance to build some team chemistry."
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