Bucs' first-quarter funk finally ends against Ravens
A team brimming with blemishes finally erased one early Thursday night, scoring its inaugural first-quarter touchdown of 2022. Leonard Fournette broke the Bucs' improbable drought on a 1-yard scoring run with 6:56 remaining, capping an eight-play, 75-yard drive. Toss in Ryan Succop's 31-yard field goal later in the period, and the Bucs' 10 first-quarter points were only five fewer than they totaled in the opening period of their previous seven games.

Fournette's touchdown was only the second surrendered in the first quarter by the Ravens, who allowed only 13 first-quarter points in their first seven games. Setting it up was Tom Brady's 44-yard strike to Chris Godwin, the receiver's longest reception since catching a 44-yarder from Brady at New Orleans on Halloween night last year.

Shaquil Barrett injured
After one of his best halves in recent memory, Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett was assisted off the field with an Achilles injury early in the third quarter and didn't return. "We will wait for the MRI," Coach Todd Bowles said. "But it doesn't look good."

Barrett, seen exiting the field in the passenger's seat of a golf cart, had three tackles for loss in the first half, including a second-quarter sack of Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens, meantime, were besieged in triplicate. Tight end top receiver Mark Andrews (shoulder), second-leading receiver Rashod Bateman (foot) and running back Gus Edwards (hamstring) all exited at varying points.

More special-teams slapstick
For the second time in five games, the Bucs put themselves in an early hole with an embarrassing special-teams botch. After the defense forced the Ravens to a four and out on the game's opening possession, cornerback Dee Delaney gave it right back on the ensuing punt when he ran into returner Jaelon Darden, resulting in a muff that Kevon Seymour recovered at the Tampa Bay 6. Justin Tucker gave Baltimore a 3-0 lead with a 22-yard field goal four plays later.

"(Delaney) kind of got pushed into him," Bowles said. "But he has to have more awareness when he's running down the field blocking the guy, and understand where the fair-catch guy is."

The gaffe hearkened back to the Oct. 2 home game against the Chiefs, when Rachaad White fumbled the opening kickoff and Patrick Mahomes tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce two plays later.

Trask suits up
Second-year quarterback Kyle Trask made his NFL debut of sorts, if only by default. Because seven injured players on the 53-player roster were automatically deemed inactive, Trask made the 48-player game roster, meaning he suited up for the first time in his pro career.

Teams may suit up a maximum 48 players on game day, including two practice-squad elevations (cornerback Don Gardner and linebacker J.J. Russell). It marked Trask's first non-exhibition contest in uniform since his Florida Gators finale on Dec. 30, 2020, when UF - playing with a depleted roster - lost to Oklahoma 55-20 in the Sugar Bowl.

Joey Knight, The Tampa Bay Times, published 28 October 2022