Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs
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Buccaneers still not getting any respect

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t getting much love, despite being one of the more impressive teams the NFL has in the early going. Tampa Bay, which was universally pegged to be the weak sister in the ridiculously good NFC South, is one of the final seven undefeated teams remaining.

Nobody has a more impressive pair of wins to get the campaign rolling, either, with victories on the road over the New Orleans Saints and at home against the defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The Buccaneers were largely an afterthought heading into August. Starting quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games, while Ryan Fitzpatrick was slated to fill in. Fitzpatrick, 35, is on his seventh team, not exactly the kind of guy you think of as a potential savior.

Alas, here we are. Fitzpatrick has been nothing short of brilliant in the first two games, averaging more than 400 yards per contest with eight touchdowns and a single interception. Oh yeah, he’s also completing better than 78 percent of his passes.

Of course, there would be no FitzMagic without somebody on the other end. He has enjoyed plenty of help on the outside with DeSean Jackson having a torrid start, catching nine passes for a whopping 275 yards and three touchdowns. Nobody has more yards than Jackson sans Jarvis Landry, who has already played three games. Mike Evans is 10th in the league with 230 yards, showcasing how lethal the perimeter players can be in Tampa Bay.

Still, the buzz around the team has been somewhat muted. Sure, everybody is chatting about Fitzpatrick, but more in a “that’s cute” way than a “that’s impressive” way.

Come Monday night, the Buccaneers will have an opportunity to change all that.

Tampa Bay gets to host the Pittsburgh Steelers, a struggling, drama-filled outfit that remains one of the main attractions in football. Despite Le’Veon Bell being out as he continues to preserve his body for free agency, the Steelers still have an array of weapons in Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner.

Somehow, Pittsburgh has taken that collection of talent and started the season 0-1-1, coming off a humbling 42-37 defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in the home opener on Sunday. Should the Buccaneers be able to limit the Steelers and put up a bushel of points of their own, they would move to 3-0 and the conversation would be forced into seriousness.

Tampa Bay isn’t going away, something that nobody could have thought a month ago.

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