The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defenders were licking their chop when they first lined up against Geno Smith, a second-round rookie quarterback who, by prior accounts, didn't seem quite ready for the job.
They thought a few early hits would be enough to shake the youngster and get him off his game. But Smith went on to take eight hits and five sacks, and he stood up after every one them unaffected.
"I was sure when I was hitting him early on he would be rattled, but the guy just kept sitting in there. 'Man, how many more times I got to hit you?'" Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told ESPNNewYork after the Jets' 18-17 victory.
"He definitely stayed poised and made plays when necessary. He took a lot of big hits today. He always bounced back up and went and made plays. That guy has a bright future."
Smith connected on 24 of 38 pass attempts for 256 yards and the score while adding another 47 yards on six scampers.
He wasn't without his hiccups, getting strip-sacked near his own goal line and throwing a terrible interception a few plays later. But he did enough to impress a group of guys who three hours before thought they'd be delivering a rude awakening to life in the NFL.
"He was very poised. He was on to the next [play]," Buccaneers linebacker Mason Foster said. "Anything happened, he kept pushing through, got his team up and down the field. Got to tip your hat to him for that. It's tough to do that in the NFL."
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