Tampa Bay Buccaneers Second-year player Jake Camarda is the first punter in Bucs history with two NFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards after taking the honor again for a masterful field-position performance against Chicago Scott Smith
NFL players often take home the footballs that were used during their most spectacular plays as career mementos. Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Jake Camarda wasn't able to do so after his stunningly massive blast against Chicago last Sunday because, rumor has it, the ball flew completely out of Raymond James Stadium.
That's okay because Camarda now has a different kind of memento for his trophy shelf. On Wednesday, the Buccaneers' cannon-legged kicker was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. It is the second such award in his young career; he was also named Player of the Week in Week Nine of his 2022 rookie season.
Camarda punted four times in the Buccaneers' 27-17 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday and had a huge impact on field position with all of them. His first kick was a 72-yarder that landed several yards into the end zone and, even with a touchback, created a net change of 52 yards. That was the third-longest punt in franchise history behind a pair of 74-yarders, one of which Camarda generated last season.
Camarda's other three punts on the afternoon were all downed inside the Bears' 20-yard line, including the last one that bounced sidewise at the seven-yard line and was downed by cornerback Derrek Pitts with 2:38 left in the game. That left Chicago with a long field as they tried to overcome a 20-17 deficit, and two plays later Shaquil Barrett intercepted a Justin Fields pass and returned it four yards for a game-clinching touchdown.
Camarda finished the game with excellent gross (52.8) and net (47.8) yard punting averages, but that wasn't close to the entirety of his impact on special teams. He also handles the Bucs' kickoffs, and on Sunday he drove all five of his into the end zone for touchbacks. Additionally, after a Chase McLaughlin field goal attempt was blocked in the second quarter, Camarda out-raced several Bears defenders to get to the loose ball at midfield and avoid a potentially disastrous scoop-and-score.
Through two games this season, Camarda ranks second in the NFL in both gross punting average (53.8) and net punting average (48.0). He is also tied for third with five punts downed inside the 20.
Camarda is the only punter in the NFL to have won a Special Teams Player of the Week award twice since the start of the 2022 season. He's also just the fifth Buccaneer to have taken this honor home once, and the first to do it twice.
Camarda is the first Buccaneer to win a Player of the Week award in 2023. In addition to his special teams award in 2022, Devin White won on defense in Week 10 and Mike Evans won on offense in Week 17.