After two straight wins to get back to .500, the Buccaneers suddenly look like the team we saw early in the season. You know – the team that drops passes, misses kicks, commits way too many penalties and lets the other team’s receivers get wide open down the field.
Tampa Bay lost to Indianapolis on Sunday, 25-12. The loss puts a dent in the Bucs’ playoff hopes with five games remaining.
There is plenty of blame to go around. In no particular order:
*Jameis Winston was sacked five times – four of them in the second half dominated by the Colts.
*The Bucs were penalized 12 times for 95 yards. One of them nullified a Doug Martin touchdown run. Another came on a field goal by Adam Vinatieri, when they were penalized for “leaping.” Who gets flagged for that? The Bucs sure know how. Indy took the points off the board, and ended up scoring a touchdown that put the game out of reach.
*Mike Evans continues to have costly drops. In one of the key sequences of the game, he dropped a potential touchdown pass late in the third quarter. Connor Barth missed the ensuing field goal, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Colts the ball in Tampa Bay territory. Indy turned that into a field goal.
*The Bucs’ defense made 40-year old Matt Hasselbeck look like a superstar. We’ve seen that movie many times before.
*Martin had 90 yards rushing in the first half. So why the heck did he hardly touch the ball in the second 30 minutes? The game wasn’t out of reach until late in the fourth quarter, for crying out loud.
This was a missed opportunity for Tampa Bay. I know it’s hard to win on the road in the NFL, but I feel like the Buccaneers let the Colts get off easy, especially in the second half.
Photo courtesy: buccaneers.com