Well, so much for the chance at finishing the season at .500.
The Bucs lost their 2019 finale in overtime to the Falcons, 28-22, in overtime. The game ended with Jameis Winston throwing a pick-six on the first play of OT. His first pass in a Tampa Bay uniform was an interception returned for a touchdown. His career in Tampa may have ended the same way.
No, this wasn’t all on Jameis. Matt Gay missed three field goals, bringing back memory of the Giants meltdown earlier in the year. His performance Sunday should not be ignored whatsoever.
But let’s get back to Winston. By now, you’ve probably read all the stats: he threw for over 5,000 yards. He’s the first player to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season. Seven of those INT’s were returned for touchdowns. And now, Tampa Bay has to decide what to do with him.
I’ve waited until the end of the year to make my personal decision. I’ve seen enough. Winston has cost this team too many games by himself. And while he is not responsible for every defeat over the last five years, he deserves a lot of the blame. There is no justification for throwing 30 interceptions (and losing five fumbles) in your fifth season in the NFL. This was, by far, the most picks he’s thrown in a season (the next highest total is 18 in 2016.) If he did that in his rookie year, I’d cut him some more slack. But he’s had five years to figure this out, and he hasn’t done it.
Winston’s critics will point to the still leaky defense, the aforementioned missed kicks, the record passing numbers he put up, the worry about starting from scratch with a new QB, etc. But for me, all of those mistakes, and the inability to play consistently well, is too much for me to stomach anymore. It’s time for Jameis to go.
Think of everything that happened in Tampa Bay’s 35-22 win
over the Falcons on Sunday in Atlanta.
Jameis Winston threw two more interceptions, but also three
touchdowns. Two of them went to
superstar Chris Godwin. The other one
was caught by Vita Vea.
Yes, the guy on the defensive line who weighs 347 pounds
reported as an eligible receiver, and caught a 1-yard TD pass.
The Bucs defense played well. Yes, you
read that right. They had six sacks. They forced two turnovers, once of which was a
fumble returned for a touchdown by Ndamukong Suh. With the exception of the second play of the
game, the secondary did a nice job covering the Falcons’ receivers. Atlanta was just 4-of-16 on third downs. Where has this defense been over the past two
months or so?
Need more insanity?
Matt Gay missed three extra points (one of them blocked.) And those misses didn’t come back to haunt
Godwin and Mike Evans are both over 1,000 yards receiving. Vea is suddenly a touchdown machine. And Tampa Bay is staying out of the cellar of
the NFC South for the time being.
There was nothing to like about Sunday’s game at Ray-Jay,
where the Buccaneers were soundly beaten by the Saints, 34-17. New Orleans is the better team; there’s no
questioning that. Still, this was bad.
The problems with this team are the same ones we’ve seen
game in and game out. The secondary is
awful. The offensive line can’t protect
anybody. Jameis Winston continues to
turn the ball over with relative ease.
He had four more INT’s in this game.
I blame the first one on O.J. Howard, but the other three are all on the
quarterback. He has nearly 100 turnovers
(including lost fumbles) in his nearly five years in Tampa. And don’t get me going on the whole “they’re
not all his fault” thing. That’s true,
but the number of miscues is still alarming to say the least.
By the way, Howard didn’t get another pass thrown to him
after he caused that first turnover.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The play calling is horrible. 51
passes and only 8 rushes? And it’s not
just this game. I have serious concerns
about Byron Leftwich’s ability. And
Bruce Arians’ postgame act is getting old.
He can rip the officials all he wants.
But he was brought in to fix this mess, and it hasn’t happened. And Bruce, you may want to think twice before
challenging another pass interference call.
For weeks, I’ve been quietly saying to myself that Tampa
Bay is still better than Atlanta. Well,
now they’re tied. And the Falcons are
playing better than the Bucs right now.
After next week, our team could very well be in sole possession of the
NFC South cellar…again.
We now know who’ll be guiding the Buccaneers’ ship next season, and it’s someone the NFL is very familiar with.
Bruce Arians was named the team’s new head coach on Tuesday night. Arians coached the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons, and was successful there, making the playoffs twice. We can only hope he’ll help Tampa Bay end an 11-year playoff drought. After 2017, Arians “retired” (yeah, okay) and then spent the 2018 season in the broadcast booth with CBS, teaming up with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green.
I like this hire. Of course, I’ve said that about a lot of hires over the years. This guy has a proven track record – not just in Arizona, but in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Cleveland prior to that. He’s also an offensive-minded coach.
Hey coach: have you seen our defense over the past few years…
As for the guy he’s replacing, Dirk Koetter? He just became the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Oh, the drama.
As we say goodbye to 2018, it’s time to reflect on the Buccaneers season that ended with a last-place finish, and the firing of Dirk Koetter as head coach.
BEST MOMENTS: the first two games against the Saints and Eagles, both won by the Bucs. Nobody outside of us diehard fans thought they win a shootout in the Superdome, then beat the defending champs in the home opener, both with Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games.
WORST MOMENT: things started going downhill with the blowout loss to the Bears in Chicago, followed by another defeat in Atlanta after the bye week. It was only then that the Bucs decided to fire Mike Smith as defensive coordinator. Smith should’ve been let go before the season began, much less five games in. With Smith at the helm, his defense allowed at least 30 points in four of the first five games.
BEST OFFSEASON ACQUISTION: Jason Pierre-Paul. What a steal this guy was. He had 12.5 sacks on a team that, last year, hardly got any pressure on the quarterback.
BIGGEST DRAFT DISAPPOINTMENT: Ronald Jones. The Bucs drafted him in the second round. He gained a grand total of 44 yards rushing. He didn’t even play in more than half of the games, and not all of those were due to injury. The Bucs clearly were not happy with him from the start of training camp, hence the lack of playing time.
GOOD RIDDANCE AWARD: DeSean Jackson. He made it clear he wants out. I say, get out of town. This whiner was unhappy that Winston wasn’t getting him the ball. He pulled off similar antics when he played for Philadelphia and Washington.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK GOING FORWARD: Jameis Winston. General Manager Jason Licht has made it clear that Winston will return in 2019. We saw a lot of good Jameis, and a lot of bad Jameis: 19 TD passes, 14 INT’s and three lost fumbles.
INTERESTING FACT: on December 2nd, I saw the Bucs beat the Panthers at Ray-Jay. That was the last time Tampa Bay tasted victory.
Sure, there are other good and bad moments, but these are the ones that come to mind at first. I wish all of you a Happy New Year, and go Bucs.
I hope this was the last time we see Dirk Koetter on the Tampa Bay sidelines. And that may not be the only change we see in the coming days.
The Bucs finished in last place in the NFC South yet again this year, losing 34-32 to the Falcons in the regular season finale. The Buccaneers blew a 17-0 lead in this one. After starting the season 2-0 (remember that?) they lost 11 of their last 14 games.
At the end of 2017, I was in favor of giving Koetter one more year. Well, that year has come and gone, and there wasn’t any improvement in the win total.
When you go 5-11 in back-to-back seasons, change is inevitable. A housecleaning at One Buc Place would not surprise me, starting at the top. But, with the Glazers, who knows.
The Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule is now out. Now it’s time to dissect it, decide which games are most winnable, and for out-of-town fans like me, think about which game to head south to see.
My first thought after taking a look at this: ouch! What a tough five-game stretch to open with. The Bucs face four playoff teams, starting with the division champion Saints in the Superdome, followed by the Super Bowl champion Eagles in the home opener. Then, they get the Steelers on a Monday night. How does a Bucs’ team that went 5-11 last season end up on MNF? Oh, that’s right, they’re playing the Steelers, which will give the idiots at BSPN something to crow about while at the same time dissing Jameis Winston, even if Winston gets off to a good start.
Tampa Bay goes to Chicago in September. It sure beats December. But Baltimore in mid-December could be interesting to say the least.
There is a stretch of three straight home games in late November/early December. And wouldn’t it be interesting if the finale against the dirty birds from Atlanta is meaningful? One can dream, anyway.
If you’re like me, you’re still trying to comprehend how the Buccaneers beat the Saints in the season finale.
Jameis Winston threw three more interceptions, including a horrendous one into triple coverage. The Bucs gave up a 100+ yard kickoff return for the second week in a row (but scored their own special teams touchdown in the fourth quarter.) A missed extra point by Patrick Murray was looming large. There’s no way Winston would drive his team 95 yards in the final two minutes.
Oh, but he did. Yes, the recent turnover machine hit Chris Godwin on a deep ball with nine seconds left in the contest to win it. And before all of the Saints fans in attendance could wipe away their tears of disbelief, they found out they’d won the NFC South anyway, because Carolina choked against Atlanta.
This Godwin kid is pretty good, the more I see of him. He’s made some acrobatic catches, and with the disappointing season turned in by Desean Jackson, Godwin could be the number-two receiver on next year’s team.
Was this game perfect? Of course not. I mentioned the interceptions and the kickoff returns. Mike Smith’s defense is still a sieve. The lack of a pass rush was a problem all year, though they did sack Drew Brees twice.
But it was nice to finally win a game. I’d much rather see them win than intentionally lose to improve their draft pick order. Heck, this team needs help just about everywhere, so any decent player will do at this point.
Coming on Monday: my ‘year in review.’ As you might expect, with a 5-11 season, it won’t be pretty. But tonight is a night to be joyous, because the boys in Pewter finally won another game. Happy New Year, and good night.
With another loss in the loss column, we’re getting closer to finding out what happens to Dirk Koetter and his cast of characters at the end of the season.
The Buccaneers lost again last night. For the second week in a row, the score was 24-21. For the second week in a row, the defense couldn’t stop anybody or get any pressure on the quarterback. Oh, wait: that’s been the case all season.
I’ll be honest: I thought the Bucs would get blown out by the Falcons. That didn’t happen. Jameis Winston was outstanding, having arguably his best game of the season, even with his teammates dropping like flies due to injuries. But Tampa Bay did what 4-10 teams do. The fumble by Peyton Barber in the red zone was costly. Twice the Falcons put the ball on the ground – including once in the Bucs’ end zone – and twice they couldn’t come up with a key takeaway. As for Patrick Murray’s missed 54-yard FG attempt that would’ve forced overtime, well it’s been that kind of year. At least Murray’s been light years ahead of guys named Aguayo or Folk.
So, what’s my big takeaway from this one? Mike Smith’s defense still stinks. Sure, he didn’t let Julio Jones go for 250 yards this time (but did you notice the times he was all alone in the middle of the field?) So, Smith contained Jones, but he had no answer for Devonta Freeman. If anyone deserves to get canned in two weeks, it’s Mike Smith. Koetter may very well be done as well. But if I had to pick one to get rid of, it’s the defensive coordinator.
On Sunday, I saw in person what I’ve been listening to on the internet and seeing on social media all season long: the Bucs are a bad team. On Buccaneer Bri’s annual trip to Ray-Jay, the Bucs lost to the Lions, 24-21, on a field goal in the closing seconds. But honestly, it shouldn’t have even been that close.
I saw with my own two eyes all of the reasons the Buccaneers are now 4-9. They had five turnovers. The tackling was terrible. They have no pass rush. None. They never laid a finger on Matthew Stafford. Heck, by my unofficial count, they only chased after him once….in the entire game…and that one play ended with a roughing the passer penalty. The play-calling was questionable at times, as was the use of timeouts at the end of the game.
And yet, there they were, rallying from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
Do you think Mike Smith’s defense could do the job from there? (insert sarcastic laugh here.)
Instead of me rambling on about how Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith are doomed after the season, I will dedicate the rest of this article to my personal Ray-Jay experience, since I only get down there once a year.
It was chilly. No, really. I brought my jacket and wore jeans, and I needed both. The two ladies who came to the game with me were shivering as well as the game went on. This was, by far, the coldest game I’ve ever been to in Tampa. But it beat the snow that fell back home while I was gone.
I know Tampa always draws a lot of visiting team’s fans. But geez, did the entire state of Michigan fly in for this game? It felt like there were as many Lions’ fans there as Bucs’ fans. Detroit fans deserve praise for traveling en masse to support their team. But it’s depressing for Tampa Bay fans like me, and ownership needs to do something to change that.
This was also my first time sitting in the upper deck. I don’t think I will do it again, and it had nothing to do with how far away I was from the action. There was absolutely no vibe upstairs. It was like being in a library for much of the game. I didn’t feel like I was part of the festivities at all. Oh well, I chose to sit upstairs because the area where I usually sit was just too expensive. From now on, I think I will just spend the extra bucks and go back down to the lower bowl.
There was a nice couple from Detroit sitting behind us. They left before halftime, after Stafford threw his second pick. The guy said, “same old Lions!” I overheard the lady he was with talk about going to the movies. I hope they made it in time, if that’s in fact where they ended up. For all I know, they may just have been sick of me yelling and trying to the enjoy the game in a morgue-like atmosphere, and they have just moved to another section. Where they ended up is a question I will likely never know the answer to.
So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The Bucs have three more games left – all of them against division opponents – and in case you haven’t noticed, the rest of the division is really, really good. I can easily see the Bucs finishing 4-12. They’re on Monday Night Football next week against Atlanta. Jon Gruden will be calling the game, then he’ll be honored at halftime. If the ceremony is streamed live someplace, that may very well be the best part of the night.