Bucs Play Worst Game of 2019 in London

The first play of this game turned out to be a precursor of what the next three hours or so would bring: Jameis Winston throwing an interception.

Winston would throw four more picks before the day was over.  And the Bucs played arguably their worst all-around game of the season in a 37-26 loss to the Panthers in London.  The Buccaneers turned it over seven times in this one.

Winston was abysmal.  The offensive line was horrible, allowing seven sacks.  The secondary was pathetic.  There was Mike Evans – dropping a rare perfect deep ball by Winston just before the half – a play that could been a game-changer.  The Bucs made another backup quarterback look like Tom Brady.  Does all of that sound familiar?  It should; we’ve been seeing this movie for the last several years – not weeks or months, years.

Tampa Bay now sits at 2-4 heading into the bye week.  What changes, if any, will Bruce Arians make?  He has to do something, because this team is a mess once again.

That’s all the venting I’ll do for now.  I’ll do some more in a forthcoming post.

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

Familiar Problems Plague Bucs in Loss to Saints

After scoring 55 points in a big win over the Rams last week, Bucs fans were hoping Tampa Bay could keep it going in a divisional matchup against the Saints.

Nope.

The Buccaneers lost to the Saints, 31-14.  The biggest problems continue to be the pass defense and the offensive line.  For a team that’s made a living of making backup quarterbacks look like superstars, the Bucs did just that with Teddy Bridgewater.  And Jameis Winston was sacked six times.

Mike Evans did not have a catch in this game.  The Bucs defensive line barely touched Bridgewater.  Credit New Orleans for that.

But let’s get back to the secondary for a moment.  The coordinator has changed.  The formations have changed.  And while the run defense has been impressive, the pass defense is once again among the worst in the league.  That is mind-boggling, given all of the draft picks spent on this unit.  One player who’s really drawn the ire of us fans is former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III.  But he is not alone.  The entire secondary is abysmal.  The Bucs have allowed 103 points in the last three weeks (that includes 40 to the Rams in a game the Bucs won.)

Yes, there is time to turn this around.  Beat the Panthers (who have turned things around since losing to the Bucs in Week 2) in London, and Tampa Bay will be 3-3 heading into the bye.  But for the love of God, something has to be done with the awful secondary.

Photo courtesy: New Orleans Saints

Bucs Get First Win in Dramatic Fashion

Here are some thoughts on the Bucs’ first victory of the season: a 20-14 win over the Panthers in Charlotte.

It is amazing what Todd Bowles has done with this defense in just two games.  Take Mike Smith’s swiss-cheese defense, and flip it 180 degrees.  Bowles’ unit kept the Panthers out of the end zone, and has only allowed one offensive touchdown in eight quarters.  After Carolina, not surprisingly, marched down the field for a final drive, Vernon Hargreaves made the play that everyone’s still buzzing about, stopping Christian McCaffrey at the two-yard line with less than 90 seconds to play.  It was a night where the Bucs stifled McCaffrey all the way around.

Another star was Shaquil Barrett.  He’s another new face on defense, and he sacked Cam Newton three times. 

The Buccaneers gave up some long plays in this one, but tightened up in the red zone.  I remember Tony Dungy’s teams winning a lot of games like this.  I’m just throwing that out there.

On offense, Jameis Winston did not turn the ball over.  That is huge.  Everyone (including me) rips him when he screws up, so it is only fair that I praise him when he has a good game.  His stats may not jump out at you, but again, no turnovers.

Chris Godwin is a beast: 121 yards and a TD.  He, not Mike Evans, is the Bucs’ leading receiver after two games.

Peyton Barber churned out 82 tough yards on the ground, and scored a touchdown.  He had to work for every one of those yards against a tough Carolina defense.

This was not a perfect game by any means.  There were way too many penalties again (p.s. – someone tell Bruce Arians and Bowles that you can’t call back-to-back timeouts.)  Going 2-for-12 on third down isn’t going to cut it, either.  But at the end of a late night, the Bucs beat a division opponent on the road.  That is huge.

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

Bucs/Panthers in London Next Season

We’ve known for a little while now that the Buccaneers would be playing a ‘home’ game away from Ray-Jay next season.  Now we know who…and where.

 

The Bucs announced today that their game against the Panthers will be played in London.

 

I understand why Tampa Bay has to give up a home game; Tampa will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2021.  But I don’t understand this selection by the NFL at all.  Why would you take a divisional matchup away from the fans in Tampa?  The games against the Panthers, Saints and Falcons carry more weight than the others.

 

Screw you, Mr. Goodell.

 

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Heading South

There are eight home games every year for the Buccaneers.  There’s always one in particular that I look forward to, and it’s not always the same team or time of year.

 

I only get one chance per NFL season to head to Ray-Jay to see the Bucs in person.  That chance is this weekend.  I’ll be flying down to Tampa to cheer on the home team against the hated Panthers.

 

Normally I update the blog on Sunday nights after the game.  This time, I will write something here later on Monday after I return home, perhaps Monday night.  In addition to my thoughts about the game, I hope to have a bunch of photos – and maybe a video or two – to share with you, my readers.

 

That’s it for now.  We’ll chat again on Monday.  Go Bucs!

Bucs Finally Win Again!

Well, this was a nice change of pace.  Consider everything that happened in today’s game against the 49ers.

 

Jameis Winston threw for over 300 yards, two touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions.

 

The Bucs sacked Nick Mullens four times.

 

The Buccaneers had two interceptions – their first takeaways in two months.  Yes, I said months.  And Tampa Bay didn’t turn it over at all.

 

Is it any coincidence that the Bucs actually won this game?

 

And please, don’t give me this, “well, they were playing the ‘Niners.”  Listen: the way the Bucs have been going, no game should ever be considered easy.

 

Oh, and Cairo Santos hasn’t missed a kick since joining Tampa a couple of weeks ago.  It’s only two games, but is it possible they’ve at least stabilized that problem spot?

 

Next up: the Panthers come to Ray-Jay.  Ever since beating Tampa, Carolina has lost three straight.  Throw in the fact that I’ll be at the game, and you’ve got a wee bit extra intrigue next Sunday afternoon.

 

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another Embarrassing Performance By the Bucs

Well, we’ve seen this movie too many times before, haven’t we.

 

You know what I mean.  The Bucs give up way too many points, then rally in the second half to make the score look interesting, only to fall in the end.  That was the case on Sunday in Carolina.

 

I only stayed awake for the first half of this game.  I saw all I needed to see.  Wide open Carolina receivers.  A defense that gets hardly any pressure on the quarterback.  A secondary that can’t cover anyone or tackle anyone.  The penalty flags piling up against the team in the white jerseys.

 

This was another embarrassing effort, one which Dirk Koetter seems to have no answer for.  And don’t even get me started on the play that sums it all up: why you would call a fake punt – from deep in your own territory – when you’re trailing by 21 points?  At one point does the head coach have to take the blame for this crap?  The answer, in my opinion, is every single game.  Barring a miraculous second half of the season, Koetter is gone at the end of the year.

 

I will have more to say about the first half of the season when I hand out my midseason grades.  But I close with this: in the first eight games, the Bucs have allowed at least 30 points in six of them.  In three of them, they’ve given up at least 40.  Mike Smith got canned a couple of weeks ago.  That was only the beginning.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press