The Return of Bad Jameis

After a four-game winning streak, we’re back to talking about Bad Jameis.  You know, the one who makes all those mistakes and costs his team the game. To be honest, he never really disappeared; there was just enough Good Jameis to offset Bad Jameis.

Against the Texans on Saturday, Winston threw interceptions on the first two possessions.  The first turned into a pick-six.  The second one would’ve netted the same result if not for a penalty against Houston on the return.  He would throw two more picks in the game, and Peyton Barber contributed the fifth Tampa Bay turnover with a fumble that led to a Texans’ touchdown.  Winston also missed a couple of open receivers in the end zone on deep balls.

When you turn it over five times, you’re not going to win.  I’m still amazed when I saw them commit four turnovers against the Colts, yet still got the victory.

Don’t blame the defense for this one.  This unit played pretty darn well.  The offense – and special teams (Matt Gay had a field goal blocked) – handed the game to the Texans.  It was Bucs beating Bucs, again.

After the Bucs rattled off four wins in a row, I figured Jameis was sure to come back next season.  But then you see him have a game like this.  If you’re keeping track, he’s now up to 28 interceptions.  That is insane.  Even with one game remaining, I still don’t know for sure what the future holds for him in Tampa.

One more to go against Atlanta.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4 in a Row! Bucs Roll Past Lions

Don’t look now, but the Buccaneers are on a four-game winning streak.  And they’re back to .500.  They won again today, beating the Lions in Detroit, 38-17.

The story of this one was Jameis Winston.  After throwing yet another interception on the opening drive of the game, he lit up the Lions defense the rest of the way.  He threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns.  He is the first player in NFL history to throw for over 450 yards in back-to-back games.

And he did it without the injured Mike Evans.  And the other star receiver – Chris Godwin – left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury.  But Breshad Perriman stepped up with three TD’s today.  This is a guy who I wondered what the heck he was doing on the field early in the season.  But expect him to see a lot more action in the final two games with Evans and Godwin out.

But back to Winston for a moment.  He’s playing for his job.  And by winning four straight and five of the last six, he’s making the case for the Bucs keeping him beyond 2019, even with all those turnovers. And it’s even more impressive, considering the Bucs haven’t been able to run the ball. 

The Bucs have a chance to play spoiler next week against the Texans.  A reminder: that game is on Saturday afternoon, and will be televised on NFL Network.

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Monday Column: Tampa Bay Keeps Shooting Itself in the Foot

The Buccaneers had every opportunity to go to 2-1 on Sunday. But the same problems that plagued them last year did them again against Houston, with a new one rearing its ugly head.

Take your pick. In no particular order:

The Bucs’ defense could not stop a running game that did not have Arian Foster. And they could not stop a quarterback named Ryan Mallett.

Offensively, Tampa Bay was an awful 1-for-12 on third down. The running game is still ineffective. Jameis Winston completed just under half of his passes (but I do like the fact that he’s not afraid to throw the ball downfield.) Mike Evans had over 100 yards receiving, but he also had several key drops. Vincent Jackson could’ve had a touchdown, but he couldn’t get both feet inbounds.

And then, there are special teams. This is the “new one rearing its ugly head” part. Rookie kicker Kyle Brindza made a 58-yard field goal that would’ve been good from about 70. My reaction: wow. What he did do the rest of the way? He missed three other field goals and a PAT. My reaction to that: wow. So there are 10 points the Bucs left on the field. Yes, the last one attempt came during desperation time, but still.

And of course, there are the penalties: 10 of them in all for 84 yards. Seriously, can this team go more than, say, three plays without a yellow flag being thrown? Tampa Bay was the most penalized team in the league last year. So far this year, the Bucs are tied with the Steelers in that category. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: penalties=lack of discipline. Lack of discipline=bad coaching. I know Lovie Smith isn’t reading this, but that is fact.

The undefeated Panthers come to Ray-Jay on Sunday. I honestly have no idea what to expect.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Make Those Travel Plans: The Bucs Schedule is Out

If you’re an out-of-town fan like me, you live for the day when the NFL schedule is released.  Now we can all start planning trips to Tampa et al.

Without further commentary, here is the 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule:

 

9/13     Tennessee

9/20     @ New Orleans

9/27     @ Houston

10/4     Carolina

10/11   Jacksonville

BYE

10/25   @ Washington

11/1       @ Atlanta

11/8       NY Giants

11/15     Dallas

11/22      @ Philadelphia

11/29      @ Indianapolis

12/6        Atlanta

12/13       New Orleans

12/17       @ St. Louis (Thurs.)

12/27       Chicago

1/3            @ Carolina

A note to my readers: now the draft is over (and you all know who the Bucs picked, from Jameis Winston on down) I will be going into hibernation for a little while until training camp/the preseason gets going.  I am grateful to everyone who reads this blog, and I look forward to reconnecting with you for the 2015 season!