On Sunday, I made my annual trip down to Ray-Jay to see the Bucs play in person. I left the stadium with a big smile on my face, as Tampa Bay knocked off Carolina.
This one went according to script (you will smell the sarcasm shortly.) The Bucs’ defense came into this game with three interceptions all year. Well, some guy named Andrew Adams doubled that total, in just this game alone. Throw in a fourth pick by Javien Elliot, four sacks, and you’ve got yourself a 24-17 upset.
I, and other Bucs fans, have been bashing this defense all year. Well, over the past few games, we’ve seen some improvement, so I am more than happy to give credit where credit is due. It was the defense that won this game.
Jameis Winston did not throw a pick, though he did have a couple of passes that made me say, “ay ay ay.” Chris Godwin a had a big game, catching a key TD just before the half that I had a good look at.
This team is far from perfect. The Bucs needed every one of those interceptions to win this game, because after they went ahead 24-10 early in the third quarter, the offense went to bed. It felt like Carolina had a zillion chances to tie it up in the fourth quarter, but the defense stepped up, even with so many starters injured. Whatever Mark Duffner is doing with this group, it’s working.
Dear Bucs: see what happens when you don’t turn the ball over as often as the opponent? You usually win.
The Saints come to Ray-Jay next Sunday. We all remember that tremendous opener in the Superdome. I’ll bet New Orleans hasn’t forgotten, either.
Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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!
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
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
Fitzmagic is getting another shot in Tampa Bay.
On Monday, head coach Dirk Koetter announced Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start next Sunday against the Panthers over Jameis Winston, who was benched after a dismal performance against Cincinnati.
Winston has thrown ten interceptions in four games, including four awful picks against Cincinnati. The Bucs, believe it or not, actually have the top-ranked offense in the NFL in terms of total yards, and are getting it done primarily through the air. But, they are minus-13 in the turnover department, and their scoring defense is still dead last in the league. Enough said.
I can hear all the Winston supporters out there, saying Fitzpatrick is not the long-term solution. You know what? I agree with that. But he gives Tampa Bay a better chance to win right now compared to the nightmare that Winston has become.
If the Bucs keep losing, you can expect a top-to-bottom house-cleaning at the end of the season. It feels crazy saying that with nine games still to go, but that possibility becomes more real with each defeat.
Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’ve heard it all about Jameis Winston being the future of the franchise, etc.
Well, this Tampa Bay fan has had enough of the future.
After a dreadful, four-interception performance against the Bengals on Sunday, Dirk Koetter finally put Jameis Winston on the bench. If coach is smart – and that’s up for debate – he’ll keep the former #1 overall pick there for a while.
Winston’s four picks weren’t just bad, they were awful. The passes were literally thrown right into the hands of Cincinnati defenders, the last one turning into a pick-six that finally led to Koetter to make the move. Winston has now thrown ten interceptions in four games. Ten. I want to know why Koetter waited so long to bench Winston. Why not put Ryan Fitzpatrick in to start the second half? That didn’t happen. After the change was made, Fitzmagic returned, and he rallied his team from an 18-point deficit.
There’s more blame to go around, of course, so let’s spread it. Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point for the third straight game. How the heck is he still on this team? Every time he screws up, it changes the whole mindset. Do not let the Bucs’ two-point conversion that tied the game mean that Catanzaro is off the hook.
In the first half, the defense was getting shredded (again.) But they held the Bengals scoreless for over 28 minutes of the second half. Ah, but when Tampa Bay tied the game with just over a minute ago, the defense let Andy Dalton march his team into field goal range. And I still don’t know why the Bucs were flagged for delay of game after a Cincy completion with about 10 seconds left. In the end, it looks like it didn’t matter, because the kick that won the game would’ve been good even from five yards further back.
Coach Koetter, I was able to watch nearly the entire game, after working an overnight shift nonetheless. Your seat is not just hot, it’s flame-broiled. Do us fans a favor, and give Fitzpatrick the start in Carolina next Sunday. Fitz is not the long-term solution; no one is disputing that. But if you want the best chance to win, Fitz needs to be the guy against the Panthers.
Photo Courtesy: Pewter Report
How many ways can a football team lose a game? When you’re 4-11, you find new ways every single week.
There were the Buccaneers, nursing a four-point lead in the closing minutes on Sunday against the Panthers. They had a chance to extend it to seven. Patrick Murray – who had already made four field goals – missed one that would’ve put Tampa Bay up by seven.
Admit it: you just knew Carolina would go down the field and win the game after that. That’s what 4-11 teams do. There was Chris Baker – jumping offside on 4th down – giving the Panthers new life. Then Cam Newton – arguably my least-favorite player in the NFL – fumbling the shotgun snap, only to pick it up and run it into the end zone for the game-winner.
Carolina 22, Tampa Bay 19.
Winston continues to struggle with ball security. He lost three more fumbles, the last of which led to a meltdown which I’m sure is already on every highlight reel across the country. And lest we forget about the 100+ yard kickoff return that featured several missed tackles by the Bucs.
Does all of this sound familiar? It should. I’ve been writing about it all season, and Bucs fans have been seeing it for themselves all year.
Anyway, from all of us at Buccaneer Bri (which is actually just a one-man band for those who don’t know) Merry Christmas. Some of us have to work our real jobs on Christmas Eve, and that group includes me. And to my fellow fans: one more week of this torture!
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images