Bucs Lose To 49ers in Ugly Opener

Here are some quick thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 31-17 loss to the 49ers in the season opener at Ray-Jay:

As ugly as this game was, I will start with some positives.  The Bucs actually had a running game, led by a rejuvenated Ronald Jones.  The defense looks much, much better than past years.  Vernon Hargreaves III came up with a rare pick-six.  This unit only allowed one offensive touchdown.  So how did San Francisco get 31 points?  Oh, I’m getting to that.  But first, one more positive: rookie kicker Matt Gay was perfect on the day.

Now, let’s get to the ugly stuff:

Jameis Winston had an awful game.  He had three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.  The other one, admittedly, went right through O.J. Howard’s hands.  But Winston was consistently off-target.  He fumbled a snap.  This is the year he has to break out and play like a No. 1 overall pick.  This was not a good start.  And if Twitter was a member of the Bucs coaching staff, Winston would be out on the street right now looking for work.  He MUST do better than this, or his ass is going to be on the bench very soon.

I said I was concerned about the offensive line before the season began.  They did not perform well against the ‘Niners.  Winston was sacked three times, and Demar Dotson was penalized twice for holding, which nullified would-be touchdowns.  The offensive line play makes the running game’s performance even that much more amazing.

Now, I want to take about the curious decision by Bruce Arians early in the fourth quarter.  The score was 20-14.  The Bucs kicked a field goal, but the 49ers were penalized for offsides.  Instead of making it a three-point game, Arians decided to go for it on 4th down from the 2.  Winston’s pass was batted away.  So instead of it being 20-17, the Bucs still needed a touchdown to pull it out – a score they would not get.  So, Arians is a gambler, eh?  He’s 0-for-1 so far.

Next up: the Panthers on Thursday night.  This is the Gerald McCoy Bowl, part one.

Photo courtesy: San Francisco 49ers

Advertisements

Bucs Fans: Stop Panicking (For Now)

Relax, everyone. Just relax.

 

What happened to the Buccaneers on Monday happens to every team in every sport at some point: players jumping ship for more money to play elsewhere.

 

For those who haven’t heard the news, here are the big headlines: Kwon Alexander struck gold in San Francisco. DeSean Jackson is going back to Philadelphia. And Adam Humphries is trading in red and pewter for Titan Blue.

 

Judging by my social media feeds, you’d think the world is about to end. Well, D-Jax turned back into a crybaby when he stopped getting the ball thrown to him. People loved Kwon’s passion but I read today that he missed a lot of tackles – a big problem for this defense over the past couple of years. Humphries is the loss that hurts me the most. Here’s a guy coming off a career year. But hey – money talks, and Tennessee offered more than Tampa. End of story.

 

Everyone is replaceable, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s see who the Bucs get in the draft, and more importantly, what Bruce Arians does with the players they acquire.

 

Photo courtesy: USA Today

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

…and the Bucs Lose Again, in Familiar Fashion

Stop me if we’ve seen this act before from the 2018 Buccaneers.

 

They can’t stop anyone from scoring, consistently making other bad teams look like Super Bowl contenders.

 

They keep turning the ball over.

 

They can’t take the ball away.

 

They fall behind by a ridiculous amount of points, then rally in the second half to make things interesting, only to come up short in the end.

 

The game against the Giants was almost a mirror image of what we saw in Cincinnati.  This time, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick who got benched in the second half after throwing three interceptions – including a pick-six – and Jameis Winston coming in off the bench to lead the charge. 

 

Heck, Eli Manning only had one incompletion for the entire game.  One!  And I happened to be watching when it happened.  The receiver was open; it was a poorly-thrown ball.  The Buccaneers did sack him four times – got to give them credit for that.

 

Am I surprised the Bucs lost this game?  Of course not.  This is what Tampa Bay does best.  I’m sure they’ll make the 49ers look like superstars next Sunday.

 

But in two weeks, Buccaneer Bri is coming to Ray-Jay.  The excitement is building.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

Some Thoughts on the Bucs’ Schedule

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.

 

Here’s the schedule:

 

Sept. 9 — @ New Orleans

Sep. 16 — PHILADELPHIA

Sept. 24 — PITTSBURGH (Monday)

Sept. 30 — @ Chicago

BYE WEEK

Oct. 14 — @ Atlanta

Oct. 21 – CLEVELAND

Oct. 28 — @ Cincinnati

Nov. 4 — @ Carolina

Nov. 11 – WASHINGTON

Nov. 18 @ NY Giants

Nov. 25 – SAN FRANCISCO

Dec. 2 – CAROLINA

Dec. 9 – NEW ORLEANS

Dec. 16 — @ Baltimore

Dec. 23 — @ Dallas

Dec. 30 – ATLANTA

2 In a Row! Bucs Beat the 49ers

All of a sudden, things are looking up for the Buccaneers.

They beat the 49ers on Sunday, 34-17, for their second straight win. The Bucs are now back at .500.

Jameis Winston shook off an early, poorly-thrown interception to end up with a nice day. Mike Williams is showing no signs of a sophomore slump. And even without Doug Martin, the Bucs suddenly have found a running game, thanks to another big day from Jacquizz Rodgers.

When Tampa Bay fell behind 14-0 early, I thought it was going to be a long afternoon in Santa Clara. No sir. The next 27 points were scored by the road team.

The fact that San Francisco’s run defense is terrible should not diminish the effort by Rodgers, who finished with 154 yards on the ground. Evans’ performance (two more TD’s) is even more impressive when you consider that Vincent Jackson was placed on injured reserve last week. Russell Shepard and Peyton Barber also found the end zone. Who are those two guys? That’s my point; other players stepped it up nicely.

The defense is also playing much better. Yes, they let the ‘Niners march right down the field to start the game. And the second TD they gave up was the direct result of a bonehead mistake by Winston. But the D held San Francisco to a field goal the rest of the way.

Roberto Aguayo missed another field goal. Yes, it was a 50-yarder, but it’s only going to add to the scrutiny surrounding the second-round pick. He’s now 6-for-11 on FG’s this season. Not good enough.

But six games in, and the Bucs are very much right in the mix. The next three games are at Ray-Jay, where Tampa Bay has struggled to win in recent years. That has to change, starting with the game against a very good Oakland team next Sunday.

Photo courtesy: buccaneers.com

 

Some Thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 2016 Schedule

For those of us who love taking road trips to see an NFL game, it’s always fun when the NFL schedule is released. It came out this past week. Here’s how 2016 is shaping up for the Bucs:

SEPTEMBER 11      @ Atlanta 1:00

SEPTEMBER 18      @ Arizona 4:05

SEPTEMBER 25      L.A. RAMS 4:05

OCTOBER 2            DENVER 4:05

OCTOBER 10          @ Carolina 8:30 (Monday Night)

OCTOBER 23          @ San Francisco 4:05

OCTOBER 30          OAKLAND 1:00

NOVEMBER 3         ATLANTA 8:25 (Thursday Night)

NOVEMBER 13       CHICAGO 1:00

NOVEMBER 20       @ Kansas City 1:00

NOVEMBER 20       SEATTLE 4:05

DECEMBER 4         @ San Diego 4:25

DECEMBER 11        NEW ORLEANS 1:00

DECEMBER 18       @ Dallas 1:00

DECEMBER 24       @ New Orleans 1:00

JANUARY 1 –           CAROLINA 1:00

 

A number of things stand out to me immediately:
*The Buccaneers have to make three trips to the western time zone. I can tell you from past experience: things haven’t gone well over the years when they head west.

*Is it me, or does Tampa Bay have more 4:00 games than usual, whether it be 4:05 or 4:25? Even three of the home games are late kickoffs.

*They have to play both Super Bowl teams from a season ago. Obviously they get Carolina twice since it’s a division opponent, but the world-champion Broncos also visit Ray-Jay.

*Cold weather doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, although we’ll see what mid-November in Kansas City is like.

*Wouldn’t it be sweet if the season finale against the Panthers was for the NFC South title? Hey, a guy can dream.

I like to head to Tampa in November or early December. So I’m eyeing the games against the Bears or Seahawks, two teams I have never seen in person before. We shall see.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times