Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) vs. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)
What happened last week was a bigger deal than was initially made. Major pundits used it as the reason to finally bury the Buccaneers and their “college” coach for good this season. But underneath the national attention — now that it’s officially gone for the season– is a larger problem that I’ve been pointing at with a giant neon sign, manically shouting from the corner of the street on my soapbox about: this team is incomplete.
And it goes beyond the secondary.
Teams on the brink don’t get blown out and post a grand total of zero points in a game. Something else happened and the troubling thing is we don’t know what we’re looking for. It’s only after today’s game against the Rams that we will know what is really going on in Tampa, and even then the picture will only be hazy at best.
Josh Freeman is on a seriously unhealthy passionate love-violent hate relationship with the fan base in Tampa and that’s one issue leading to the larger one. Another is the suspect offensive line play that we’ve been waiting to see for the past few weeks when they were getting lucky.
The defense allowed 41 points last week and were gashed all over the place after maintaining for almost a full season with a weak defense. To be honest, that defense could have been allowing 41-plus each week and they weren’t, so surprisingly enough they deserve a little more than a sliver of props.
But perhaps the breaking down after maintaing is the issue. This team was not a playoff team from the very start, but they did they best impression of trying to be one for a serious stretch of this season. That’s like trying to go to the gym and lift more weights than possible just so you can impress the women there.
It all starts out great, but after five reps you realize you overreached.
The time for the playoffs is the future, and we’re seeing that in the classic school’s almost out attitude the Bucs seem to have. You know the feeling, the year is almost over, you know there won’t be any homework so why the hell try when it’s not really going to help your grade?
Either the Bucs are in that mood or something horrible misfired on Sunday. We can’t gauge it until after we see how they do against the Rams, but it’s an all too familiar pit in our collective stomachs and it’s not a welcome one. Hopefully last week was just a case of the Bucs collapsing under their own weight which they’re not ready to support yet. I still believe this team is on the brink of something, but 41-0 blowouts don’t calm the mind.
It could be overreaction, it could be under-reaction. But you find out a lot about who a team really is from how they play when there is nothing to win other than dignity. So which Bucs team do we really have?
We will find out.
Location: Raymond James Stadium
Time: 1:00pm ET/Noon CT
Nat’l TV: N/A
Bucs TV: BLACKED OUT
Away TV: FOX
Announcers: Ron Pitts/Mike Martz
Live Stream: NFL Live Stream
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), WXOS 101.1FM (St. Louis)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 829 (Bucs Feed), Sirius 819 (Rams feed Feed)
Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees
Line: Bucs -4.0
Last Week: Buccaneers lost to Saints 41-0, Rams lost to Vikings 36-222
Last Meeting: October 24, 2010 – Buccaneers 18, Rams 17
Series History (Since 2001): Bucs lead 4-1
Key Bucs Storyline: Can the Buccaneers right the ship before the season comes to an end?
Opposing View: Can the Rams ride into the offseason on a hot streak?
Prediction: Rams 17, Bucs 24
Follow @ThePewterPlank for the latest Buccaneers news.