TAMPA — The headline is the understatement of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season. The Bucs got outplayed, out hustled and out matched by the Chicago Bears Sunday in London. Now as they head into their bye week, Tampa has a lot of things they need to sort out if they want to make a serious run at a championship this season.
"“We made a lot of mistakes. Both on offense and defense and special teams that are just unacceptable and [the Bears] capitalized on just about every single one.”-Head Coach Raheem Morris"
One of the many headlines to come out of Sunday was Josh Freeman’s four interceptions he threw. This marks the second game this season where Freeman has thrown more than one interception and all four came at the worst possible time: on potential scoring drives. Freeman is a leader, he’s the guy the Bucs can invest all their faith into when they need him the most and this is the first time this season he has truly let them down in the clutch.
“The first one the safety made a good play and the second one I tried to force it to Kellen [Winslow], and I gotta stop doing that.” said Freeman of his performance. If there is one thing that you can’t get mad at Freeman for it’s his self correcting ways. Yes he blew the
game for the Bucs with terrible decisons that overall stalled the offense from ever getting anything going, but he recognized what he did wrong. The only thing now is will he continue to make the same mistakes.
As Freeman said himself, he forces the ball and that’s something he did a lot against the 49ers, arguably his other worst game of the season. He recognized the problem then, but he made the same errors Sunday against the Bears. Both defenses have proven their worth and Freeman is degrading his by making the same mistakes.
That’s not what a franchise quarterback does.
Now Freeman gets the benefit of the doubt again here but it’s a sad fact that we now have to pull out the “he’s young and learning” card to defend him. That’s probably the biggest defeat of Sunday’s loss.
Raheem Morris also didn’t make any excuses for the loss and did some recognition of his own: he’s the head coach of a young and unproven, unaccomplished team.
“We deserved the loss. We played unsmart, we gotta grow up faster.” Said Morris. But what makes Morris a special head coach is he doesn’t get down on his guys the way other head coaches do after an embarrassing and awful loss like the one the Bucs endured Sunday.
“I’m proud of my football team for staying in the fight, staying hungry and giving us a chance to win at the end.”
The fight he is referring to may be hard to decipher but it is there if you look for it. Adrian Clayborn had a tremendous game and continued his growth on the defensive line and lets not forget the two defensive goal line stands the Bucs had not only late in the game when everything was on the line but consecutively (thanks to Aqib Talib).
The fact of the matter is when you’re down like the Bucs where, 21-5, a lot of NFL teams give up in that position. Not Tampa. When you have your backs against the wall with under 3:00 to go in the game and the other team is knocking on the door, a lot of teams give up there. Not Tampa. Even with the game seemingly out of reach, the Bucs never gave up on that goal line stand and that’s a true testment to how Morris has coached this team. But he’s very aware of the teams pitfalls, even if he seems to just brush them off as nothing to worry about.
“We made a lot of mistakes. Both on offense and defense and special teams that are just unacceptable and [the Bears] capitalized on just about every single one.”
It’s easy to get down on the Bucs and believe me, I have a lot in recent weeks, but listening to Morris talk about his team inspires you to see them a different way.
Now that just needs to translate into wins. With Tampa on their bye week, it will be interesting to see how this young, unproven team works to improve themselves for a serious championship run.
Stay tuned to The Pewter Plank all week to keep up to date on all the best Bucs news.