Why “What If” Hurts More Than It Helps for the 0-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a lot of “what ifs” for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the first two weeks of the regular season.
What if Lavonte David didn’t make such a boneheaded mistake? What if Ryan Lindell makes a fairly routine kick for an NFL kicker? Well, the Bucs would be 2-0.
It’s tough for Bucs fans to digest the first two weeks of the season. Aside from two crushing defeats, the circus surrounding Josh Freeman and his status with the franchise, Darrelle Revis saying head coach Greg Schiano isn’t using him properly, and Schiano getting under everyone’s skins it seems, it hasn’t been an enjoyable ride.
Looking at both games, the Bucs haven’t helped themselves. Let’s not mince words here: the Bucs have blown the lead in both games in the last minute.
We can look at the inconsistency of Freeman, the number of personal fouls that are being called on the Bucs secondary and the lack of communication the offense has shown.
But the point is the Bucs have still managed to hold the lead going into the last minute in both games against the Jets and Saints.
However, that has been primarily due to the play of the defense, which has been spectacular, minus the unnecessary personal foul penalties (I still think Ahmad Black’s hit Sunday was the only real ‘helmet-to-helmet’ hit).
David’s ‘hit’ (I use that term very loosely; he hardly shoved Geno Smith and he was still in bounds in my eyes) cost the Bucs 15 yards on defense and allowed Jets kicker Nick Folk the chance to make a 48 yard game winning field goal which he did. Was it a stupid mental error? Of course, but the way the NFL is being refereed these days it’s hard to blame David for playing the game the way it should be.
Then Lindell blew a 47 yarder Sunday that would have put the Bucs up by four, meaning Drew Brees would have had less than a minute to score a touchdown with no timeouts. A 47 yard, dead centre kick should be made by an NFL kicker. I felt uneasy as soon as FOX flashed up a graphic saying Lindell was only a 69% kicker from north of 40 yards. But I shouldn’t be. That should be routine in the NFL. This isn’t college football.
The Bucs have lost both games by a combined three points. It just makes you wonder though about what could have been.
What if Erik Lorig had played against the Jets? Would Doug Martin have ran all over their defense and given the Bucs the big win they had expected?
What if Freeman could complete more than 50% of his passes? What if he used his legs more? Would be the Bucs be 2-0?
It’s a whole lot of coulda, woulda, shoulda for the Bucs.
Could they be 2-0? No doubt
Would they be 2-0 if not for last minute collapses? Absolutely.
Should they be 2-0? Yes, and that’s what hurts the most here.