The Buccaneers headed west this week with a 1-0 record, but will return home at 1-1 after a 40-7 blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Here, we have immediate observations and reactions from Sunday’s loss.
After a 31-24 win in Atlanta last week, the Buccaneers went to Arizona looking for a big upset. Instead, they were embarrassed by the Cardinals, going down 24-0 at halftime before eventually falling 40-7.
Observations and Reactions- General
-As a team, it didn’t look like the Bucs ever felt confident that they could hang with a team like Arizona. It was a sloppy game all-around for Tampa Bay after a promising step forward last week.
-A lot has been said about needing to start fast in order to be successful, but Tampa Bay did the opposite on Sunday. The Cardinals totaled 24 points and 267 yards in the first half, while the Bucs were held scoreless after picking up just 92 yards.
-Penalties weren’t much of an issue for the Bucs this week. They were flagged just five times for 39 yards.
Observations and Reactions- Offense
–Jameis Winston was way off on Sunday afternoon, completing just 27 of his 52 attempts for 243 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions. He also fumbled once after a teammate inadvertently knocked the ball out of his hands.
–Doug Martin left the game early with a hamstring injury, which severely cut into the Bucs’ offensive production. If the injury keeps him out down the road, it’ll be a big problem.
–Charles Sims couldn’t get anything going in relief of Martin, rushing for 24 yards on nine touches. He struggled to make anyone miss and fell victim to a solid rush by Arizona. His caught three passes for four yards and had a pass go off of his hands into a defender’s for a pick six.
–Adam Humphries looked really good, getting some nice gains on screens and short passes. He totaled 67 yards on six catches.
-It’s only been two games, but Vincent Jackson is off to a rough start this year. He caught just four passes for 44 yards and never really found a rhythm with his quarterback.
Observations and Reactions- Defense
-Tampa Bay couldn’t get much of a pass rush going, which allowed Carson Palmer to tear the secondary apart. He finished the day 18-for-31 for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
–Brent Grimes and Chris Conte struggled against a solid Arizona receiving corps. Grimes was beaten repeatedly and dropped an interception, while Conte was beaten for a 51-yard touchdown over the middle at the end of the first half.
–Alterraun Verner had good day. He started off his afternoon with back-to-back pass deflections in tight coverage.
-After such a big game last week, Kwon Alexander struggled this week. He finished with seven tackles (six solo).
–Noah Spence picked up Tampa Bay’s only sack of the afternoon. It was the first of his career.
Observations and Reactions- Special Teams
-Adam Humphries got rocked by a couple of hits on punt return and averaged just 8.6 yards per return on five chances.
-After making an extra point attempt, Roberto Aguayo missed a 45-yard field goal in the third quarter.
-Apart from one 38-yard punt, Bryan Anger had a pretty good day. He punted six times for an average of 47 yards.
The Bucs just aren’t there yet. Last week was a nice step for the team, but this week proved that Tampa Bay isn’t on the same level as a perennial contender like Arizona. There were mistakes all over the place and injuries piled up, which made for a long afternoon. But, this can be a big learning experience for a young team. Head coach Dirk Koetter won’t allow something like this to happen again, so Tampa Bay is going to be ready to come out and respond in a big way next week.
The Buccaneers will return to the Bay Area next week to host the Los Angeles Rams. Kickoff is set for 4:05.