Buccaneers: A Game of Attrition
By Zach Sauers
After a great win against a divisional opponent, the top of the division Buccaneers took their talents out to the desert. Unfortunately, this past Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals gave our beloved Bucs a bloodbath of a game.
With momentum and determination on their side, the Buccaneers took the field in Glendale Arizona in hope of creating a streak. The game started with a great defensive stop, and the Cardinals were forced to punt. Once the Bucs took over, they looked to start fast, and that is exactly what they did. A couple short throws, a couple good runs, and the Bucs decided to look deep.
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Jameis Winston was back to pass, he threw it deep… and it’s picked off by Patrick Peterson. No big deal right? Jameis can shake this off.
The first quarter passes, and all of sudden news comes that Luke Stocker has been downgraded to doubtful with an ankle injury. Oh how that changed the game. The Bucs began to drop like flies and Doug Martin was next. The $35 million dollar man suffered a hamstring not long after he lost his lead blocker.
Now that the run game was depleted, Coach Koetter looked to put the ball in the hands of the franchise player. Well… today was just not his day. Although Jameis’ offensive line seemed to hold just fine, the secondary of the Cardinals was just too much. With Vincent Jackson hardly being a glimpse of his old self, Winston was put into a position where he had to force the ball. His costly turnovers doomed the Bucs throughout the game, and this was no help to the also injury ridden defense.
Entering the second game of the season, the Bucs’ staff knew about the nagging injuries that both Lavonte David and Robert Ayers had. Thankfully, David had no apparent game time pain, but Ayers did not have that luck. His ankle, although heavily tapped, was unable to last. He exited the game just before the end of the first half.
Oh, not to mention the Bucs’ highly touted rookie corner was also plagued by the injury bug, but luckily his ankle was able to hold up for the most part throughout the game.
So, are injuries to blame for such a poor performance in the desert? No, definitely not, but it did play a major part. As many Bucs’ writers were concerned about before the season, the depth across the team came around to bite them. This was seen particularly the best around the running back position.
Last week, Charles Sims had writers and reporters drooling for more. Well now you see what can happen if his time is called upon solely. I’m not saying that the Cardinals do not have a top defense, but when you take Doug Martin out of the game bad things happen.
Another huge depth issue that has yet again been proven costly was at receiver. Has it just been a bad start of the season for V-Jax, or will our fears come true and his time has truly passed? The Bucs tried to bring the newly signed Cecil Shorts into the game, but… he also was injured. Where do we turn next?
Next: Week 2 Grades for the Buccaneers Loss to the Cardinals
Football is a game of attrition. Now that the Bucs have been given a rough reality check from one of the NFL’s top teams, can they bounce back for a good week against the Los Angeles Rams? What do you say Buc fans?