Broncos 27, Buccaneers 7: Immediate Reactions

Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) tries to avoid Denver Broncos defensive linemen Derek Wolfe (95) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) tries to avoid Denver Broncos defensive linemen Derek Wolfe (95) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers (1-3) hosted the defending champion Denver Broncos (4-0) on Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay hung in for a quarter, but the offense wasn’t able to compete at a high enough level to beat a strong Denver defense. Here, we have immediate observations and reactions from the Bucs’ third straight loss.

45. Final. 7. 48. 27

The Broncos came into Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon and rolled over the Buccaneers, winning 27-7 with a one hour, 26-minute delay mixed in. After about a quarter, Tampa Bay stopped looking competitive, which allowed Denver to cruise the rest of the way.

Observations and Reactions- General

-This game showed that the Bucs still have a long way to go. The Broncos are one of the league’s elite teams, and it showed on Sunday.

-Sure, the Bucs have lost three straight and things aren’t looking good, but this isn’t on head coach Dirk Koetter. There are people out there that will call for his job and continue to question the firing of Lovie Smith, but there is just no way to put the blame for this 1-3 record on Koetter.

-Tampa Bay committed nine penalties for 69 yards, but it sure seemed like a whole lot more than that.

Observations and Reactions- Offense

-The Bucs really miss Doug Martin and Luke Stocker. Martin is a huge step above Charles Sims and Stocker is one of the best run blockers on the team. Without them, Tampa Bay couldn’t get much of anything going on the ground, totaling just 72 yards.

Jameis Winston struggled on Sunday against a very good Denver defense, throwing two interceptions while completing just 17 of his 35 attempts for 179 yards. Some of his struggles can be attributed to the lack of a run game, but he also made some bad throws on Sunday.

Cameron Brate looked good early, but slowed down as the game went on. Hecame up with 67 yards on five catches.

Vincent Jackson was a little bit more involved this week, catching three passes for 38 yards. Mike Evans caught five passes for 59 yards.

-The offensive line struggled to get a good push against the Denver defense. The Broncos came up with five sacks in addition to the consistent pressure that they were getting on Winston.

Observations and Reactions- Defense

-The defensive line is thinning quickly. With George Johnson, Jacquies Smith and Robert Ayers already out injured, Gerald McCoy and Noah Spence both left the game with injuries of their own.

-With that being said, the defensive line did some good things today. McCoy picked up half a sack before leaving, with Will Gholston getting credit for the other half. Clinton McDonald finished with one and a half sacks and Akeem Spence picked up half.

-McDonald deserves a lot of credit for his play on Sunday. He finished the afternoon with eight tackles (six solo) and one and a half sacks.

Kwon Alexander picked up seven solo tackles and a sack. He didn’t stick out like he usually does, but he still put together a solid day.

Chris Conte struggled again on Sunday. He has been a big problem for the Bucs lately, but there might not be a better option than him on the roster. That’s an issue.

-The Bucs were solid against the run on Sunday, holding the Broncos to 89 yards on the ground.

-Despite Trevor Siemian leaving with an injury, Tampa Bay couldn’t stop the Denver passing game. Rookie Paxton Lynch came in and put up 13 points on the Bucs while completing 14 of his 24 attempts for 170 yards and a touchdown.

-The defense failed to come up with a turnover, which is the third time in four games that has happened.

Observations and Reactions- Special Teams

Roberto Aguayo, who has been criticized more than almost anyone this season, didn’t get much of a chance to do anything on Sunday. He made his only attempt, which was an extra point in the first quarter.

-It’s hard to get excited about punting, but Bryan Anger has been really good this season. On Sunday, he punted seven times for an average of 46.6 yards. His long for the day was 59.

Final Thoughts

There really aren’t a lot of positives to take away from this game. The offense couldn’t get going at all and the defense struggled to stop a rookie backup quarterback. Tampa Bay has a long way to go, and things don’t get much easier next week. There’s a very real possibility that the Bucs head into their bye week at 1-4, which makes the loss to Los Angeles last week look even worse. There is time to turn this thing around, but it needs to happen fast. Jameis Winston is capable of much more than he is showing and the lack of a ground game is hurting. The secondary looks like it hasn’t improved much at all, which is a bad sign for a team playing in the same division as Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.

Next: Koetter Wants Culture Change For Buccaneers

The Buccaneers will take on the Carolina Panthers (1-3) next Monday night at 8:30.