For the first time in almost a month, the Buccaneers returned to Raymond James Stadium. Despite having countless opportunities to win, Tampa Bay (3-4) was beaten 30-24 in overtime by the Oakland Raiders (6-2). Here, we have immediate observations and reactions from another disappointing Sunday for the Bucs.
The Buccaneers had plenty of chances to win on Sunday. They were handed 200 yards in penalties by the Raiders. They led by a touchdown with 3:48 left. They saw Oakland miss a field goal as time expired in regulation and on the first drive of overtime. None of that mattered, as Derek Carr found Seth Roberts for a 41-yard touchdown in the final two minutes of overtime to send the Bucs to their fourth loss.
Observations and Reactions- General
-The Bucs only committed six penalties for 64 yards, although they still had their fair share of ill-timed flags. Jude Adjei-Barimah‘s holding call in the final minutes of regulation ended up costing Tampa Bay a win. The Raiders, however, shot themselves in the foot all day. They showed that they came into the game as the most penalized team in the league for a reason, committing a league-record 23 penalties for 200 yards.
-The reason behind it might make sense, but I wasn’t a big fan of head coach Dirk Koetter playing it safe before halftime. With a minute left on the clock, he didn’t give his offense much of a chance to build on the lead. What was even more frustrating about it was the fact that Oakland got the ball and scored on the first drive of the second half.
-It’s clear that the Bucs still don’t know how to win close games. They had every opportunity to put the Raiders away, but couldn’t do it.
-Oakland had the ball for 44 minutes and two seconds on Sunday, which was much higher than Tampa Bay’s 29 minutes and three seconds.
Observations and Reactions- Offense
-The offense got out to a pretty good start in the first half, but was anemic in the second half and overtime. Its efficiency on third downs early in the game was impressive, as it started 3-for-4, but the final mark ended up being 4-for-13.
-The Bucs looked like they were on their way to an early lead on the game’s first drive, but a holding call on Donovan Smith killed the drive. Holding penalties happen, but one as obvious as Smith’s just can’t happen at crucial times. That wasn’t the only issue for Smith on the day. He, along with the rest of the offensive line, had a rough day.
–Jameis Winston started strong, but went downhill fast. He finished the day 16-for-32 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over, which was a positive, but he wasn’t nearly effective enough to be competitive against a great Oakland offense.
-Winston really needs to get better with his deep ball. He has consistently overthrown receivers on fly routes, often by 10 yards or more.
-It’s been cool to see how productive Russell Shepard has been in the last two weeks. On Sunday, he caught just two passes, but one was a spectacular grab for a 19-yard touchdown.
–Jacquizz Rodgers wasn’t as explosive this week, but still rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He left the game late with a foot injury, which is another hard hit to the Bucs’ backfield.
–Mike Evans had his worst game of the season, catching just four passes for 50 yards on 11 targets.
-As bad as the Tampa Bay offense looked, it amazingly did enough to win. A Rodgers touchdown and a two-point conversion gave the Bucs a seven-point lead with under four minutes left. The defense failed to hold on. It’s hard to knock the offense for that.
Observations and Reactions- Defense
-The Tampa Bay defense had a very strong first quarter, but bent a little bit in the second. Even still, holding the Raiders to three points in a half is certainly not an easy task. The only reason they even picked up three points was because of one coverage breakdown that led to a 68-yard gain.
-That being said, whatever adjustments that Oakland made (or Tampa Bay failed to make) at halftime proved to be a huge difference in the game. Derek Carr picked the Bucs apart in the second half, starting the third quarter 9-for-10 for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
-Right before the game-tying touchdown to Donald Penn (yes, really), Brent Grimes was called for pass interference in the end zone. Even if it was a questionable call as some may say, he can’t allow himself to be in that position.
-On Oakland’s go-ahead 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter, Chris Conte was matched up with Amari Cooper. There’s really not much to say about that. It just didn’t make sense and it certainly didn’t work out well.
-Tampa Bay gave up 626 total yards on Sunday. Oakland’s offense is stellar, but that’s still not acceptable. General manager Jason Licht has a lot of work to do this offseason, and that work should start with the safety position. Conte is not nearly good enough to be on the field as much as he is, and Bradley McDougald is far too inconsistent.
Observations and Reactions- Special Teams
-Just when it seemed like Roberto Aguayo was getting it together, he nearly costs his team the game. He made a 41-yard field goal and an extra point in the first half, but missed the potential game-tying extra point early in the fourth quarter. The Bucs made up for it with a two-point conversion later on, but his struggles are still very concerning.
–Bryan Anger was really good once again, but that isn’t a surprise anymore. He punted five times for an average of 48 yards per punt. He had three punts downed inside the Raiders’ 20-yard line, with one getting downed at the one.
-It still seems a little odd that rookie Ryan Smith is the Bucs’ only option to return kicks. He took two back for a total of 36 yards.
Dirk Koetter started this week by calling out Bucs fans and telling them to show up. He also acknowledged that the team has to do its part in creating a home-field advantage. Well, it definitely didn’t do its part on Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay probably isn’t the better team, but Oakland tried to hand the game over multiple times. The Raiders totaled 200 yards in penalties and still came away with the win. The Bucs are a competitive team. There’s no denying that they will compete in most games, but that isn’t enough. Koetter’s team didn’t hold up its end of the bargain. Continuously falling short in winnable games isn’t going to keep the fans coming back.
It really just looks like Tampa Bay doesn’t have enough to compete for a playoff spot. Chalk part of that statement up to frustrated post game feelings, but even at 3-4, does anyone feel like the Bucs are good enough to make the playoffs? If they do manage to sneak in, does anyone think they’re good enough to hang with teams like the Vikings, Seahawks and Packers? It sure doesn’t seem like it.
There isn’t a lot of time to rest up and figure things out. The Bucs remain home this week, hosting the division-leading Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night at 8:25.