For the second time this week, the Buccaneers lose a close game and virtually destroy their playoff chances.
Back to back weeks the Buccaneers were thrust into the national spotlight and in back to back weeks they showed they just aren’t ready for the limelight. Failing to beat division rival New Orleans – who had been eliminated from playoff contention before kickoff – all but put the nail in the coffin of any playoff hopes Bucs fans had while riding high off that five game win streak.
Now, the Buccaneers will enter week seventeen and play a home game against the Panthers to try and keep their slim playoff hopes alive – but they’ll need a ton of help. Let’s pick six.
Six Topics Suitable For Discussion
1.) Jameis Winston isn’t getting the job done in clutch time. I love Jameis. His leadership, his tenacity, his “wow” factor. However, when there is a play that has to be made with the game on the line, Winston keeps falling short. It happened against Los Angeles, Dallas, and now New Orleans. With the Bucs still within striking distance, Winston threw a horrendous interception that would lead to a Saints field goal, all but ending the game with under five minutes remaining. Yes, Winston led them on a scoring drive to get that field goal back, but it essentially wasted precious time for a push. If Jameis wants to be considered among the league’s upper-tier quarterbacks, he can’t make those kinds of mistakes. He has to be the one everyone knows will come through and win the game. We just haven’t seen it. Yet.
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2.) Doug Martin was a healthy scratch? And Martin haters everywhere rejoice! It was a puzzling decision and I still vehemently disagree with it. Jacquizz Rodgers had a fine game, but I will be very interested to see the coach’s film on Rodgers’ runs to see how the offensive line did. As I eluded to earlier in the week, it hasn’t been Doug Martin that has caused the majority of the problems in the run game. I still firmly believe Martin is the best back on this team. However, based on what we saw today, it appears the coaches don’t believe that to be the case anymore. This is will certainly create some interesting off-season stories.
3.) This team needs weapons. Desperately. There are a lot of holes still left to be filled on this team. The secondary needs help. The offensive line needs help. The defensive line needs depth. Taking all that into consideration, the Buccaneers would be wise to invest their first round pick in a stud wide receiver to compliment Mike Evans. When Cameron Brate went down with a back injury, it was Russell Shepard that stepped up – and he did a fine job. Unfortunately, the Bucs can’t expect to compete at the highest of levels with the options being Mike Evans and a slew of undrafted free agents. It just won’t happen. They need to continue to build a young core – and adding speed wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
4.) No more Josh Huff kickoff returns. Seriously. No more with this guy. He muffed one in the first game against the Saints, which led to a safety. This week, he bobbles the opening kickoff in the second half, pinning the Buccaneers inside the five yard line again. He wasn’t on return duty the rest of the game and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he’s seen his last game as a Buccaneer. You had one job, Huff…
5.) Playoffs are still possible. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand every scenario in which the Bucs can make the playoffs (yet), but there’s still a chance. The Bucs have been in playoff mode for a month and at one point controlled their own destiny. Now, they need a win against Carolina and a whole heaping pile of help to sneak in. More on that later this week.
6.) Are Bucs fans already souring on Dirk Koetter? I’ve seen a lot of people calling out Koetter for his poor clock management, poor play calling, and poor decisions. Look, Koetter is a rookie. Yes, he’s been in the league a long time, but he is a rookie head coach. None of this was coming up when he was coaching the team to their longest win streak in almost fifteen years. Koetter has taken on a lot of responsibilities he didn’t have before. He’s going to make mistakes. The key is, did he learn from them? As for play calling? Look at what he’s working with. Again, a bunch of undrafted free agents and an inconsistent (to say the least) offensive line that has severe troubles in run blocking. We got spoiled for a bit when the Bucs just kept winning. A full blown turnaround takes time. We’ve seen the growth and the beginning of a culture overhaul, but let’s chill out on the “Koetter is a bum” hot takes, huh?
Six Numbers To Consider
8 – Touchdown catches by Cameron Brate, now tied for most ever by a tight end in Bucs’ history in one season. Also, most in the NFL (and he’s not even a Pro Bowl alternate…)
11 – Touchdowns by Mike Evans, one shy of the most receiving touchdowns in a season in Buccaneers’ history
3,513 – Receiving yards by Evans in his first three seasons, seventh most in NFL history
27 – Touchdown passes by Winston, now tied for the most passing touchdowns in a season in Bucs’ history
178 – Passing yards Winston needs next week to break Josh Freeman’s record for most passing yards in a season in Buccaneers’ history (4,065)
267 – Passing yards needed by Winston to set the NFL record for most passing yards in a player’s first two NFL seasons. Winston has 7,930. Andrew Luck holds the record with 8,196
Teams To Root For Next Week.
The Bucs. Root for the Bucs. As I said, I’m not sure all the different scenarios yet, and they get more and more complicated based on certain outcomes. We’ll dive into the playoff picture in the coming days, but for now, let’s just worry about us.
Six Best Christmas Movies
It’s Christmas day. If you’ve read this far, you have my sincerest of thank yous. It’s a fun, joyous day for families to spend with one another and for anyone to take the time to read about a Bucs team that broke your heart yesterday, it truly means a lot. So, with that in mind, as soon as you finish this, put on that pot of coffee, enjoy that traditional breakfast, and prepare for the onslaught of wrapping paper shreds you’ll be cleaning until St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few movies to pop on the TV during all the madness.
6.) The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Normally sequels are relatively “blah”, but this movie is outstanding and fun. Martin Short steals the show as Jack Frost and Alan Arkin is always funny.
5.) How The Grinch Stole Christmas – I know there are some nay-sayers out there, but Jim Carrey was fantastic in this movie. And the kids always gets some big laughs when it’s on.
4.) Elf – No one could’ve pulled off “fully grown man thinks he’s an elf” better than Will Ferrell. Great movie, lots of laughs. Definitely climbing the “classic Christmas movie” ranks.
3.) The Santa Clause – Yes, I know the third one is already on here, but it’s hard to top the original. Tim Allen was perfect for this role and he nails it.
2.) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – May not be the best choice if you have real little ones – especially when Chevy Chase rants about his boss or talks about Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny Kaye – but it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it, you still laugh. An absolutely outstanding Christmas movie.
1.) A Christmas Story – It’s already on the TV. It’ll be on for 24-hours. There’s a reason for that. A Christmas Story is the best. We all relate to Ralphie, when we begged and begged for one thing and were shot down at every turn – only to open it up that magical morning. It’s gotta be the number one choice.