Under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football, the Buccaneers yet again fail to bring home a win – despite the opportunity.
Welp, it wasn’t a blowout on Thursday night at least, right? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell short against the Patriots, losing 19-14 in what amounted to the Bucs essentially beating themselves. It wasn’t pretty, it got exciting, then heartbreaking. Not much more to do other than to dive right in…
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) The Defense Was Astounding. Vernon Hargreaves still has his issues. Lack of aggression, giving cushion inside the five yard line, but overall the defense did everything anyone could have asked. They held Tom Brady to one touchdown, the Pats’ offense to 19 points, got two turnovers, sacked Brady three times. Justin Evans stepped up big for the Bucs, with eight tackles and an interception. Gerald McCoy was Gerald McCoy. For a team missing three key starters on defense, holding the Pats to 19 was incredible.
2.) Unfortunately, The Offense Was Garbage For Three Quarters. Can we stop this? Please? For a defense that had allowed more yards than any team in NFL history through four games, this offense couldn’t get rolling at all. Koetter went away from everything that worked (I’ll get into that in a later topic), Jameis Winston was unfathomably bad for the first three quarters, and they couldn’t capitalize on any opportunities throughout the majority of the game. When they did find themselves in scoring position, a familiar foe came right back to haunt us…
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3.) The Curse Of Lawrence Tynes? First off, I said it in Pick Six on Monday – get rid of Nick Folk! These kicking woes didn’t cost the Bucs against the Giants, but they sure as heck did against the Patriots. Folk went 0-3, missing from 56, 49, and 31. The 56 yarder, I’ll forgive. That’s a tough kick for anyone. The other two? Inexcusable. Folk missed four kicks for the Jets in 2016. He’s missed five and an extra point for the Bucs in five days. He’s got to go. Period. You have ten days to find a new one. Get it done!!
4.) Welcome Back Doug Martin! By now you all know how critical and skeptical I’ve been about Doug Martin, but wow – what a performance. When he had his opportunities, Martin looked like 2012/2015 Martin. He finished with 74 yards on 13 carries – a 5.7 yards per carry average – and a touchdown. Why they went away from Doug in the second half, only Koetter knows. He was the hot hand, Winston was struggling. More Martin throughout may have given this game a different outcome.
5.) Jameis Winston Was BAD. We saw him talk about how excited he was to meet Tom Brady and see him play. Perhaps there was a bit too much “awe” and not enough focus on what he was supposed to do. Until the game was nearly out of hand, Jameis looked pedestrian at best. He was missing open guys, rushing passes, had zero touch on his short throws. It was frustrating for sure. This doesn’t mean he is a bad quarterback. This doesn’t mean he’s a bust. Despite the poor play, he still put them in position to win the game and appeared to have a miscommunication on that final pass to O.J. Howard. Now, why a game winning pass would be drawn up for O.J. Howard over Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson or Cam Brate, I don’t really understand. But again, let’s ease off the insanity of some of these overreations, huh?
6.) We’re Seeing The Winston/Jackson Connection Start To Click. As David and I talked about on Wednesday’s Walking The Plank Podcast, Winston and Jackson were pressing a bit too much. They needed a layup. They needed an easy pitch and catch to get the ball rolling, relieve the pressure, and get in sync. That came in the form of a short slant pass that Jackson took for 41 yards. Jackson finished as the leading receiver with five receptions for 106 yards and had some eye popping receptions at times. The chemistry is building, the connection is clicking. It happened a little too late to save this game, but it’s a great sign moving forward into the second quarter of the season.
Six Numbers To Consider
0 – Bucs wins on Thursday Night Football
4 – Drops by Cam Brate, including a touchdown on a drive that ended with a missed field goal
24 – Career rushing touchdowns from Doug Martin, third most in team history
3 – Consecutive 300 yard games by Jameis Winston, longest streak of his career
1 – Wins vs. Bucs in Raymond James by Tom Brady in his career
2 – Consecutive games without a turning the ball over
Six Things To Do Until The Next Bucs Game
6.) Knock out everything on your “honey do” list this weekend – frees up the rest of the season
5.) Family fun day to appease the kiddos – so they leave you alone during at least next week’s game
3.) Pray that Jameis and DeSean finally have this deep ball thing figured out the rest of the year
2.) Ask Lawrence Tynes for forgiveness – and to lift his curse off of the Bucs kickers moving forward
1.) Breathe. Relax. Take a step back. At least they aren’t 1-3 after four games again.
Six Reasons Not To Panic
6.) Most people believed the Buccaneers being 3-2 after Thursday would be acceptable. All of those people picked the Bucs to beat the Dolphins. They’re on track, with some adjustments that must be/will be made in this mini bye
4.) This team has more fight in it than we’ve seen in the last ten years combined. They don’t roll over, they don’t give up, and Thursday night they almost stole a win after an incredibly sloppy game.
3.) The “high powered offense” that was pumped up before the season and now become a punch line among many on social media isn’t quite there. But what does it say when they’re high powered for a quarter or two and are in every game? What will be said when they put together a complete game? It’s coming, folks…
2.) Doug Martin appears, after one game, to be the player we hoped he’d be. If he continues to play like he did against the Patriots for the duration of the season – and he gets the work load – it’ll go a long way towards that high powered offense.
The next quarter of the season has four very beatable opponents – Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, Saints. Going 3-1 puts them in a great position after the first half. The sky is not falling, the season is not over. Getting some rest and getting some players back from injury will be a great jump start to a run.
Six Super Bets
1.) Kansas City Chiefs – Still unbeaten
2.) Green Bay Packers – Again I ask, who else in the NFC do you trust most?
3.) New England Patriots – I said they were better than their record. Brady is still Brady
4.) Atlanta Falcons – Not too hungover
5.) Denver Broncos – Defense wins championships
12.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – They just have to put it all together and play a complete game…oh, and get a NEW FREAKING KICKER