Not even a return from their starting quarterback could get the Buccaneers (4-8) past the Packers (6-6) as they fell 26-20 in overtime on Sunday afternoon. Here, we have observations and reactions from the loss.
The Buccaneers couldn’t do quite enough to escape Lambeau Field with a win, as the Packers came away with a 26-20 overtime victory. Let’s get to some reactions.
Observations and Reactions- General
-This was another match-up between two very mediocre teams, which made for another ugly game.
-Penalties, as usual, were an issue for Tampa Bay. The team got flagged eight times for 74 yards.
-The Bucs really dominated in most aspects of the game, but not in the only one that mattered. Tampa Bay outgained Green Bay 395 to 276 and held possession for 37:17. The Bucs finished with 25 first downs to the Packers’ sixteen.
-Tampa Bay fell to 1-6 on the road this year. That just simply won’t cut it.
Observations and Reactions- Offense
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-Against the opinions of many, the Bucs started Jameis Winston on Sunday behind a makeshift offensive line. It was a typical day from him, as he made some good throws but also showed some of his poor decision-making. Overall, he completed 21 of his 32 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest mistake was a fumble that got returned for a touchdown.
-Part of the problem for Winston, though, was that he had absolutely zero time in the pocket. The offensive line was missing, and will continue to miss, Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson. Without their top two linemen, the Bucs couldn’t protect their franchise quarterback. He got sacked seven times and was hit another thirteen. Not the best thing for someone who is fresh off a shoulder injury.
–Peyton Barber was the player of the game for Tampa Bay, doing it on the ground and through the air. He rushed 23 times for 102 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards. It was refreshing to see a real rushing attack for once this season. Barber’s 100-yard rushing day was the first by a Buccaneer running back since Oct. 23, 2016 when Jacquizz Rodgers did it against San Francisco.
-Winston completed passes to ten different receivers, which meant none of them had too big of a day. Mike Evans was held to just two catches for 33 yards, while Cameron Brate‘s two catches both went for touchdowns.
-Dirk Koetter actually had an okay day of play-calling. Winston was getting no time in the pocket, so Koetter continued to go with quick screens and slants. Plus, once Barber got hot, he continued to roll with him. I doubt that his play-calling efforts in this game will do anything to save his job, but it saved fans from a little bit of frustration.
Observations and Reactions- Defense
-The defense played well in the second half, but folded when it mattered. Mike Smith didn’t seem to have the scheme in place to defend against Brett Hundley‘s ability to run, which cost the Bucs. He ran for 66 yards on just seven carries.
-With that in mind, Tampa Bay looked good against the pass. Hundley isn’t the toughest quarterback to keep in check through the air, but he threw for just 84 yards and an interception.
-Rookie safety Justin Evans came up with the interception, which added to his team lead. He really has developed into a solid player in his first year, which has been encouraging to see.
–Will Clarke was the only defender to get to the quarterback for the Bucs, finishing with two sacks.
–Gerald McCoy is just really good. He finished with two tackles for loss, despite the fact that he was clearly the focus of the Green Bay offensive line.
-As solid as the Bucs were in defending the pass, the run defense was terrible. The Packers ran for 199 yards, which includes the game-winning 20-yard touchdown by Aaron Jones in overtime.
Observations and Reactions- Special Teams
–Patrick Murray was as reliable as ever on Sunday, connecting on field goals of 36 and 30 yards. He also made both of his extra point attempts. Remember when Tampa Bay couldn’t feel any bit of confidence on any field goal earlier this season? That seems like a distant memory.
–Bryan Anger averaged 35.2 yards per punt on five attempts, getting two downed inside the 20. Is it just me, or does it seem like he hasn’t been himself lately?
Well, Sunday was another letdown for Bucs fans, but aren’t we all numb to the disappointment by now? This is a lost season and no one should’ve expected anything to really change with Jameis Winston returning this week. The team has too many holes for problems to be solved by him. Not only that, but there has to be some concern about his progression, or lack of it, when it comes to decision-making. The third-year quarterback continues to make mistakes that stem from not knowing when to just tuck the ball and live to play another down. The defense looked okay for a lot of the day, but is that even impressive against an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team? I don’t think so.
Tampa Bay is now 4-8. Heading into the year, this was supposed to be a playoff team. Now, we can all look back and wonder where we went wrong. Injuries have played a part in this season, sure, but even without them, is this a playoff roster? The defensive line is a problem. A big one. The secondary is suspect, the offensive line has two or three serious holes and the backfield isn’t what it could be. The Bucs have a lot of work to do this offseason, which may or may not include a coaching change. As for the rest of this season? Well, it already looks like these guys are in full tank mode.
The Buccaneers return to Raymond James Stadium next Sunday to host the Detroit Lions (6-6). Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.
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