The 2021 edition of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may look a lot like last year’s version to some, with many of the same starters on offense and defense, not counting injuries of course. They even have many of the same opponents on the schedule from last season. Take a closer look, though, and the vision fans are seeing isn’t a crisp 2020.
Sure, this year’s team has a two game losing streak like in 2020. Last year, it was consecutive defeats going into the bye week. This year, the bye was sandwiched between two losses.
Everyone knows how 2020 would finish. Yet, even with the losses into the week off last year, there was something about the Bucs that was different. Perhaps it was Tom Brady’s aura, but fans knew if things came together, a Super Bowl win was in reach.
The Bucs this season sit at 6-3 and in first place in the NFC South. Yes, they lost their first meeting against the New Orleans Saints on the road just like last season. Yes, they lost to the Los Angeles Rams just like last season.
An optimist could say that falling short last Sunday against the Washington Football Team was merely like 2020’s Chicago Bears game. Both games were on the road, Brady didn’t look particularly great in either, and heck, even Vita Vea got hurt in both contests.
The point being that things looked bleak, but the club managed to turn things around. That was last year, though. The Bucs have been sleepwalking a bit through 2021.
Yes, a Super Bowl run takes a lot out of a team. The Bucs have been hit with more injuries than last year, especially on the defensive side. That still doesn’t excuse not being able to beat a Saints team who needed a third stringer to come in and play quarterback when starter Jameis Winston got hurt.
Or coming off of a bye and previous week’s defeat to the Saints and playing so poorly and listlessly against a team that hadn’t scored more than 13 points in their last three games, had lost 4 straight games, and was the worst entering the game against the pass in the Washington Football Team.
The positive thing for Buccaneers fans is that there is still enough time to right the ship. Whether it takes head coach Bruce Arians being hard on Brady and the rest of the team, just getting healthy for the stretch run, or the so-called media experts basically giving the team up for dead in regards to repeating.
It is time for Tampa Bay to snap out of the championship hangover and play with the consistency and hunger they haven’t shown enough of. They still have plenty of talent to overcome any obstacles they could face on the field. We just need to see more reminders of 2020 to believe in a championship vision for 2021.