The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t learn from the past and it wound up costing them a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.
The 30-27 loss to Los Angeles in the Divisional Round was the third consecutive game against the Rams in which the Bucs got behind and had to play catch-up to try to win the game. Just like the previous two, the Bucs weren’t able to bridge the gap, and now their season is over.
The big question is why did Tampa Bay come out so flat at the start of the game? The Rams were on a short week and had to fly all the way across the country and yet they seemed the fresher team. The Bucs had an extra day to prepare and didn’t have to leave town and they performed like the game was starting three hours later.
This game saw the Rams jump out to a 27-3 lead with 7:07 left in the 3rd Quarter. They were helped immensely all day by the horrible and seemingly one-sided officiating by Shawn McVay, er, Hochuli and crew. Three personal foul penalties against Tampa Bay, included the first ever in Tom Brady’s career, certainly hurt.
The Bucs then went on a 24-0 run that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown run by Leonard Fournette with 42 seconds left that tied the score after Ryan Succop’s PAT. Tampa Bay had all of the momentum and it looked like things would be settled in Overtime.
Then DC Todd Bowles forgot the time and situation, called a blitz that left Bucs-killer Cooper Kupp one on one down the field with Antoine Winfield, Jr., and moments later the season for the Bucs was finished.
This was a difficult way for the season to end for Buccaneers fans, and now the questions on Brady’s future will become front and center.
Going forward, regardless of if he returns or not (and of course, he should), the Bucs and Bruce Arians have to figure out how to beat the Rams and the New Orleans Saints if they expect to contend again for a Super Bowl next season.
Both teams seem to own Tampa Bay, and until that changes, we may have to wait awhile before a Lombardi Trophy returns to One Buc Place.