Often in sports, there is a tendency to not blame role players after tough losses. This may be because it’s easier to call out the stars for a lack of performance than it is to dive into the minutia of tiny mistakes made by role players that inevitably leads to losses, but the Buccaneers aren’t most teams.
However, it is certainly the case with the loss to the L.A. Rams last Sunday that it was the role players that simply couldn’t get it done for the Bucs when they needed it most.
Time and time again, it was costly mistakes in seemingly easy plays that hurt the Bucs. It was this death by 1,000 cuts that inevitably lead to the Buccaneer loss. The game had already been lost long before the last-minute field goal by the Rams.
However, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians made the right decision after the loss when he called out the Bucs defense for their lack of execution on the second to last play of the game that set up an easy game-winning field goal for the Rams.
On that play, Rams quarterback, Matthew Stafford managed to make a huge downfield pass to a wide-open Cooper Kupp, who was somehow only guarded by one Bucs player.
When reporters asked Arians what happened, he responded that there were supposed to be more players blitzing on Stafford to create more pressure on the throw.
The fact that there was a play called, and somehow, at the end of the year with the season hanging in the balance, and there were players that didn’t know what they needed to do is unforgiveable.
Arians has every right to not protect his players in this situation. He didn’t insult their character or make it personal, which would have been crossing a line.
Arians simply stated that these players are professionals, they had a job to do, and they didn’t execute the way they should have.
Bucs fans have every reason to expect better from players and coaches after a loss like the one suffered last Sunday, and that starts by acknowledging obvious mistakes.