Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense saves Byron Leftwich for now

Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

It wasn’t pretty as fans were flummoxed with the lack of scoring the majority of the game, but a humdrum Buccaneers offense got the last minute win, as Leftwich survives a date with the chopping block for now.

Not to take anything away from the win, a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ after all, but there are still some concerns affecting this team that need to to get buttoned up. This game shouldn’t have come down to another Tom Brady “Deja Vu all over again” moment with a literal last minute winning drive and a one yard TD pass to rookie TE Cade Otton. But we’ll take it.

That’ll surely get anyone pumped up, especially after three straight loses, but there was one person who could be visibly sporting a bit more emotion in that moment than in the previous eight weeks combined, and that’s offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

Understandably, it was possibly one of his biggest job-saving performances this year,  courtesy of the aforementioned, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.

Leftwich has been the focus as being the main culprit of this struggling Buccaneers’ offense. Although some improvement was made offensively, Tampa had a difficult time making much happen throughout most of the game, coming up with FG’s instead of TD’s.

Defensively the Bucs began to come to life with Vita Vea notching a couple sacks on Matthew Stafford, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches added another much needed one, making up for a missing Shaq Barrett. The rest of the defense’s renascent dominance was being restored.

With Winfield Jr. set to come back from his concussion soon, and hopefully a healthy Logan Ryan as well, we may see things looking quite bright after a well-needed Bye week and a quick hop across the pond to take on the Seahawks for a first ever NFL game in the birthplace of Oktoberfest.

There were still some overt issues with tackling regardless of the improvement. Several assignments were still missed evidenced by Cooper Kupp getting inexplicably left wide open just enough times to dampen any momentum the Bucs made, and even reaching the promised land on one of them.

But as the game progressed, the defense settled in and hit their assignments and squashed a powerful Rams offense holding them to only 13 total points.

Was it a kick in their proverbial rear ends by Lavonte David who called a player-only meeting prior to the Rams matchup? Because whatever was said seemed to spark some life back into the team.

Why does it take that to get this team going? Shouldn’t the coaches be able to, or the players reaching deep down within themselves?

Blame can be placed in many directions, but it’s hard to fully  blame an exhausted defense who spent more time on the field than a stalling, stagnant, semi-lifeless, yet evidentially well-rested offense.

The crosshairs are on Leftwich by every armchair Buccaneers quarterback and sports pundit out there, including yours truly. Calls for his departure have been ringing far and wide as his play calling, or lack thereof, have been painfully sluggish, somewhat like trying to sprint through a mud bog.

The game against the Rams may have shown signs of life for this offense, and the O-line still has a way to go, but lack of utilization of the talent is apparently abundant as Julio Jones hardly sees the field, Miller hasn’t run a deep route to keep the defense honest, and Kyle Rudolf is just MIA, just to name a few.

Unless Byron Leftwich can infuse some effective and creative uses of the weapons at his disposal and get points on the board, he may be once again fighting to survive getting the axe this week. Let’s hope he can take this offense from humdrum to exciting.

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