There are still six games left, but we're reaching the point of no return for Todd Bowles -- as in it's starting to look like he won't return next season.
Bowles was already on the hot seat coming into the season, but a lot of that chatter was mindless fodder by pundits looking to fill airtime and word counts. After another embarrassing loss, though, the heat is starting to get very seriously turned up on Bowles.
We're 12 weeks into the season, and at some point, it will be impossible to defend Bowles if we haven't already reached that point.
Once again Bowles carried all three of his timeouts into halftime, and he only used one to try and stop the clock at the end of the game. He also failed to challenge a pass to Mike Evans that officials ruled incomplete on the field but appeared to be a catch upon further review. Even Evans was adamant that it was a catch, but Bowles chose to do nothing and was bailed out by an incredible throw by Baker Mayfield on 4th and 10.
That's what it's been like for the Bucs all season, and it starts with Bowles. The fact that he elected to not challenge a play that would have resulted in a first down and gambled on converting with one of the worst third-down offenses in football is a massive indictment of his decision-making. There have been so many examples of that throughout the season, from that weird sequence of events before halftime in Buffalo, to not fighting for points before halftime against Atlanta, to getting fooled on a 4th Down camouflage play by the Colts that resulted in a huge gain and a back-breaking touchdown.
Whether intentional or not, Bowles has shown a lack of confidence in his team during games. Not listening to Evans say he caught a ball that was ruled incomplete when we rarely see him do that sort of thing speaks volumes. It's the same thing as Bowles not believing in his offense to get points before halftime and it has led to various instances of self-inflicted momentum stunting.
The Bucs are 4-7 and in freefall after starting the year 3-1. Something is broken, and it's all starting to point in a direction ownership and the front office might not be able to overlook.