6 Buccaneers to blame after embarrassing loss to Falcons

It was a bad game, but a few guys deserve a little more blame than everyone else.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Todd Bowles

If any outsiders want a glimpse into why Bucs fans make it a weekly ritual to get enraged about Todd Bowles, look no further than how the first half was bookended.

Tampa Bay attempted to convert a 4th-and-6 on its very first drive of the game, teasing a new aggressiveness that had been sorely lacking. Any notion of that went out the window when Bowles ended the half by conceding with 15 seconds left and a full set of timeouts. This decision came with the game tied and after the Bucs forced the first of what ended up being three red zone turnovers.

That's the Bucs in a nutshell.

Sunday was a masterclass in terrible playcalling, most of which was the fault of Dave Canales. Bowles made plenty of mistakes on the defensive side, like insisting on playing zone coverage against a quarterback who has otherwise struggled against man coverage all season. Desmond Ridder had one of his best games of the year against one of the best defenses in the league, which made the loss on Sunday even more frustrating.

Another hallmark of the Todd Bowles experience is mind-numbing mistakes that all add up to zap momentum. This came in the form of boneheaded penalties in Week 7, of which the Bucs committed nine for a whopping 66 yards. It wasn't just that the team made so many mistakes, it was when they happened.

Rachaad White ripped off what has to be the best run of the Bucs season so far, one that went for 17 yards and extended what could have been a scoring drive. That was called back after Trey Palmer was flagged for holding, and a play later Deven Thompkins fumbled the ball away.

Every level of that sequence is the sort of stuff that should be coached out of the team, but there remains a strange tolerance for mistakes. That begins with Bowles, and it's not a new problem.