It could be said that things went from bad to worse for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday’s loss to the Lions, but that would imply that things went somewhere to begin with.
Once again the Bucs looked outmatched and outclassed by a superior opponent. Unlike the earlier loss to Ohiladelohia there was an expectation that Tampa Bay would put up a fight and prove that they belong in the conversation alongside other contenders in the NFC. That didn’t happen, and now the team is searching for answers following a humbling 20–6 loss.
Detroit flat out beat the Bucs up, and there’s no nice way to put it. Some things stood out as bright spots, like a great game from rookie Calijah Kancey and another solid performance by the run defense, but on the whole the afternoon was a disaster.
What sticks out as particularly frustrating was how uninvolved the offense was. The Bucs failed to reach the endzone and scored just six points in the loss, highlighting just how far the team needs to go before they’re taken seriously.
After the game Baker Mayfield was less than pleased with what he saw out of the team in the loss.
Baker Mayfield reacts to Bucs 20-6 loss to Lions
While speaking at his postgame press conference, a dishevealed Mayfield praised the defense and special teams for stepping and called out the offense for failing to show up.
“We can’t play like that,” Mayfield said at the podium following the loss. “I think the defense and special teams did an amazing job yet again and on offense we’ve just got to pick our s—t up.“
Baker didn’t mince words, coming right out and saying what every Bucs fan was already thinking about how the game went on Sunday.
Mayfield finished the game 19-for-37 with 206 yards and a costly interception. He was picked off in the first quarter after his pass to Mike Evans was tipped at the line and caught by Will Harris. Had Baker’s pass not been batted, it was on line to a wide open Evans who had nothing but green grass between himself and the endzone.
That game flipped the game right out of the gate, but was hardly the only reason the team faltered. From that point on, the Bucs mustered up only 46 yards rushing and managed only 13 first downs. Detroit brough constant pressure and tipped a few more of Baker’s passes, as the entire unit broke down in every imaginable way.
Evans was even off his game, dropping passes and committing a crucial pass interference that killed a potential touchdown drive.
Just like the Eagles game, the Bucs failed to get any momentum going and didn’t establish a rhythm early enough. Aside from the final drive of the game — which ended in a turnover on downs — the Bucs didn’t seem able to move the ball against a stout Lions defense.
It’s a troubling pattern, as this now makes it twice that the Bucs have gone up against top contending teams and failed in eerily similar ways. Against both Philly and Detroit the Bucs tried to get the offense grooving by hitting Evans, but both times that failed to happen and the house of cards came crashing down.
There’s a lot of season left, but the Bucs have a ton to work on before they can be considered anything more than a good team that isn’t talented enough to truly compete.