While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to get a win last Sunday over the Falcons, it wasn't without some major frustrations.
One of the most frustrating plays came in the fourth quarter, when Atlanta was able to get itself back into the game thanks to a Bijan Robinson touchdown. The entire drive was an unmitigated disaster, but the cherry on top was that Tampa Bay only had nine players on defense when Robinson scored.
In a season full of boneheaded mistakes that have held the team back, this one takes the cake. It’s almost hard to comprehend how big of an error this was, and it turned into another piece of evidence fans used to insist that Todd Bowles needs to be fired as head coach.
As it turns out, it might not have been as much Bowles fault as everyone initially assumed it was.
Larry Foote falls on the sword for Todd Bowles over nine players on the field mistake
One would assume that because it’s Bowles defense, and he calls the plays on that side of the ball, that this mistake was on him. After all, he took all of the flack after the Bucs defense imploded against the Texans a few weeks ago just as he’s been handed all of the credit for when things go well — like the Super Bowl win over Kansas City.
This time around one of his coaches fell on the sword for him
In an admirable move, co-defensive coordinator Larry Foote owned up to the massive mistake of the Bucs only having nine players on defense for Bijan Robinson's rushing touchdown in Week 14.
You can't say there isn't loyalty on the Buccaneers coaching staff, but this is also a step toward the accountability fans have been calling for all season.
One thing that has been sorely lacking amid all of the repeated mistakes is someone owning up to them in a meaningful way. Bowles can only say that the team practiced well but didn’t have it translate so many times before our heads explode — or it starts to lose all of its meaning.
This feels genuine, though, and it also goes to show just how tightly knit the locker room remains. Most of the noise about Bowles being fired has come from the outside, but a peak like this inside of the operation paints a very different picture.
After the win the Bucs posted a typical victory speech video but it showed just how bought in the players remain despite all that has happened. Hearing that coaches on Bowles staff are willing to own a mistake like this shows that things might not be as rocky as they appear from the outside.