Things could not have gone worse for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Given a chance to prove themselves as contenders in the NFC, the Bucs folded under the pressure, committing numerous mistakes that ended up being pivotal points that turned the game against them.
Perhaps most troubling is how familiar the loss felt. Not only was it eerily similar to the way the Bucs lost to Philadelphia earlier in the year but it had shades of how quickly things spun out of control on the team last season.
Remember those games last season where a few things throwing the Bucs out of sync early in the game ended up putting them behind the eight ball? That same thing felt like it happened against the Lions, were some bad breaks threw the Bucs off their axis and into total chaos.
Not everything was negative, as there were a few bright spots that stood out in the darkness of the loss. On the whole, things were a disaster and this is by far the first truly awful game the Bucs have played all season — and hopefully their last.
Winner: Run Defense
Things spun out of control on the Bucs in a bad way late in the game, but the defense was managing to hold its own until for most of the afternoon. The defense could only bend so far before breaking, though, and that’s what we saw on the Ryan Neal play that led to a Jameson Williams touchdown.
One thing that remain stout from start to finish was the run defense.
Tampa Bay came into the game with a Top 10 defense in yards per game, and the line was an absolute brute force on Sunday. Detroit is averaging 124 yards per game, but the Bucs held the Lions to just 40 yards on the ground in Week 6.
That’s phenomenal work.
Vita Vea and Calijah Kancey looked amazing, Devin White was getting involved early, and everything clicked when it came to stopping the run. It serves as a prime example of the defense carrying most of the weight on Sunday but not getting the proper support it deserved. It wasn’t until late in the game that things broke open, and none of the blame for what happened should be put on the run defense.