Winner: Job Security
Sunday was a must-win game for the Bucs in more than one way.
There were the obvious playoff implications at stake, but it also felt like for the first time all year jobs were truly on the line. A loss to a 1-10 division rival six days after firing its head coach would have been Final-Nail-In-The-Coffin stuff.
Todd Bowles seat is already essentially on fire, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat since the Bucs loss to Houston a few weeks ago. It’s not just that the Bucs were losing, it was that his defense was starting to become a main part of the problem. That loss to the Texans is a game that gets defensive coordinators fired, the only challenge in the Bucs doing that is the fact that the defensive coordinator also happens to be the head coach.
Bowles and his staff needed a win to quiet things down, which is exactly what happened. The noise is still there, as allowing the team to fall apart over the next five games will surely spell the end of Bowles in Tampa Bay. That might already been a closed case, but turning the season around and showing real improvements while earning a home playoff game would go along way in making a case that Bowles might be able to do the job the way the Bucs need him to.
Questions still remain about what the future holds, and not many detractors were converted by what they saw on Sunday. He turned the heat down slightly, though, and can build off that with another strong performance next week against Atlanta.