Who Was Really To Blame For Last Season’s Losses?5 min read
With Jameis Winston entering the fifth and final year of his contract, one of the biggest reasons I hear for why he shouldn’t get paid is because he loses games and the fact the Bucs haven’t made the playoffs during his tenure as starting quarterback. Following up on the article I posted breaking down every turnover Jameis had in 2018, we’ll now break down each game and the reasons for the outcome beyond the obvious one team scored more than the other, and we’ll see if Jaboo really is to blame for the Bucs losses last season.
Weeks 1-4 Jameis did not play due to a suspension, so he can’t be factored into any of those games. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick took the team to a 2-2 record to start the season, with the first 3 games being fairly close and the 4th game of the season against the Bears turning into a complete annihilation at the hands of Chicago.
Week 5 was a bye week, so we move on to week 6.
Week 6 saw Jameis return to the field and lead the Bucs to almost pulling off the win, but a defense that allowed Matt Ryan to start the game 12-12 with no real pressure, a 15 yard run into the end zone untouched, and Julio Jones being left open way too many times, were all far more accountable for this loss than anything Jameis did, especially given he scored more touchdowns than Matt Ryan.
Week 7 saw Jameis lead the Bucs over the Cleveland Browns in overtime with a field goal in overtime giving the Bucs the win. While Jameis didn’t throw for a touchdown, it did see him rush for 1 and he was able to control the clock enough down the stretch. Some might give this win to Catanzaro, and while he did miss the field goal that would have kept the game from going into overtime, he put it through the uprights when he had to, so we’ll go ahead and give this one to him.
Week 8 was the complete meltdown game that saw Winston throw numerous interceptions, but somehow the Buccaneers were able to come out of that with a win. Given his turnovers, we’ll give this one to Jameis.
Week 9 saw Ryan Fitzpatrick once again getting dismantled by an opposing team and chalking up another lopsided loss
Week 10 was another bad outing for Fitzpatrick, who managed to throw 2 interceptions and no touchdowns on his way to another loss, this time against the Washington Redskins.
Week 11 brought an end to the Fitzpatrick fiasco as he was benched once again, this time for throwing three interceptions as Jameis fought to bring the Bucs back to just short of winning the game, and another loss contributed to Fitzpatrick.
Week 12 gave us the return of Jaboo at quarterback, and he immediately went to work and drove the Bucs to a win against the 49ers in a game that wasn’t even close.
Week 13 was once again the Jameis show as he rode a multiple touchdown day to a win over the division rival Carolina Panthers.
Week 14 was a tough loss for the Bucs against the Saints, but a defense that gave up almost 200 yards rushing all but ensured the Saints were going to walk away with this win. While Jameis did take the field, this loss has to go on the defense and their inability to stop the run.
Week 15 saw a piss poor showing by the Tampa defense and a not so great outing from Jameis in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and while the defense wasn’t as bad as they’d been the week before, they certainly didn’t help matters, but this one goes to Winston who didn’t do nearly enough to overcome the porous defense.
Week 16 was a tough fought battle against the Cowboys, but a missed kick by Santos and a defense that managed only 1 sack and was only able to pressure Dak a handful of times, allowed the Cowboys to walk away with the win. Jameis went out and did his job, so it’s up to you whether you put this on the kicker or the defense, but since we credited a kicker with a win, this time the kicker takes the partial loss with the defense getting a share of the blame.
Week 17 brought the season to an end and the Buccaneers while battling with everything they had come up just short against the Atlanta Falcons. Jameis puts on a clinic and picked apart the defense, but several blown kicks by Santos and a non-existent running game proved to be too much for Jameis to overcome. This loss was certainly helped along by the run game, but a kicker missing extra points is just inexcusable and Santos easily takes the blame for this loss.
Now of course, some people will say well if Jameis threw for 8 touchdowns a game, these other issues wouldn’t even exist, but the fact remains that no quarterback is throwing that many touchdowns a game, and if he’s going to get some of the blame for his turnovers, we have to be just as critical when it comes to who is ultimately responsible for the losses.
When you break down the games, you realize that Jameis wasn’t nearly as responsible for losses as people would like to fault him, and he actually had more attributed wins than he did losses. There were many factors that played into the poor showing for the Bucs in 2018, and while Jameis does get some of the blame, we also have to spread it out among Fitzpatrick, a poor running game, a defense that even St. Mary’s High School could have scored on, a kicking game that was laughable at times in how bad it was, and with every win and loss, the coaching staff has to shoulder some of that blame.
Assuming Bruce Arians and the new coaching staff are able to establish a real running game, tighten up the defense, especially when it comes to stopping the run and pressuring receivers, and we secure Gay as a kicker who can be counted on, there’s no reason we won’t see many of these losses from last season be games in which the team can flip the result and turn them into wins. Hopefully, this is exactly what will happen, and then I won’t have to revisit an article like this again next year.