Week 3 is over for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with it came and went the last home game until Week 10 in November.
Instead of looking ahead, we must look behind and distribute boon and shame. This week is a tricky one for sure. In a game that saw many Bucs show elite performances and ultimately lose how to evaluate this loss?
When a team generally plays well and dominates the other team in every category that is scored but still loses! Fans must face one reality, the Buccaneers are not a good football team. The New York Giants are a team in change and didn’t have their playmakers on the field defensively or offensively. Both the offensive line and secondary are considered suspect at best. However, the Bucs found a way to play brilliantly, but bad coaching and inconsistent play, meaning that the team still conspired against themselves to lose a crucial game.
Without further comment, I present to you the Heroes and Villains from a frustrating loss in week 3.
Mike Evans – Evans did everything he could and must surely be in contention for NFC offensive player of the week. 8 catches for 190 yards and 3 TD’s on the day showed why Evans is one of the leagues elite wideouts. He made crucial grabs and came up with a clutch catch to put the Bucs in position to win the game.
Ronald Jones III – The much-maligned back is in a redemption season. 14 carries for 80 yards ensured that Jameis Winston had a running game to lean on and didn’t force the offense into being one dimensional.
Shaq Barrett – Bucs fans should enjoy seeing Barrett in a Buccaneers jersey. Enjoy it and savor it as Shaq is going to demand a huge contract in free agency and he will have earned every single dollar. Coming into the game with an injury concern, Barrett was at times dominant and brought Daniel Jones to the ground 4 times and had 2 forced fumbles. The player that left Denver to prove he deserved some of the snaps taken by Von Miller is starting to prove his point.
The 1st half Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs offense and defense did everything that is needed to win football games. They limited penalties, looked after the football, stopped the run and played a solid pass defense. If the Bucs could play all four quarters like this, a winning record would be a foregone conclusion, and the only question would be if the Buccaneers had home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Jameis Winston – played well and finished with a QBR over 110; however showed why he isn’t elite with a terrible throw being picked off by Giants LB, Ryan Connelly. Often held the ball too long as he was zoned in on one receiver and not looking for the check down. Jameis needs to learn that there isn’t just one receiver per play and that sometimes getting outside the pocket and launching the ball into the stands is a good play. This O line played terribly in my opinion and Winston is taking far too many unnecessary sacks.
Now the time comes to reach for the Boatswain’s Daughter (Credit to those that get the reference).
In a game where so many played well this should be tricky. In fact, it isn’t. When a team plays well and still loses, it points to one thing or one player. This is where they are shamed in no particular order.
Bruce Arians – I get it you’re shocked. But why? Arians is the head coach and the performance, and win, or loss ultimately falls on him. Not making any adjustments at halftime was unexpectedly naive as Arians must have anticipated that the Giants coaching staff would make changes to try and stop the bleeding. Bruce Arians was out coached and didn’t have anything to offer in the 2nd half as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers died a slow lingering death. Bad game, Coach!
Byron Leftwich – Does he trust Jameis or not? Failing to make any sensible play calls in the 3rd quarter, Leftwich showed his inexperience in the loss and must be asked if he trusts his QB as too often the ball was taken out of Winston’s hands. I’ll ask the question that every other fan is asking; why when you have 26 seconds and a timeout, with the ball on the 8-yard line of the Giants, do you not take a single shot at the end zone? Byron is still learning his craft, but he needs to do it sooner rather than later.
Todd Bowles – Up next in confusing calls! In any level of the game, I have never seen a deep cover 4 called in the situation that it was. It’s 4th down, and the Giants must convert, or the game is over. The ball is on the 7th-yard line for 4th and 5. Daniel Jones has shown all game that he’s a mobile QB. In this crucial moment, Todd Bowles tells his players to run off the field and hide in the end zone seats? This can only be described as a total Brain Fart, and Bowles must have been incredibly confused as to where the Play was happening on the field.
Matt Gay – Kickers have one job. No matter about the confusing decision to put the kickback. To not even attempt to score before kicking. That even the Bucs lost an 18 point lead, to be in this position. Matt Gay needed to do his job and didn’t. Simple as. Maybe those lime green soccer cleats are burning as you read this? I hope so.
You win as a team and lose as a team. The fact remains that when the coaches needed to coach and send in the right plays, they didn’t! When adjustments needed to be made, they weren’t. It’s easy to just chalk this up as a bad day at the office, but these are happening so frequently that this is the normal standard. Maybe we have to consider that it isn’t a bad day, just a regular day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.