As we leave Week 5 behind and set sail for London, let us get this over and done with quickly.
The Buccaneers went to New Orleans on an updraft of momentum. Beating the reigning NFC champion LA Rams into submission the previous week, hopes were high. The Saints’ defense was far worse than the Rams, and the Rams were a far better team. Teddy Bridgewater was struggling to move the ball, and his line wasn’t protecting him. Against the powerful Bucs defense, this was going to be a great game for Bucs fans. A chance to go 3-2 and take control over the NFC South.
Instead, what happened was slow strangulation met with a performance to rival the 2nd half of the Giants game, only overall 4 quarters. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers now sit 2 games back on the division and slide to 3rd place. With that, we must try and see who is deserving of booty and who needs a good booting.
First, those who did everything they could for the team.
Chris Godwin – Godwin caught 7 passes for 125 yards and two scores. Inexplicably Chris Godwin doesn’t seem to garner any respect from opposing defensive coaches and now is among the league leaders. New Orleans defensive strategy regarding the Tampa Bay wideout seemed to be “if you ignore him, he’ll go away!” Confusing. As it was, Godwin was the only Buccaneers wide receiver to actually turn up and play.
Well, this is awkward…
The Chain Gang – these guys moved up and down the field did their jobs. Well done!
The honourable mention
Sean Murphy-Bunting – The rookie DB snagged his first career pick, so this will be memorable for more than a loss for Murphy-Bunting.
Now we move to the villains, and I’m afraid that this isn’t pretty. The cannon be loaded with grapeshot for this part.
The Coaches – I honestly cannot believe that for the 2nd time in 5 weeks a loss sits at the feet of the coaches. This was supposed to be an all-star cast? Again the Coaches were found wanting and didn’t make adjustments or figure out something to change the momentum in the game. Nothing to give Jameis more time. Nothing to get any receivers not named Godwin open. Nothing to generate any pass rush. Nothing to stop the Saints moving the ball at will. What has become a worrying trend is that again, Bruce Arians took the podium and passed the blame onto the players, calling them soft. Newsflash for Arians! Yes, some of the players are soft, but you have to accept some of the blame, especially when it is your fault. The Buccaneers were horribly out-coached in this game, and that cannot be blamed on the players.
Any player not named Godwin – Whilst it is true to acknowledge the players were not prepared for a football game against a division rival, in what was a pivotal game in the season; as a professional football player, you must make the plays that you can make. Nobody did anything but go through the motions. Winston held the ball too long again at times, and the offensive line did nothing to help him. 5 traffic pylons would have done a better job! When Winston did throw the ball, it was often badly thrown, or the pass was dropped. The defensive line didn’t generate any pressure, and the porous secondary was picked apart to give Teddy Bridgewater a career day. It’s worth noting that the highest percentage of QBs that have had the best game of their career, it has come against Tampa Bay.
The Refs – Please don’t mistake this as a salty fan blaming the refs. The Bucs as an organization did enough to lose this game on their own but; once again, the level of officiating is simply embarrassing. Clear calls being deliberately missed have even prompted Tony Dungy to speak out about it. When Tony speaks out against refs you know it’s bad!
I was going to bring up something else, but that is deserving of a whole article of its own.
Onward and hopefully upward to London, where the Buccaneers hope to bounce back against the Carolina Panthers. Knowing how inconsistent this team is, we can look forward to winning 48-0!