In a season full of letdowns, we currently are sitting 2-6. That type of record is bringing previous season flashbacks for Bucs fans everywhere. Some fans have jumped ship already, some have grabbed some sort of flotation device, while the die-hards have just grabbed on for the ride regardless.
But, what if I told you our record could easily be so much better than it is now. What if we weren’t 2-6, but be 6-2 realistically. Let’s take a look at the 6 losses and let me explain to how 4 of those losses were wins given up for some reason or other.
Week 3: vs New York Giants (32-31): Being up 28-10 heading into halftime, the Bucs came out of the locker room for the 2nd half still in nap time mode. They honestly forgot that there was a football game going on and allowed the Giants to outscore them 22-3 in the 2nd half. The game ended on a missed field goal by rookie kicker Matt Gay, but should the outcome have truly come down to the laces of a rookie kicker? NO! The offense came out in the 2nd half like a bag full stale Cheetos from the pantry that you bought for the Super Bowl that none of the kids ate. The defense failed the team, also allowing 2 touchdown passes and 2 TDs on the ground by rookie QB Daniel Jones in his first regular-season game. Damn rookie quarterbacks. What If record: 2-1
Week 5: @ New Orleans Saints (31-24): This game easily could’ve gone either way. The pass defense for Tampa was exposed again, such as the week prior, when Jared Goff went for over 400-yards (Bucs won 55-40). The Saints were riding back-up Teddy Bridgewater (314 yards 4 TD 1 INT) to a victory in only his 3rd start, since Drew Brees went down. A few missed calls against the Saints (example: Michael Thomas missed PI call against VH3), the game easily could’ve gone in Tampa’s favor. This was the first time all season the Bucs were +1 in the turnover margin too, so again this game should’ve been won. What If record: 4-1
Week 8: @ Tennessee Titans (27-23): Coming off of a trip to London followed by a bye week, the Bucs had no reason to still be feeling the effects of the travel. The defense came out looking stellar, holding Ryan Tannehill to only 174 yards passing and Derek Henry to a total of 83 total yards. 1 major issue in the game was the 4 turnovers from quarterback Jameis Winston (2 INT, 2 fumbles lost). Now, before we go any further, Winston should’ve truly only been credited with 1 fumble lost as the other was miscommunication between Ryan Jensen and Winston. The 2nd pick would have never happened had the “Man in Stripes” let a play finish before blowing the whistle during a fumble recovery for the Buccaneer defense which cost us 6 points. The game easily should’ve been 30-27. The pass defense looked good in this game, so I have faith they would’ve made a stand. What If record: 5-2.
Week 9: @ Seattle (40-34 OT): Going into Seattle, “Home of the 12th man”, the Bucs looked good against the Seahawks going blow for blow with the MVP-favorite Russell Wilson. Being up 21-13 at one point, the Bucs should have won this game. Again, the pass defense had a big part in the loss, giving up TD after TD through the air. Not to mention, the rush defense surrendered 100 yards for the first time all season. But, penalties at the wrong time and a lack of experience (6 rookies started on defense) played a huge impact on how the game was dictated. Seattle is a great team, and it spoke volumes that are team came within a sneeze way from winning. What if the NFL ran the same rules for OT as the NCAA, this game could’ve easily gone the other way or ended in a tie. What If record: 6-2 or 5-2-1
The San Francisco and Carolina in London losses are easier to digest because Winston and Co. had a horrible showing. 9 of Winston’s 16 turnovers came in these 2 games (8 INTs and 1 fumble lost). That’s a recipe for disaster when you’re the starting quarterback in a contract year.
Just imagine the atmosphere Bucs fans, if our record was the other way around and we won the “winnable” games. For a first-year team, being held accountable for every action under a new system on both sides, this season isn’t done and over. We could easily go 5-3 or better with games coming up against Arizona (week 10), Falcons (week 12 and 17), @ Jacksonville (week 13), @ Detroit (week 15). The toughest tests we have left are New Orleans (week 11), Indianapolis (week 14), and Houston (week 16). Winston and the offense will have to be lights out while we pray the defense can get their acts together for salvage what has been a very rough 2019 season for the team and the fans.