May 8, 2021

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Night And Day It Was Not: Nearly more of the same vs Giants

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Bucs fail to send a positive message in the near loss

In my recent article, Monday Night Football vs Giants: Night and day, to say the least, I talked about how this team was so much different than the one that played the Giants last season, suffering a one-point loss to a rookie quarterback. I talked about how much of a contender this team has become. How truly great teams play against lesser opponents the same way they do against other top tier contending teams. They bring their lunch pales and go to work and take care of business, blah, blah, blah. All that and a buck will get you a small fry off a value menu. I did hit one thing right on the head. My words in that article were,  “A simple close margin at the end of this game would leave fans wondering, “How good are we really if we can’t clobber the hapless Giants?”  And that is right where we stand at this moment. How could a team that handled Green Bay with a heavy-handed smackdown be so easily manhandled by the 1-6 (now 1-7) New York Football Giants? I’m thinking that I’m sure thankful that Saquon Barkley wasn’t healthy and playing. The Bucs were holding opponents under 70 yards rushing per game. By halftime, the Giants had almost that many rushing yards. Honestly, if Daniel Jones had not missed a couple of receivers that he should have hit or waved off a late penalty. The Bucs probably would have left the empire state with a big fat L instead of a W.

When the defense needed to stop a late touchdown, it could not

The Defense had its moments but overall did not play up to their usually stingy norm. When the Bucs needed a stop with time winding down in the fourth quarter, they could not produce. The Giants scored their touchdown to bring them within two. On the two-point conversion attempt, the Bucs got incredibly lucky on an interference call on Antowain Winfield Junior. While trying to catch up to Dion Lewis, Winfield appeared to have overrun Lewis, bumping into him; it seemed just before the ball arrived, thankfully, it was waved by field officials after a short huddle. I could see it going both ways, but I was sure glad to see we got one of those calls/no-calls that we usually get the shaft on. The point is that with the game on the line. The Buccaneer Defense could not dig in and prevent the touchdown. If it is humanly possible to prevent it from going to a two-point conversion try: You do that. The touchdown should have never happened. But it did, and they better figure out where the problems lay and plug the holes. Appeared like maybe that hole was pretty close to Jamel Dean. Murphy-Bunting got beat pretty good on a back of the end-zone touchdown as well. I guess you have to try and remember that both of them were rookies last season. Growing pains for cornerbacks can be deadly to their teams. It was almost that way for us Monday Night.

Bucs are not there yet, by a bunch

There are many things that go into winning a Lombardi Trophy. A killer instinct, going into every game (no matter the opponent), consistent offensive line play, the Defense being able to impose their will at crucial times (stopping late scoring drives). They must prepare mentally and physically and go into every game with the same intensity at a high level. A team will only play down to its lesser competition a time or two before that sure win becomes an embarrassing loss. Being a winner implies your prepared on all levels to defeat your opponent and can execute a game plan to bring that about. Monday Night, it appeared that the Giants were the only ones with that plan and the only ones able to press their wills upon the other. It appeared that the Bucs came in flat and were looking past the Giants. I cannot explain why it is that the Giants give us fits (a total of only 5 points have decided the last 4 games). Maybe it is just the belief the Giants possess that they can beat us. I can’t explain it. Certainly, much of it comes down to execution and doing your job. The Giants don’t have near the talent that the Buccaneers have, yet they match up with us seemingly every time for the last four in a row. It didn’t matter that there were different starters at quarterback, didn’t matter we have brought back and brought in much more talented players this season. The Giants don’t see any of it; they just come out and give us hell every time. What should have been a statement to the football world that Tampa isn’t the same team, it became a shoulda, woulda, could have beaten them soundly but didn’t once again. At least as bad as it was, the Bucs did pull out a win. Last season they did not. So there is that difference. It just should have been by so much more. Let’s hope our boys can learn from this game. What else can ya say? Uh! I guess a win is a win, but in ways, it’s just not. It seems that when you have one game like this, there is always another one just over the hill. Let’s hope not!!! Go Bucs!!

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