“UNFINISHED BUSINESS” MY ASS!
It’s time to face the cold hard truth, Bucs fans. Despite having a ridiculous amount of talent on their roster, this is just not a good football team right now. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Pittsburgh to play a Steelers team missing half of it’s starting defense and still couldn’t put the ball in the endzone. They end up losing their third game in four weeks 20-18 to fall to 3-3 and are once again tied with the Atlanta Falcons for first place in the NFC South.
I’m at a loss for words after this one. Losing to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers by 2 points. Okay, fine. Giving up 41 points to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at home in a loss. Umm, I guess that can happen. Nearly give up a 21-0 lead to Marcus Mariota and the Falcons in the fourth quarter without their top two offensive weapons. That’s a little alarming. But this game. This game was just downright inexcusable. This is probably the simplest GBU that I’ve ever written, so let’s get it over with and try to move on to the next disaster.
Literally nothing was good. Other than Ryan Succop making all of his kicks, it was all horseshit. Tom Brady couldn’t throw. The offensive line couldn’t block. The receivers couldn’t get open. The running backs couldn’t find holes. The defensive line couldn’t get any pressure. The defense, with the exception of Lavonte David, couldn’t tackle. The cornerbacks couldn’t cover receivers. The kick coverage team couldn’t cover kicks. It was a horrendous effort across the board and a total team loss. Even the game plan was questionable to me. Mike Evans finished with 4 catches on four targets versus a secondary consisting of the Panthers 4th and 5th corners AND two corners activated off the practice squad. FOUR TARGETS? FOUR? Come on man.
Seriously! The offense couldn’t convert 3rd & 1’s. The defense couldn’t stop 3rd & 15’s. Tom Brady finished 25 of 40 for 243 yards, 1 touchdown and averaged just 6 yards per attempt against a secondary missing it’s top four defensive backs. Meanwhile, the Bucs secondary allowed Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky to go 20 of 30 for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns combined. It was an embarrassment.
And don’t even get me started on the redzone offense. They’ve struggled inside the 20 all season and it continued today going just 1 for 4 on redzone trips. They got the ball to the Steelers 9-yard line, the 6-yard line and the 12-yard line and had to settle for field goals. That’s just ridiculous. I mean, did losing Gronk and Jensen really effect the offense this much?
I don’t want to hear another word about how talented this team is or what this team should be doing. Every week, we get the same sound bites from the players and coaches. “We’ll just have to look at the film, see what we did wrong, try to correct it and get better.” Or “We’re just not executing“. Or “We aren’t playing up to our potential“. Well no shit. I’m sick of hearing the excuses. Either do it or stop talking about it.
It’s put up or shut up time.
Last week, this Steelers team got beat 38-3 by the Buffalo Bills. They had lost four straight games. They had a rookie quarterback starting. They were missing HALF of their starting defense. And you can’t beat them? You can’t score more than 18 points against a team giving up nearly 30 points per game. There are 19 teams that have scored more points than the “offensive powerhouse” Bucs this season including the Giants, the Browns, the Jets, the Jaguars, the Dolphins, the Lions and the Seahawks. They’ve scored 21 points or less in five of their six games this season, which matches their total from the previous two seasons combined. The Buccaneers passing attack that was supposed to be indefensible got shut down by a bad team’s practice squad secondary.
Great job offense.
They allowed rookie QB Kenny Pickett to throw his first career touchdown on their opening possession after he had gone 65 attempts in 2 games without one. Oh and that touchdown was the first one the Steelers had scored in the first quarter of any game this season.
Great job defense.
Any long time Bucs fan has been waiting for this to happen. At some point with the Buccaneers, it always happens. No matter how good they are or how much success they’re having, the wheels always come off. We are always waiting for that other shoe to drop. For the wagon to come unhitched. For the waiter to bring us the check. It’s inevitable. Well, here we are. It’s that time. It was a fun two years, but now the ship is sinking. It’s taking on water and going down fast. The good news is now we start finding out who the real Bucs fans are and who’s just here because of Tom Brady.
BIG BUCS OF THE DAY
OFFENSE : K Ryan Succop
It’s sad that I’m resorting to this, but I’m picking the kicker as the offensive player in this game. On a team that has Fournette, White, Evans, Godwin, Gage and Otton on the roster, its a kicker. Succop was the lone bright spot going 4 for 4 on his field goals, including a 54-yarder.
DEFENSE : LB Lavonte David
Apparently since nobody else wanted to make a tackle, David took it upon himself to do it. He finished with 13 tackles and a tackle for loss in this game.
BAD BUCS OF THE DAY
OFFENSE : QB Tom Brady
I dunno, maybe he shouldn’t have come back. Maybe he is too old. Maybe he is too distracted by his personal life off the field. Whatever it is, we’re not seeing the same Tom Brady on the field that we’ve seen over the last two years. Against a Steelers secondary missing it’s top three corners and their best safety, Brady went 25 of 40 for 243 yards, just 1 touchdown and he was underthrowing receivers the whole game. The old Brady would’ve carved up that defense for 400+ yards and 4+ touchdowns. This Brady may be too preoccupied with his failing marriage and his business investments to concentrate on football right now.
DEFENSE : OLB Shaq Barrett
I had him as my defensive player to watch for this game because I thought he was due for a big game. I was wrong. It was just another lackluster performance by Barrett finishing with just 3 tackles, no sacks and no QB hits. He’s totaled just 5 QB hits, 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks in 6 games this season. That’s unacceptable from what is supposed to be your “best” edge rusher.
THE WRAP UP
Before this season started, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the talk of the league. They were supposed to be the frontrunners in the NFC for the Super Bowl. They were supposed to be unstoppable on offense and dominant on defense. They were supposed to be the most complete roster in the NFL. So far this season, they aren’t any of that. It was a promising start beating the Cowboys and Saints on the road. But these last four games have shown that they are not what everyone thought they were.
Not even close.
Good football teams don’t play down to the level of their opponents. Good football teams don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Good football teams actually do learn from their losses and get better each week. This team doesn’t do any of that. In fact, it almost seems like they’re getting worse. It’s been a steady decline since that Week 1 win in Dallas, especially on defense.
Is it the coaching? Did Bruce Arians make that much of a difference? Is it the offensive playcalling? Did Arians have more of an influence on Byron Leftwich’s offense than they led us to believe? Is it simply the player’s execution of the game plan? Is this team distracted by too much off-the-field crap? Are some players living off of their Super Bowl win like Todd Bowles said after this game?
I just don’t know.
Still at 3-3, the season isn’t over. They are still tied with Atlanta for first in the NFC South, so they are still in good position to win the division. The question is, are they even a playoff worthy team? This division isn’t very strong this year, so winning it isn’t much to brag about. What good is making the playoffs if you’re just going to get your ass whipped in the first round? The offense isn’t good. The defense isn’t good. The coaching isn’t good. The effort isn’t good. The fire isn’t there. The attitude isn’t there. The swagger isn’t there. This is a mediocre team on the decline right now. Buckle up guys, it could get even worse.
THE LOOK AHEAD
Next up on the schedule is another road game versus the division rival Carolina Panthers. A few weeks ago I would’ve marked this up as an easy win, but not anymore. I don’t know if there’s a game left on the schedule where I can feel confident about picking the Buccaneers to win. Seriously. And they don’t even play anyone that has a winning record right now. Sure the Panthers are really struggling this year. They are 1-5 now after losing three straight. They just fired their head coach and defensive coordinator. They are 20th in total defense allowing 357 total yards and 24 points a game. And they are dead last in total offense averaging just 260 total yards and 17 points per game. Sounds like it should be a cake walk for the “talented” Bucs, right?
Nope, not for this Buccaneers team.
Right now, this Tampa Bay team is just a roster full of underachievers and I can’t in good conscience say that they have what it takes to beat any of the teams remaining on their schedule. Maybe if they get their shit together and actually start doing what they say they need to do. Maybe if these players act like they want it. Maybe if this team starts acting like they have “unfinished business” from last season. Maybe if they get that fire and swagger back. If all that happens and they start playing up to this rosters potential, then maybe I’ll get the confidence in this team back and I’ll pick them to start winning games again.
Until then, as always (no matter how much they suck)…GO BUCS!!!