IT’S TIME TO PUSH THE PANIC BUTTON!
Here’s my question. If a team gets beat down by the two worst teams in the NFL in consecutive weeks, does that now make that losing team the worst team in the league? I don’t care how much “talent” they allegedly have on the roster. I don’t care who’s injured. I don’t care what the excuses are. I don’t care what BS explanations the coaches or players come up with. None of that matters. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is playing worse football in the NFL than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers right now.
I was hoping that the embarrassing loss in Pittsburgh was going to be an eye opener for this team. I was hoping that absurd performance against the Steelers would wake this team up and light a fire under their ass.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The Buccaneers went to Carolina to play the worst team in the league and got their ass handed to them on a silver and blue platter. The 1-5 Panthers, with an interim head coach, no Baker Mayfield, no Christian McCaffrey, no Robbie Anderson, no starting center and missing half of their starting secondary easily defeated this overrated Bucs team 21-3 on Sunday.
The offense was anemic…again. The defense was porous…again. The playcalling was unimaginative…again. The effort was lacking…again. The attitude was absent…again. And the Buccaneers lost to another team that they had no business losing to…again. For the fourth time in five weeks, Tampa Bay lost. With that being said, let’s take a look at the “GOOD, BAD & UGLY” from this matchup so that we can move on to the next disaster.
The LG Experiment
Rookie left guard Luke Goedeke has statistically been one of the worst guards in the NFL this season. It’s not surprising. Most rookie offensive linemen struggle in their first season. Even though it took 6 games for them to do it, the Bucs coaching staff FINALLY took Goedeke out and put reserve o-lineman Nick Leverett in his place. Unfortunately, they didn’t keep him there. They decided to play “musical guards” for the rest of the game instead of sticking with what was working. Leverett CLEARLY outplayed Goedeke in this game and should’ve stayed out there. Now the Bucs are claiming that Goedeke is “injured” and he’s officially “OUT” for the Ravens game, so Leverett will get the start. In any case, I put this in my “GOOD” section because I’m ecstatic that it looks like their Luke Goedeke experiment might be coming to an end. I think he will be a good starting guard in the future, but he’s just not ready yet.
“Bad” isn’t even the word for it. It was horrible. They only managed 3 points against a defense that was giving up 24 points per game. Tom Brady only threw for 290 yards against a secondary missing their top three defensive backs. They only rushed for 46 yards against a defense giving up over 130 rushing yards per game.
Out of 73 offensive possessions this season, this Bucs offense has only managed to score 10 touchdowns and 16 field goals. They’ve also punted 33 times and turned it over on downs 4 times. They haven’t scored a first quarter touchdown all season. They have the worst run offense in the league this season averaging just 64 yards per game. In fact, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards (510) than the entire Bucs team (451) with 82 FEWER rushing attempts.
And forget about big plays down the field. In 2020, they led the league with 33 plays of 30+ yards. Last year, it was 27 such plays. This season, they’ve had 4 such plays in 7 games. They only have 1 TD pass longer than 13 yards this season after having 11 of them last year.
In this game, the Bucs had 320 total yards off of 66 plays. That’s just 4.9 yards per play. They were 2 for 12 on 3rd down and 1 for 3 on 4th down. They can’t convert! It’s been a major issue all season. They had 11 possessions in this game and this is how they ended:
1. 5 plays/10 yards, Punt
2. 7 plays/33 yards, Punt
3. 7 plays/31 yards, Punt
4. 8 plays/18 yards, Punt
5. 4 plays/30 yards, Half
6. 5 plays/20 yards, Punt
7. 7 plays/45 yards, Downs
8. 3 plays/7 yards, Punt
9. 14 plays/67 yards, FG
10. 5 plays/38 yards, Downs
11. 2 plays/8 yards, End
They had one trip into the redzone in this game and ended up with a field goal DESPITE running 7 straight plays inside the 15-yard line. The only other time they were inside the Panthers 25-yard line, they turned it over on downs. Pathetic.
I don’t even know what to think right now. Normally I would say that Tom Brady would be able to take control and right the ship, but I’m not sure he can this time. He might be a little too preoccupied with his own off-the-field drama to do it. Every team left on the Bucs schedule is either .500 or worse. The sad thing is, I’m not sure they can beat any of them at this point. They’ve lost four of their last five games and they just got demolished 21-3 by a 1-5 Carolina team. They’re not a very good football team right now. In fact, they might be playing the worst football of any team in the league.
BIG BUCS OF THE DAY
OFFENSE : TE Cade Otton
I thought about sticking Mike Evans here, but that dropped touchdown on their first drive of the game took him out of the running. Instead, I’m going with the rookie tight end who finished with 4 catches for 64 yards. He made a couple of really tough catches that helped move the chains and showed that he could be the TE1 for this team with Cam Brate out.
DEFENSE : DT Vita Vea
He played better than he has been this season and finished with 4 tackles and a sack. He now has 3.5 sacks this season and is just a half sack away from his career-high (4) with 10 games left.
BAD BUCS OF THE DAY
OFFENSE : LT Donovan Smith
The whole left side was bad in this game, but this might have been Smith’s worst game of the season. He got beat a number of times by Panthers defensive end Brian Burns and was a non-factor in the run game.
DEFENSE : LB Devin White
In a game where Carolina ran the ball 27 times, he finished with just 5 tackles. He now has the 4th highest missed tackle rate (15.3%) in the league this year. The worst part is that he was out of position on a number of plays and it really cost the Bucs. That’s been a big part of the Bucs defensive struggles so far this season. Guys not doing their jobs or trying to do too much and it continued in this game. Even though he leads the Bucs in a number of defensive stats, White has had a very disappointing season so far in my opinion.
THE WRAP UP
The Bucs are just bad right now. This game should’ve been the closest thing to a sure thing that there is in the NFL. Yet somehow, Tampa Bay proved everyone wrong and found a way to screw up an almost guaranteed win. I’m flabbergasted. I really am. I’m not sure what they can do to fix it. I’m not even sure they can. It’s that bad. They can’t do anything right. They can’t block. They can’t run. They can’t catch. They can’t get open. They can’t pass. They can’t tackle. They can’t cover. They can’t return kicks. They can’t cover kicks. It’s almost like they all forgot how to play football at the same time. They’re gonna have to remember real quick if they want any chance of turning this season around.
THE LOOK AHEAD
It doesn’t get any easier than it should’ve been last week. Now, on a short week, the Bucs have the 4-3 Baltimore Ravens coming to town for a primetime game on Thursday Night Football. They have the 14th ranked offense averaging 346 total yards and 26 points per game. They have the 23rd ranked defense allowing 366 total yards and 23 points per game. And they have Lamar Jackson at quarterback. They may be 4-3, but they lost those 3 games by a total of 11 points to the 5-1 Bills (23-20), the 6-1 Giants (24-20) and the 4-3 Dolphins (42-38). This is a good football team coming to town and the Bucs will need a miracle to even make this a competitive game Thursday night.
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!