December 7, 2023

Bucs Life

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Buccaneers outplayed by division-foe, Atlanta Falcons; really?

4 min read

Photo by Kyle Zedaker/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A broken record is spinning.

You can be as sure as the cannons firing at Ray Jay after a big touchdown that as long as the Bucs are losing to teams they should beat I will continue to push for changes. Baker Mayfield did play better than he did against a better Lions Defense. He finally regained his connection to Mike Evans in the first half for a long touchdown. In the second half, Evans again disappeared from relevance. Mayfield again missed another open receiver deep down the sideline (Godwin) for a big gain. He again had at least one pass batted down at the line. Much like the Lions’ game, while not perfect by any definition, the defense held the Falcons’ scoring down low to allow the offense to strike back and take the game. Again, the offense wasn’t up to the chore. Mayfield threw another interception, and again is lucky there were not more of them. Baker Mayfield could not take the team down the field and put up another touchdown against Atlanta. The Falcons’ defense is ranked 16th against the pass. The Bucs are ranked 7th this season. It sure didn’t look that way for most of the game. To their defense, no pun intended, the Bucs didn’t allow big plays in this one. The two teams almost mirrored each other in several categories. The number of plays ran: Bucs – 65, Falcons – 64. 3rd down efficiency, Bucs – 6 of 12, Falcons – 7 of 13. First downs, Bucs – 21, Falcons – 20. Time of possession was in the Bucs’ favor by just two seconds 30:01 to 29:59, and they both punted three times. Both teams had their chances to win the game. It’s just that Atlanta did enough to get the win. Mayfield and the Bucs again fell short in a close game. It just seemed like another game to be laid at the ineffective feet of the quarterback and running game. When do you think the team will go to plan B? One more loss of a game we should have won? Two or even 3 more bad losses? Would that shake the staff into trying plan B? After next week and the Bills, chances are we are looking at 3-4 and starting to slide into a hole. The following week, we travel to Houston to take on a renewed Texans team that can beat us. The next week, the Titans and then the 49ers. The Bucs could easily be looking at 4-7 after a trip out west against San Fran. So at 4-7 and a divisional-heavy schedule the rest of the way. Would the team make a change with the division title still probably up for grabs? I’m going to go on record and say: NO. They will ride Mayfield until the bitter end, or the division is lost. They had a plan to bring Mayfield to Tampa and make him the starter regardless of any competition. Making Trask the starter at any point would mean their plans failed and that they were wrong. I can’t see them switching up, even though Trask proved he was worthy of the chance. Time will tell how this all pans out; those are just my thoughts on the matter. Truly, I would rather Mayfield come around and start being the difference-maker in turning potential losses into big wins. I’m all for a good fairy tale comeback for Mr. Mayfield. Whatever brings wins.

Falcons find a bit of success in the run game.

156 yards to 73 yards was the difference in the running game. The Falcons more than doubled the Bucs’ output on the ground, even though they lost rookie sensation Bijan Robinson early in the contest to injury. Only eleven yards separated the two teams in passing yards, the Bucs with an advantage of 256 to 245. The Bucs’ Rushing attack was sub-par and lacking for yet another game. In yet another post-game article, I’m again asking why Sean Tucker never saw the field. It’s true that in the first three games, Tucker did get 15 carries total. It’s also true that in those carries, he did absolutely nothing to impress. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, in the last two games, has averaged 1.5 and 1.8 yards, respectively. For the last three games, Tucker has not played at all. Am I wrong to say that the team should put the 4.33/40 guy into the game more often than the other, just in case Tucker finds some room to run that he can do more damage? I would be surprised if they gave Tucker 15 carries a game for 2–3 games that his output would stay the way it was early season. He is a rookie, and they all take different amounts of adjustment time to acclimate themselves to NFL speed coming at them. Tucker looked good in the preseason. I’m just betting he’s got more of that in him. When it comes down to it, Rachaad White isn’t setting the world on fire. How could it possibly hurt to let the rookie get his feet wet? I’m just saying some of the things some of you might be thinking and saying. Just seems to me that if you’re going to enter a race, you take the Corvette and leave the Nova at the house. Just saying, folks. What do you say? Here’s hoping that Mayfield and the Bucs can find a way to top the Bills next week. Within a win would contain much forgiveness and future hope. Go Bucs!!