Saints vs. Buccaneers: Conservative play calling stopped a Tampa Bay win, again

Chris Graythen

Conservative playcalling doomed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again as they fall to 0-2 after a 16-14 loss.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a second consecutive close game after Greg Schiano went conservative and tried to milk the clock over picking up a first down two games in a row. Both times, Doug Martin got to run into a nine-man box three times in a row. Both times, the Bucs failed to pick up a first down, which should surprise now. To make matters worse, the Buccaneers actually missed their 48-yard field goal today, giving Brees a short field.

And both times, a quarterback got a chance to drive down the field and get a field goal. It's one thing to do that to Geno Smith, but to do that against Drew Brees, too? That's just willful stupidity.

Lest you think I'm just operating on hindsight bias, here's what I said as the decision was being made.

Obviously, the note of 15 yards was hyperbole. But how often do the Buccaneers have to lose close games because Greg Schiano refuses to be even the tiniest bit aggressive? The man was one of the most conservative NFL coaches last year, and his failure to try to pick up a first down has routinely hurt the Buccaneers. Yes, routinely. I've been beating this drum for quite some time, now.

The Buccaneers lost when they failed to be aggressive on third down last week. They lost when they refused to be aggressive today. They lost to the Philadelphia Eagles last year, when they tried to run out the clock with 2:51 left in the game. They lost every time they asked their defense to win last season, and Schiano didn't learn.

You know the biggest win last year, when they came back to beat the Carolina Panthers? That happened because Ron Rivera refused to for it on fourth-and-short. Apparently a win doesn't teach Greg Schiano anything, either.

This is getting completely ridiculous. How often do you have to lose a game with conservative playcalling to fix it?

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