At the end of this game, Colin Kaepernick came into the game to lead the San Francisco 49ers. If someone had told me before the game started that would happen, I would have said "Nice, sounds like a blowout win for the Bucs." Of course, the exact opposite happened: the San Francisco 49ers dealt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their worst loss in franchise history. The Buccaneers gave up 48 points and scored just three.
They've only lost one other game by that many points before: the 1999 Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 45-0 to Jon Gruden's Oakland Raiders. Of course, that team ended up being about thirty yards removed from going to the Super Bowl that year. I don't know which loss was worse, but right now it sure feels like losing to the 49ers this year by that score margin is a lot worse than losing to the Raiders by that score margin in 1999.
Lets' review from stats. Josh Freeman completed 16 of 33 passes for 187 yards, was sacked twice and threw two interception. One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown. Alex Smith, meanwhile, was 11/19 for 170 yards and a whopping three touchdowns.
Legarrette Blount got ten carries for 34 yards. Frank Gore got 20 for 125 yards and a touchdown. Kendall Hunter added nine for 65 yards. Anthony Dixon got a short-yardage carry to add another touchdown. Ted Ginn had three punt returns for 51 yards, which gave the 49ers a number of short fields to work with. The San Francisco defense got three sacks, two interceptions and forced and recovered a fumble. The Bucs defense had no sacks, no interceptions, but did force and recover a fumble.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked sluggish all game long. They had one good drive early in the game, but stalled in the red zone. They settled for a field goal. They also had a few good defensive drives, but the bad overshadowed the good by miles. Penalties plagued the Bucs again, as they were penalized nine times for 96 yards. They looked bad in the first half, but they completely fell apart in the second half. This was one of those days when nothing went right.
And worst of all, the Bucs saw Gerald McCoy go out of the game with a lower leg injury after getting doubled over early in the game. He was on crutches on the sidelines throughout most of the game, and that did not look good. Losing McCoy clearly hurt the defense as well, as it lacked an explosive presence on the interior defensive line.
Yes, this was a short week for the Buccaneers. And yes, this was a long trip to the west coast. Yes, the Bucs are still young. And no, this doesn't doom their season in any way. But this kind of performance is still inexcusable.
The Bucs are now 3-2 and no longer share the lead in the division. They are also facing a really tough stretch, as they have to play the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears (in London) the next two weeks. After a bye week they face the New Orleans Saints again. How they deal with those games after this blowout loss will be key to their season.