Lovie Smith has a simple message to keep his eye on the prize: they've been terrible so far, but we're in the second quarter with 7:30 left. The game's not over yet. There's still time to turn it around. That's what Lovie Smith said today.
Unfortunately for him and us, it's not just a case of being down with 7:30 left in the second quarter. It's not just a case of having bad stats part-way through a football game. It's being blown out on your own home field with no realistic hope of winning the game, after barely more than a quarter.
If this is 7:30 left in the second quarter, the Bucs are down 35-7. They can hope they play better. They can hope to show some promise for the future. But they can't hope to win this game. They're done. Season over. They're playing for the fans and your future, for an opportunity to avoid embarrassment, not any realistic chance of a prize at the end of the road.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season is over. That's the harsh truth, but it's reality. The Bucs would have to win eight of their ten remaining games to even hope to win the division, and they'd have to realistically win all ten to have a good chance of making it to the playoffs. That's just not going to happen.
Of course, this is all a prime example of coach-speak. "We suck, season over y'all" is not something a head coach can say without immediately getting a call from the owners.* The head coach has to keep his players motivated, and has to show so some improvement to hang on to his job.
That doesn't mean we have to buy into the noise, though.
*Note to coaches: please say this when you're going to get fired anyway.