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The Bucs were blown out once, not three times

Reading NFL coverage over the past few days, you'd think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been completely hopeless through three games. But that's not really true.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In today's MMQB column, Peter King decided to get snarky about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' supposed lack of competitiveness.

In the NFL, you have to figure the first three quarters of every game, and most often more than that, are going to be wholly competitive. So the biggest indictment of the Tampa Bay season through the first three games would be the composite score of the Bucs’ games through three quarters: Foes 79, Tampa Bay 14.

Reading that, you'd think the Bucs had blown out in three games with nary a shot at victory. Odd, then, that in both games they had a shot to win on a final drive -- which they dutifully blew, both times.

The Bucs were down 56-0 at the end of the third quarter against the Falcons, so of course the total through three quarters is going to look bad then, regardless of how well they did in the first two games. And the first two games were both close, winnable affair: the score after three quarters in those games was a combined 22-14.

Sure, those were backup quarterbacks they were facing -- backup quarterbacks who have played well before, in Anderson's case, and well since then, in Austin Davis' case. But still, backups. But the fundamental breakdowns we saw against the Falcons, the complete mess without any clue as to how to even line up: that wasn't nearly as big of an issue in those two games.

That's important to keep in mind: the Bucs may have been horrible against the Atlanta Falcons, but they came very close to winning both of those other games. They weren't blown out. They didn't look disastrously bad (which is not to say that they were good, exactly). And last game is not reflective of how the Bucs played or are likely to play this season.