You knew it was going to happen. The moment the card was turned in and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed a rookie quarterback you knew that there would be a game or two he would throw away. This was one of those games.
He certainly wasn't alone in this curb stomping at the hands of division rival Carolina, but it he was one of the main culprits in the 37-23 defeat.
Oh No, Jameis!
Yep, what are you going to say? Most young quarterbacks are going to throw a lot of interceptions. I know the Pro-Glennon crowd are dying to point out Mike never had a day like this, to which I'd reply - that's why he's on the bench. He was never willing to attack a defense, but I digress. This isn't about him. It's about Jameis' very bad day.
We've gone through the lists of great young QB's who've thrown a ton of picks their first years. You know their names. Hell, Andrew Luck, everyone's poster boy for great NFL quarterbacks, threw 7 interceptions in five games early in his rookie year. He also threw three a couple weeks ago and has as many interceptions as young Jameis does THIS season (and that includes missing yesterday's game).
No one wants to hear about that today. Jameis had a terrible game on Sunday, accounting for five turnovers, two to Carolina Pro Bowl DB Josh Norman. By the way, when did Josh Norman turn into Darrelle Revis?
He fumbled the snap in the first series. He threw a pick six in his second. Before it was all said and done, five Bucs turnovers, all charged to number 3, set up 27 of Carolina's 37 points and basically beat the Bucs before they even had a chance to compete in this game.
When you're a bad football team with a fragile psyche, they simply can't overcome those type of mistakes and win. This one's on you Jameis.
Hey, Remember Me?
Jameis wasn't the only rookie who struggled mightly on Sunday. Second Round LT Donnovan Smith had a devil of a time containing a player the Panthers signed from a practice squad, Ryan Delaire. If the name sounds familiar its because Delaire was an undrafted free agent that General Manager Jason Licht and his scouting team discovered and brought into Bucs camp.
Lovie Smith and his defensive coaches didn't think much of Delaire and he didn't flash in any of the pre-season games. When the final 53 was constructed, Lovie - who has final say on the final 53 - said bye bye to Mr. Delaire.
Delaire said hello to Jameis Winston by sacking him twice, getting a QB hit and another QB pressure, most while facing Smith. Meanwhile, George Johnson remains sackless and in the second half found a spot on the bench.
Cherilus Giving Charity
Smith wasn't alone in getting young Jameis hit. Tampa Bay's offensive line gave up three sacks, four hits and 12 QB hurries to a Carolina Panthers defensive line that really had no bite coming into the game. Jared Allen, the Panthers' big acquisition this week, didn't even factor in that tally, registering just one QB hit.
For the Bucs, Gosder Cherilus had a nightmare outing, surrendering five of those hurries, a sack and a QB hit. Needless to say, the Bucs offensive line pass protected poorly in front of Winston.
Brindza Burns the Bucs Again
Many questioned Bucs Head Coach Lovie Smith after sticking with kicker Kyle Brindza after his debacle last week in Houston that could have shifted the momentum in that game. Lovie stood by Brindza, saying you can't just cut the guy after one bad game.
Brindza rewarded him with two more missed field goals and another missed extra point. The two missed FGs were gut punches to the mentally weak Bucs. You could feel the momentum swinging in the Bucs' favor as Tampa Bay began to rally from their early hole. Jameis was heating up, managing one scoring drive, the defense got a quick three-and-out by the Panthers and Jameis had moved them into position again, setting Brindza up with an easy 29 yard field goal try. Shankopotus, gut punch, the momentum is gone. Or is it? Start of the second half, Cam Newton pulls a Winston fumbling a wet ball and setting the Bucs in point-blank range. Jameis couldn't get the Bucs in the end zone and Tampa Bay tried to salvage at least some points...shanknado. Minutes after the second miss, Carolina unintentionally runs a fumble rooskie and that was just about all she wrote.
Mr. Brindza is likely cleaning out his locker as we speak. How long before Lovie joins him?
Bright Spots on a Grey Day
The scoreboard tells us that the Bucs defense had another rough day at the office, accounting for 30 of 37 points surrendered but in truth, they weren't terrible. They surrendered only 244 total yards, 133 on the ground (and 51 of that to Cam Newton, Carolina's best running back). They had 2 sacks, a hit and 9 hurries of Cam Newton.
No, what hurt the Bucs defense were the plays they failed to make, like Lavonte David dropping a sure pick at the goal line. The multiple times they had Newton dead-to-rights for a sack only to see him slither away and make a play downfield or with his feet.
The great Buc killer Greg Olsen was limited to just 2 receptions for 28 yards. In fact, no Panthers receiver garnered over 54 yards receiving.
Tampa Bay, who had struggled in red zone defense all season, actually held its own in this game limiting Carolina to 2-for-5 and got the Panthers off the field on third down (3-for-11).
Carolina only sustained two drives over 45 yards and one of those was that fumble play that showed us all the football gods still are angry with the Buccaneers for some reason.
Also, when not gifting scores to the opposition, the Bucs offense rolled up 411 yds and 23 points against a top notch defense in this league. They left another 7 points on Kyle Brindza's foot.
Doug Martin rolled to life, pounding out 106 of Tampa Bay's 141 yards rushing against one of the league's best run defenses.
Vincent Jackson also had a great day, with 10 receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown.
If not for those pesky five turnovers it would have been a decent day for #3, Jameis completed over 60% of his passes, threw two touchdowns and had a career high 287 yards passing.
House of Horrors for the Home Team
11 straight losses at home. How is it even possible it could get this bad? Bad free agency signings, bad draft choices, bad personnel decisions, bad coaching and bad players have all combined into this embarrasing perfect storm of suck that seems to intensify at Raymond James Stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Buc fans look jealously at the Atlanta Falcons, who had gone 10-22 the past two seasons, hire a new coach and look like a dominant 4-0 team. They look at the New York Jets, 4-12 a season ago, start their year 3-1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. RYAN FITZPATRICK. Hell, even the Oakland Raiders are 2-2.
The worst of it is, the Bucs aren't even really losing to good teams. Yes, Carolina is 4-0 but do they truly look like an unstoppable force? They've feasted on bad teams (the Bucs being one). Houston seemed beatable last week and the Falcons proved that right, destroying the Texans. Tennessee, who embarrassed the Bucs 42-14 in the season opener? They haven't won a game since and their defense surrendered 28 and 35 in consecutive weeks.
The same weak schedule the Panthers are feasting on is the one kicking the crap out of the Bucs right now.
Many will preach patience. After all, look at Ron Rivera, who was on the hot seat after two losing seasons in his first two years in Carolina. Well, Rivera's teams saved his job by finishing strong each of those first two years, showing promise. They could also win home games.
The truth of it is, it hasn't been this bad since Leeman Bennett. For those younguns who don't know the name, Bennett succeeded the first Bucs coach, John McKay, and had back-to-back 2-14 seasons. His record after 20 games? 3-17. Just like Lovie. Only two of those three wins were at least at home.
The Bucs haven't lost 11 straight home games since the 0-26 Bucs, where the streak ended at 13. Let me tell you folks, that record, along with the NFL record of 14 is within reach.
And don't think its ending next week because the Jacksonville Jaguars are coming to town. The Jags have been playing competitive football, losing to Indianapolis in overtime last week and upsetting the Dolphins. The Jags have the Bucs circled as a slump buster.
Perhaps the Glazers are on to something wanting to get games out of this house of horrors.
In the modern NFL, this type of stuff isn't supposed to happen.
Aloha means Good Bye
There will not be a Diatribes article next week (stop cheering Draft Phantom). No, I'm not abandoning ship, Mrs. DLT and I are taking a much needed vacation to the lovely state of Hawaii (the island of Kauai to be exact) so I likely won't have to watch next week's debacle (at least not live).
Don't worry though, I shall return (sorry Draft Phantom) hopefully refreshed and with a much better outlook on the season or at least not caring as much about the suck we're about to witness for the last 12 games. I will be pre-logging my picks segment so its quite likely none of my comments will make sense. But then again, do they ever? (Shaddup, DP).