Losing in week 1 is always awful, but few teams had the nuclear option the Bucs endured this past Sunday.
But is it a signal of the worst of times for our beloved band of pewter clad bums?
Perhaps, but let's talk a bit about that opening loss and spin a little hope on this Friday. Other teams have recovered from such beatdowns. Five teams in the last five years have been beaten by 28 or more points in Week One. One recovered to make the playoffs. Three others won at least seven games on the season. Only one team, the 2009 St. Louis Rams, were curbstomped and went on to have a terrible season.
|Team||Wk 1 Result||The Week After||Season Result|
|2014 St. Louis Rams||lost by 28 to Minnesota||Won||finished 7-9|
|2012 Cincinnati Bengals||lost by 31 to Baltimore||Won||finished 10-6|
|2011 Kansas City Chiefs||lost by 34 to Buffalo||Lost||finished 7-9|
|2009 Carolina Panthers||lost by 28 to Philadephia||Lost||finished 8-8|
|2009 St. Louis Rams||lost by 28 to Seattle||Lost||finished 1-15|
Now, obviously no one wants to aspire to be mediocre but it shows that this season isn't completely bust after one game. Some teams can recover to have decent (and in the Bengals case, good) seasons.
Some other positives vibes going into Sunday -
- The issues the defense struggled with weren't scheme or talent related. They were player's boneheaded mistakes. Now, you have to wonder why veteran players like Lavonte David could make stupid mistakes that rookies shouldn't be making, and in some cases of players who aren't All-Pros, you need to wonder if you're not getting it by now - maybe you shouldn't be here. But I digress, what I'm trying to convey that each and every scenario that led to Marcus Mariota setting records against the Bucs defense is fixable. It's doing your job. Don't bite for every single play action. Do your job, cover the guy you're supposed to cover or be in the zone you're supposed to be in. Trust your teammates will be in their gaps or where they need to be to stop the run and then rally to the ball using your speed. But don't screw up your job trying to do someone else's. If the Bucs players figure that out, they will be fine. If they can't, the coaches will start finding guys who get it.
- As first games go, Jameis Winston did indeed struggle mightly. But Jameis played better this past week than veteran quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and others. He also put up better numbers in his first start than Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and other big name quarterbacks did in their initial outings in the league. So all is not lost after Jameis' first start. It doesn't mean he's a bust. Just as many other NFL star QBs, he will need to go through some growing pains.
- Luck's first start he threw three interceptions, only one touchdown and his team lost at home 41-21 to a Lovie coached Bears team that many felt was beatable.
- Before they shut him down to protect him, Doug Martin looked every bit the Dougernaut we knew and loved.
- Mike Evans should be back this week, opening up space for everyone else.
- The Saints defense was bad before getting riddled with injuries. Now they're godawful. Drew Brees is still Drew Brees but without Jimmy Graham the Saints struggled to find a consistent playmaker on offense. Not a single receiver or tight end had more than 51 yards receiving. Their leading receiver was Mark Ingram.
- Unlike the Titans, the Bucs know everything the Saints will throw at them. Familiarity breeds competion, as evidenced by the two meetings last season. As bad as the Bucs were, Tampa Bay had fourth quarter leads in both games.
- Even if the Bucs get hammered again in New Orleans - don't lose hope! The New York Giants surrendered 115 points (38.3 per game) in their first three games of the 2013 season. They recovered to a mediocre 7-9 season but they weren't doomed to 2-14.