I just don't get it. I mean, I did when they were coached by Raheem or Schiano. I got it when they had Josh McCown quarterbacking. I don't see the Bucs as a terrible team anymore. They're not great. They may not be even good at this point. They're certainly not terrible.
A mediocre football team should be able to win their home games - especially ones where they're right there for the taking. Rumor has it the Raiders players were seen frequenting many of the Tampa Bay area's um, adult entertainment establishments, and they certainly played like it in this one.
I've seen a few Raiders games, they were ripe to be beaten as they are a much better team than they showed on Sunday. This was not a focused football team, yet the Bucs simply couldn't pull it off. Can we play all our games on the road now, please?
1. Since Jon Gruden was fired after the Bucs collapsed to 9-7, losing to the Raiders and JaMarcus Russell of all people, in 2008, the Buccaneers have been terrible at home. It's shocking for any Bucs fan who has been here long enough to remember the late nineties/early aughts, when the Bucs were dominant at Raymond James Stadium.
In 2008, the Bucs were 6-2 at home. It would be the last time they had a winning record at Raymond James Stadium. Including this years' 0-3 start, Tampa Bay is a shocking 17-42 on their home field. For those scoring at home, that's a .288 win percentage.
And they wonder why the fans stay home? I mean, there's being fair weather and then there's just being stupid. Who wants to pay thousands of dollars for season tickets, sit in the hot, baking sun, for a 72% chance you'll see obnoxious opposing fans celebrating in your stadium while your team gets their backsides kicked?
It's mind boggling that this team is this bad on their home turf. Like I said in the open, the Bucs were terrible for several of the past years - they didn't win anywhere - home, away, London, the moon. It didn't matter. But those aren't these Bucs. Tampa Bay can beat Atlanta on the road. They can give a 6-2 Raider team all they can handle.
Despite being decimated on offense and defense with injuries, they are still a competitive team that can win - if they're on the road.
At home? They find some way to lose it. I don't get it. Are they nervous in front of the home crowd? I hate to break it to them, but a lot of us are planning to attend the rest of the games. Are there too many distractions at home?
Then freaking take these guys into a hotel and sequester them like you would in a road game. Hell, Sam Wyche once practiced halftime because the Bucs were terrible coming out of a locker room for the third quarter. Whatever works, man. (Full disclosure: that didn't work for Sam).
2. What was so odd about this game was the Bucs broke their previous M.O. and actually got off to a great start. The defense was a hummin', even got to Carr and forced a fumble. Jameis was en feugo in the first quarter - did I just type that? Jameis was hot in the first quarter? Has that happened...ever? The way the Bucs were playing ball, it looked like the weeks on the road were finally going to catch up to the Raiders and Tampa was going to break that home curse.
Then...it just stopped. The Bucs offense stopped moving the ball. The Bucs defense stopped getting pressure on Carr and Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree showed everyone that officials won't call offensive pass interference on about 95% of the plays downfield.
Carr, by the way, is one hell of a quarterback. I loved him before the draft and he's been everything I thought he could be. I wonder if Carr had been drafted by Tampa Bay if Jeff Tedford would have quit the Bucs like he did in Lovie Year One. I digress.
It got to the point the only way the Bucs could stop the Raiders or move down the field on the Raiders was when the Raiders did it to themselves with idiotic (NFL Record) penalties.
Yet, despite all that...the chances were there. The Bucs should have won this football game.
3. 1:49 left in the ballgame, Tampa Bay leading 24-17 but the Raiders faced 4th and 3 at the Bucs' 5 yard line. Derek Carr puts up a desperation pass for Michael Crabtree in the back of the endzone but it's not catchable. Game Over! The Bucs have beaten the Raiders! But wait...why is there a flag? Defensive holding on Jude Adjei-Barimah - away from the play. Carr didn't even look in that direction. He was going to Crabtree the entire way.
New life for the Raiders, something Carr is just too good to let slip away. The Raiders would score on the next play. It felt like the Bucs lost right there. They didn't, of course. In fact, there was a ton more football left to be played. Yet, the air just seemed to go out of the team after that sequence. The offense generated zip against a defense that is one of the worst in the NFL. The defense was gassed and barely hanging on.
The Raiders had two other chances to win the ballgame with Sebastian Janikowski field goals, but he missed both chances.
The Bucs got the ball twice in overtime (once at the Buccaneers 42 yard line) and went three and out both times. This one felt a lot like the Rams game, where the Bucs had every opportunity to come off the field victorious but somehow didn't.
It's why the Bucs are sitting today at 3-4 instead of 5-2.
4. We waited for that Jameis moment...where he would lead the Bucs down the field and set up the game winning field goal (or at least the attempt) but it never came. Winston was highly erratic throughout the ballgame and Evans wasn't the normal Mike Evans, dropping balls he's caught all season (although in his defense, one drop was caused when the defender speared him in the back of the head, a penalty suprisingly not called after the day the Raiders had with the refs).
With Shepard hurt, Winston had no one other weapons. Brate, Shorts and Humphries were invisible. Rodgers hurt his foot at the start of overtime so you're dealing with your 4th and 5th string running backs, one legitmate receiving threat and a quarterback whose inconsistency caught up to him.
Listen, we understand Jameis is young. He's going to have his inconsistency, his ups and his downs. Carr is a year ahead and playing at an MVP level. We hope Jameis will get there one day. He's not that guy yet.
Think of where we were a couple a weeks ago where we were all saying, "Jameis, you don't have to win the game - just don't lose it."
Now he's doing that...but now we ask him to win the game for the Bucs. Bucs fans look around the league and see Dak Prescott do it. Carr. Wentz. Why not Jameis? Well, he has done it. Hell, he did it in this game (with a little help from the Raiders). The Bucs were down 17-10 and Winston led the Bucs on two scoring drives to retake the lead.
24 points should be enough to win in this league, even if its not a banner day for your offense.
Yet we look at that final drive in regulation and the two drives in overtime and we wonder - why? Why couldn't our quarterback do what Dak and Carr and others do? He is too inconsistent to be that guy...but he's also got no one but Evans. The Raiders knew who he was going to. Hell, the entire stadium knew it.
Jason Licht needs to be working those phones today and get his quarterback another weapon to throw to - stat.
5. It felt like the defense had a good game, didn't it? Held the Raiders to 3 points in the first half. 17 points for 58 minutes. But you look at the stats and they are mind boggling. The Bucs surrendered a franchise record 626 yards to Oakland. I mean, the Raiders offense is solid but DAMN. That's just ridiculous.
Carr himself set a Raiders franchise record with 513 yards passing and four touchdowns.
What's scary folks is most of that offensive production came in the second half and overtime. Explosive play after explosive play against the Bucs defense, which just seemed to wilt.
Per ESPN, Carr completed 6 of 12 passes that travelled at least 15 yards in the air for 203 yards and a couple touchdowns. Chunk yards. 68. 40-plus. The big play has haunted the Bucs defense in spurts all season. It looked the last few weeks that Tampa Bay had it solved....but against the Raiders, it reared its ugly head again.
The crazy thing is - it didn't look like bad play by the Bucs defense. There were just a few blown coverages (although Vernon Hargraeves had a rough day). A lot of the big play stuff during the season was because someone missed an assignment. That wasn't the case this week. The Raiders guys were just better than the Bucs guys. Plain and simple.
Don't look now, but the red hot Falcons offense comes into town Thursday night.
6. I know you're waiting for me to talk about Aguayo. What's the point? He's not going anywhere. We're stuck with him, at least for this season. In the end, his missed extra point didn't cost the Bucs the game (although it did force Tampa Bay to go for two to make it a 7 point spread). He's a terrible kicker right now. What else is there to say?
7. Jacquizz Rodgers is down with a foot injury and a short week to prepare for Atlanta - if the Bucs ever needed Doug Martin to return it's Thursday night. I wouldn't bet on it. If Martin can't go, Tampa Bay could be left with Peyton Barber and Antone Smith (who was just signed last week). A position that had been such a strength for the Bucs is now one of their greatest weaknesses. It puts more pressure on Jameis, who has shown he's not ready for that yet.
I think this week is a big week for Bucs General Manager Jason Licht. If he sits on his hands and does nothing but pick up another practice squad player - then he's doing a disservice to this ballclub. I know he needs to be the custodian of the future, but frankly, he's had three years to build a contender in Tampa Bay.
His team needs some help in the worst way. Help your team, Mr. Licht.
8. With the Falcons rallying to beat Green Bay, the Bucs are really in a tough spot. The NFC East will likely take the two wild cards spots, so the Bucs only path to the playoffs is through the division. Tampa Bay is undefeated in division play this year, with both wins coming on the road. Jameis seems to save his best football for the Atlanta Falcons. The Bucs will need it. A loss tumbles the Bucs to 3-5 and puts them two games back with eight games to play. Essentially, barring another epic Atlanta collapse, it would be over.
I think this one is the proverbial must win. If the Bucs can pull it off, Tampa Bay will again be tied with Atlanta in the loss column, but more importantly, have a 3-0 record in division.
Better yet, the Falcons are travelling on Thursday night. the home team is 6-2 in Thursday Night games this season. Of course, its the Bucs at home so who the hell knows.
9. Jameis really does seem to save his best for Atlanta. Winston is 3-0 as a starter and in those games, he's 62 of 88, 70% comp pct, 685 yds, 6 TDs, 2 ints and 2 rushing touchdowns for a 106.3 QB Rating. Tampa Bay will need their quarterback to be that good again as it could be a long, rough night for the Buccaneers defense.
10 DLT's Tweet of the Week