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Yarcho’s Pick Six: Bucs Fall Short To Falcons

In a tale of two halves, the Buccaneers can’t overcome first half ineptitude to beat Atlanta

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Welp. For the third straight game, the Buccaneers fell on the short side of the scoreboard - this time to division rival Atlanta. In a game that was as frustrating as any we’ve seen this season, the Bucs came a wild play away from stealing a win. Instead, they fall 34-29 and have their hopes of a postseason berth bludgeoned over the head.

There was a lot to go into this, and no one player is to blame. It was a collective effort of ineptitude and too little, too late for the Bucs.

Let’s pick six.

Six Topics Suitable For Conversation

1.) They Are Who We Thought They Were. Mike Smith’s defense continues to be a mind-boggling collection of stupidity. Yes, the defense came up with stops in the second half but it was too little too late for a defense that allowed a 24-13 first half hole. They did themselves little favors by leaving Julio Jones uncovered for the majority of the game - especially in the final four minutes that allowed the Falcons to march down and kick a field goal to go up five. Smith’s defensive scheme is just plain outdated, ineffective, and pathetic. The players aren’t executing it and Smith is unwilling to adapt to the strengths of his players. Much like Lovie Smith did, it’s the round hole/square peg syndrome. In the end, it’s not only going to cost Smith his job, but will likely take Koetter and Licht down with him,

2.) Cant-kick-enzaro Strikes Again. Going back to the opening drive, where the Buccaneers scored with ease, then Catanzaro missed the extra point. That extra point managed to loom large over the game. Because of it, the Bucs had to attempt a two-point conversion - which failed. Had Catanzaro just done his job to begin with, the Bucs are marching down the field for a potential game tying field goal rather than diving into their book of tricks for a miracle touchdown. All that guaranteed money and he can’t kick. Hate to say I told you so, but...

3.) The Final Play Call Was Brilliant. Say what you will about the outcome, that final play was a genius idea that ALMOST worked. From the 21-yard line, the Bucs had little chance of pulling off a jump ball in the end zone with Julio Jones back there playing safety. The element of surprise worked and the lanes opened up for the Bucs. Unfortunately, Adam Humphries bobbled the ball leading to a delayed pitch to DeSean Jackson - that he couldn’t handle - and the game ended. If DJax scoops up that lateral, even with the delay, we’re talking about a Bucs win this morning.

4.) Jameis Winston Looked Fine - Don’t Panic. Winston finished the day with his second most passing yards and second most passing touchdowns in a game in his career. The interception in the end zone was a misfire, yes. If that ball is 8-12 inches higher, it’s a touchdown. As for the second, that one may be on DJax. We’ll have to wait for the all-22 to come out, but in real time it appeared as if DJax slowed up towards the end of that route and allowed the safety to get into position to intercept the ball. There are still some timing issues with Evans and DeSean, but overall Winston looked fine. It also would’ve helped had Evans not had three passes go right through his hands...

5.) Congratulations Mike Evans. With his first reception Sunday, Mike Evans became the Buccaneers’ all time leading receiver. He passed Mark Carrier and is still only 25 years old. By time all is said and done, Evans may put every Bucs’ receiving record out of reach that we don’t see his records broken in our lifetime.

6.) 2-3 Is Not A Death Sentence. Coming up, the Bucs face the Browns, Bengals, and Panthers. All are winnable games and can get the Bucs back on track. Even going 2-1 keeps them at .500 and in the postseason hunt. If this defense doesn’t get it together though, these next three games could see every team score over 30 points.

Six Numbers To Consider

74 - Winston’s career passing touchdowns. Third most in franchise history.

5,063 - Mike Evans’ career receiving yards

5 - Jason Pierre-Paul’s season sack total - halfway to that ever elusive double-digit mark

-6 - Bucs’ turnover differential this season.

94 - Bucs’ opponent’s red zone touchdown percentage

0 - Games the Bucs’ defense has allowed fewer than 400 yards this season

Six Best Tweets

Six Things To Be Excited About

1.) Jason Pierre-Paul - He’s been a total game wrecker since joining the team. This was definitely a move that Jason Licht can pin to the top of the resume.

2.) Chris Godwin - This kid continues to make plays. He’s an emerging star in this league and the perfect compliment to Mike Evans moving forward into the future of this franchise.

3.) Lavonte David - This is kind of like cheating since most people already love Lavonte, but his play this season has been extraordinary. On that final Falcons drive he single handedly almost caused a 3-and-out. He’s putting the defense on his back and trying to keep them respectable.

4.) Todd Monken - The offense is still performing at a high level. This will only continue as Winston gets more comfortable with Monken’s style of play calling. And they have the weapons to be a top tier unit for years to come.

5.) O.J. Howard - This guy. What can you say? Two weeks ahead of his recovery schedule and he was a major factor all game long. There’s a reason he was a first round pick and he’s showing it consistently week in and week out.

6.) Mike Evans - Again, this guy is only 25 years old he’s the leading receiver in franchise history. Not only that, but he’s locked up for the foreseeable future. Only good things ahead for that young man.

Six Super Bowl Bets

1.) Los Angeles Rams - Hands down the best and most complete team in football

2.) New England Patriots - Can’t say with any confidence there’s a team in the AFC that can knock them off

3.) Kansas City Chiefs - We’ve seen this movie starring Andy Reid before. Enjoy it while it lasts

4.) New Orleans Saints - Somehow, their only loss is to the Bucs

5.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Starting to click, and with James Connor, who needs Lev Bell?

19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Slowly slipping out of reach

Six Final Words

Baker Mania Is Coming To Town