This game felt like the beginning of the ending of the Dirk Koetter and Jameis Winston led Buccaneers. The final score was 37-34, but Jameis Winston did all he could in this one to ensure it never got that close. Winston turned the ball over near the red-zone on the teams first drive with an overthrown pass for an interception, tell me if you’ve seen this story before. That would be the beginning of a terrible afternoon for Winston, one that may have him riding the sidelines for the near and possible distant future.
The offense put up yards a plenty, but turnovers wrecked the day.
There should be no quarterback controversy after what happened on the field Sunday as Jameis Winston handed over the keys to the ship after a four interception game. Winston threw for 276 yards in the contest but time and time again he turned the football over. Winston did connect with DeSean Jackson for a 60 yard touchdown but was unable to find any more success through the air. After his fourth interception of the game came in the 3rd quarter, it was time for Ryan Fitzpatrick to get his shot. Fitzpatrick led the Buccaneers back from a 34-16 deficit to tie it up at 34 late in the 4th quarter. Fitzpatrick managed to throw two touchdown passes and convert a 2-point conversion. This should be Fitzmagic’s team moving forward until the playoffs are out of the picture.
The ground game was sound given the circumstances surrounding the score and turnovers on offense as Peyton Barber led the attack with 85 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. If the team could have managed the game a bit better on offenses and limited turnovers, Barber may very well have had a big game.
Mike Evans had a monster game receiving with 179 yards and a touchdown 6 catches. Winston was targeted heavily along with Adam Humphries, combining for 23 targets. Howard added a big touchdown late to go with his 68 yards receiving. The ball distribution in this game seemed to have little rhyme or reason watching it live. Neither Evans nor Jackson caught even 50% of their targets, much of which is attributed to Winston’s issues in this game. Worse off even was Chris Godwin only managed to haul in 2 passes out of 7 targets. One thing that has been consistent with Winston at quarterback is the inconsistency and inability to find the top weapons on offense consistently without error.
The offensive line struggled in this one to keep the pocket clean, allowing 6 total sacks which didn’t help one bit in front of a struggling Winston. What started off as a sound group week 1 has slowly tailed off as the right side just continues to get demolished. There needs to be a lot of soul searching on this team and with this group in particular.
The defense showed some early signs of life, but time and time again had to make up for a terrible offensive performance.
Jason Pierre-Paul had a terrific game, copy-paste each week, as he led the team with the only two sacks of the ball game. The rest of the line left much to be desired in this ball game as Joe Mixon had his way with the defense and the Bengals offensive line gave it to the Buccaneers defensive front. No Gerald McCoy hurt, but nobody else stepping up hurt worse.
Lavonte David assisted on 5 tackles and made 3 solo on his own in what was mostly a quiet day from the All Pro linebacker. Kwon’s swarming presence was greatly missed as Taylor and Bond was non existent. This is an issue with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. To make matters worse, Taylor added a big 5-yard penalty to help set up the Bengals game winning kick.
The defensive backs were a mixed bag of results as Carlton Davis appeared to play fairly well and Justin Evans led the team in tackles with 8. The big name this week for reasons one certainly wouldn’t like to be a part of was M.J. Stewart who struggled big time. Tyler Boyd took advantage of his mis-match on Stewart prior to Stewart exited the ball game early with an injury.
Special Teams Woes Continue... again.
Catanzaro missed another extra point, it just doesn’t end does it? Kickers were worked out a week ago and with another miss it stands reason to believe that the team will continue their efforts to find a kicker who can at least make an extra point at a reasonable rate.
Bryan Anger did his thing as is usually the case but unless he can start working some magic and making returners just drop balls, his efforts are nullified by a struggling defense.
The final reaction.
Jameis Winston put a ton of a extra doubt into this front office and coaching staff about his overall development and abilities. I’ve made some comments about him needing to show his full potential this year in order to be given another contract and quite frankly, it’s time to start contemplating a new future as Winston has done nothing to prove he’s growing. With incredible weapons such as Evans, Jackson, Howard and Godwin available it just makes you scratch your head as to why he continues to fall in love with targets like Adam Humphries who are reliable but far from top options. Jason Pierre-Paul has been as advertised for the defense but the rest of the bunch has vastly underwhelmed leaving you wonder why a man of his talent continues to fight, but he does. JPP has been a blessing for an otherwise putrid defense. The ownership in Tampa must look at a performance like yesterday and cringe knowing this next off-season may mean a new GM, new coaching staff and gulp... a new face at quarterback.