Well, that’s about all she wrote, folks. The Buccaneers fell to the Giants 38-35, essentially sealing their fate and having yet another season end without a playoff berth. Despite Jameis Winston’s best efforts, the defense couldn’t come up with the one final stop to give the Bucs a chance to win.
Had it not been for the early hole dug by the offense - thanks to three Ryan Fitzpatrick turnovers, one of which returned for a touchdown - things might have been different. But that’s the story of the season, isn’t it? One play here, two plays there. Always so close, yet so far.
Let’s dive in to a holiday edition of Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Dirk Koetter Has Fired Himself. Saying Ryan Fitzpatrick gave the Bucs the best chance to win was a long shot, but not completely crazy given how Winston played for much of the season. However, Fitz never recaptured his magic and was turning the ball over at a similar rate as Winston. Following his three interceptions on Sunday, Winston was put back into the game and led the Bucs on four consecutive touchdown drives. He played the way we expect a number one pick to play and put to rest any debate as to who should start the rest of the season. BUT WAIT! Dirk Koetter said following the game that he isn’t ready to name a starter yet. It’s reached the point of stubbornness. I said on the Locked On Bucs Podcast that Koetter signed his own pink slip when he took back play calling and the team finished with three points. All he’s done since is continue to display reasons why that’s exactly what’s about to happen.
2.) DeSean Jackson’s “Effort” Is Inexcusable. It’s a low - VERY low - percentage chance that the Buccaneers could have pulled off a miracle comeback to tie or win with 0:23 seconds left, no timeouts, and the ball at their own 20. To give them a glimmer of hope, Monken dialed up a hail Mary on first down towards the sideline to try and get into field goal range. It wasn’t the prettiest pass you’ll ever see, but it was there as was the chance for a play to be made. DJax was in front of the defender and in position, so what did he do? He slowed down, looked up (arms at his sides) and watched the ball get intercepted. He gave less effort than anyone believed was even possible. Even a bunny hop and arms in the air would’ve given him a chance at catching that ball. Instead, he gave up on the play as he’s appeared prone to do with Winston at the helm. It’s inexcusable. Period. Apparently trade rumors weren’t too far off. Jackson had the chance to be a hero. Instead, he wants to quit on plays when his favorite QB is on the sideline. I certainly don’t expect someone like that to return next season, regardless of the potential new staff.
3.) Jason Pierre-Paul Was So Close. We thought he had it. A guy who went without a sack the last two games had two against his former team. Or so we thought. Turned out, one of the sacks was changed to a half sack, shared with Carl Nassib. That gave JPP 1.5 on the day and 9.5 on the season, meaning the double-digit sack drought is still intact. No one wanted this more than JPP. Unfortunately, the Bucs just couldn’t deliver.
4.) Cairo Santos! He didn’t attempt a field goal, but Santos was perfect on the day going five for five on extra points. That was very badly needed for the Bucs in an attempt to right the kicking game. Santos may be the answer moving forward into 2019, or maybe he won’t. Time will tell. But it’s safe to say Santos got off on the right *looks side to side* foot.
5.) Give More Love To Peyton Barber. Barber had a another very solid game, finishing with 108 yards and a 5.9 yards per carry average. He was dominant in the middle - which makes you wonder why they kept trying to run stretches and tosses that were stuffed for no gain or a loss. It also brings you back to that quarterback sneak in the first quarter on fourth down. You should trust a running back to pick up a first down in that situation. Instead, they go with Fitz who gains nothing, turning the ball over on downs in the red zone. With the difference in the game being three points, opting to not attempt a chip shot field goal there is a tough pill to swallow.
6.) Jameis Winston Starts Rest Of Season. Period. I saved this for last not because it should be viewed as the least important, but because it’s the most divisive and I have the most to say on it. I’ve been as fair as I possibly could regarding Winston. If he plays well, I credit him. If he plays poor, I rip him. If he turns the ball over and it’s not his fault (*cough* DJax *cough*), I blame the guilty party. If he does something stupid, I call him on it. At this point, it 100% DOES NOT matter how he performs the rest of the year. He does not sit. He does not get pulled. He starts. He plays. Every snap. Every game. If it takes an executive order from ownership, so be it. Dirk Koetter’s seat is fully engulfed in flames. If he wants to ride with Fitz, fire him in season and promote Monken. Do whatever it takes to leave Winston on the field for the final six games. Whoever the next head coach is, they deserve the opportunity to review as much recent film on Winston as possible. There is too much money riding on him not to. If the new head coach wants to move on, so be it. Use that money elsewhere. If the new head coach says he can win with Winston, Jason Licht (or a potential new GM) needs time to work the roster and make moves to free up money. They don’t have the luxury of extended time. Decisions will have to be made quickly to prepare for the off-season moves that must be made. Fitzpatrick isn’t the future and they have no present thanks to a 3-7 record. No matter the outcomes, no matter the mistakes, regardless of everything, Winston has to play. Yes, his option is guaranteed against injury so if he goes down, they have to work around it. That’s the risk they have to take. Fitzmagic is gone. Fizzled. Vanished. Stick with Jameis - no matter what.
Six Numbers To Consider
4 - Consecutive Drives For Jameis Winston resulting in a touchdown
155.8 - Eli Manning’s passer rating - a career high
142 - Rush yards by Saquon Barkley - a career high
-23 - Bucs turnover differential
7 - Consecutive games without a defensive takeaway
2 - Winston’s all-time rank in franchise history for touchdown passes, tied with Vinny Testaverde
Six Best Tweets (In No Particular Order)
#Buccaneers just figured out how to score on their own turnovers. Watch out, NFL.— Mike Tanier (@MikeTanier) November 18, 2018
The Bucs going back and forth on whether they want Jameis Winston or Ryan Fitzpatrick to be their quarterback pic.twitter.com/UhUcuQR9yM— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 18, 2018
If Bucs lose by current 38-35 score, this will be the fifth time this season they've scored 27 or more points and still lost: 27, 29, 34, 28 and today's 35. Nine such losses in three seasons under Dirk Koetter, after eight total in the 23 seasons before that from 1993-2015.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 18, 2018
Power Ranking Thanksgiving Food
It’s Thanksgiving time! Let’s step away from football for a moment and begin to get excited about that glorious meal we’re all about to take part in. Let’s power rank the feast and get those mouths ready for some giant piles of deliciousness.
Honorable Mention: Mashed Potatoes: They’re good, they’re a staple, but this isn’t something that’s unique to Thanksgiving. We have mashed potatoes all the time. Yeah, they’re great but it’s not exactly a highlight for the meal.
6.) Green Bean Casserole: Even people that don’t like vegetables tend to partake in the green bean casserole on Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the soup that’s incorporated. Maybe it’s the crispy onions. Something about it is just too good to pass up. Even if it’s just a bite or two, it’ll be on virtually every plate in the house.
5.) Cranberry Sauce: Whether you’re a whole berry person or a gelatin out of the can person, cranberry sauce is delicious. And let’s not forget the underrated angle of leftover turkey sandwiches using cranberry sauce as the condiment on the bread.
4.) Pie: Full disclosure, I hate pumpkin pie. It’s awful. However, there are plenty of people that love it and relish the one day a year they have it. I lean more towards pecan or apple, but all the desserts on Thanksgiving are beloved - and devoured.
3.) Sweet Potato Casserole: Some do it with marshmallows, some do it with a crispy pecan topping. No matter how you scoop it, sweet potato casserole is the best potato for the holiday. The buttery, brown sugary, fluorescent orange mound of amazing could be the entire meal and I would still be perfectly content.
2.) Stuffing: It’s not Thanksgiving if you aren’t mounding your plate with stuffing. Corn bread, herb seasoned, whatever the preference. Some like it with sausage or walnuts. No matter what, it’s a package deal - turkey and stuffing. If made right, it can be the best part of the meal.
1.) Turkey: Yeah, yeah - low hanging fruit. Look people, it’s called Turkey Day for a reason. White meat, dark meat, smoked, roasted, skin on, skin off - it’s all incredible. Smothered in gravy, leftover for sandwiches, and the nap that follows. Turkey is the main event, the headliner. If a side dish gets messed up, you can move past it. If the turkey gets messed up, the whole day is ruined. No doubt this is the undisputed number one.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) New Orleans Saints - Can they be stopped? Well, by anyone besides the Bucs?
2.) Los Angeles Rams - They are so freaking fun to watch
3.) Pittsburgh Steelers - No one in the AFC is hotter and the Bell distraction is officially done
4.) Kansas City Chiefs - See Rams
5.) New England Patriots - Still won’t count out Bill and Brady
31.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - They are their own worst enemy