I seriously feel like Daniel Kaluuya’s character in “Get Out” these days when I’m watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football.
Myself and many others are currently lost in the sunken place.
The Bucs lost in the Meadowlands on Sunday. It was the New York Giants’ first home win of the season.
That sentence right there should tell how this week’s grades are going to shape out.
As has been the case all year, the offense was extremely inconsistent early on in the game. Turnovers put the Bucs in a hole and the offense had to rally furiously behind Jameis Winston in order to stage a comeback.
Yep, it was Winston who was on the field as the clock ran out the final seconds of the game. Not Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Poor play from the Bearded Wonder led to his second benching of the season. Entering halftime, the Bucs were down just 14-7. Fitzpatrick had already thrown one interception at this point and was very inconsistent, but the team was still in the game.
That all changed as soon as the Bucs received the ball to start the second half. It took just two passes from Fitzpatrick before the defense was able to nab their second pick of the game. This time, it went the other direction for six points.
Nothing changed on the next drive. Under heavy pressure, Fitzpatrick just lobbed one up into the end zone that was picked off.
The turnovers doomed the Buccaneers, again. It wiped out a very good performance from Winston off the bench, a great game by Mike Evans, and another good performance from Peyton Barber.
If it just weren’t for the damn turnovers. Tampa Bay finished 6/9 on third down, recorded 31 first downs, and went 4/5 in the red zone which included a 4/4 line in goal-to-go situations.
But you can’t keep making the same mistakes and expect everyone to just ignore them.
Final Grade: 1.0 (D)
Just like the offensive side of the ball, it’s the same old story with the defense.
A terrible first quarter combined with no offensive help gave the Giants an early 14-0 lead. They finished with a season-high 139 yards in the first quarter. Eli Manning completed 11 straight passes at one point. Saquon Barkley couldn’t be stopped.
The unit did find some footing in the second quarter despite giving up an early touchdown. Carl Nassib and Jason Pierre-Paul combined for a big sack that was a big momentum killer.
The team finished with four sacks on the day, so the Bucs were able to get pressure, but the defense just couldn’t hold up for the entirety of the game. Two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter put the final nail in the coffin.
The Bucs gave up an average of 6.8 yards per play, 5.3 yards per rush, and 359 total yards of offense - not to mention 31 points.
Final Grade: 1.5 (D)
Holy Cairo Santos! No missed extra points!
The new Buccaneer didn’t get a chance to attempt a field goal, but that’s ok because the team was scoring touchdowns. I’ll take that excuse all day.
The only issue with Santos was the fact that he couldn’t put the ball through the end zone on kickoffs which led to some decent returns by the Giants.
Regardless, outside of Santos, the special teams didn’t see much action. Bryan Anger punted the ball just once all day.
The coverage teams played well and didn’t allow many big plays despite being put in troublesome situations on the kickoff returns.
Final Grade: 3.0 (B)
I hate to say this, because I like Dirk Koetter as a person.
This staff cannot be in Tampa Bay in 2019. There have been two common threads all season - turnovers and bad defense - and nothing has improved in either area.
This is a coaching problem. No other way around it.
Mark Duffner is doing what he can and at times he has looked very competent, but he hasn’t done enough to save his job next year, either
The only two that should be given consideration to stick around are Todd Monken and Brentson Buckner. Outside of them, expect major turnover at the top in 2019.
Final Grade: 0.0 (F)
Overall Grade: 1.38 (D)
The one good thing about this crappy season is that it is in fact making me a better writer. It’s tough to write about the same dumb mistakes every week and make it feel fresh.
That’s the only good thing to come out of this season.