It’s officially official: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Not that anyone that has been following this team really believed they were going to make it, but having it official makes the sting stick out a little more.
In what equated to an absolute snooze-fest of a game, the Bucs were dominated on the ground, in the time of possession battle, and throughout the entire second half. All those put together - while on the road and in the rain - add up to a loss.
Let’s go ahead and pick six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Bucs Ready To Move On From Staff? There was a report out Sunday morning from Jason La Canfora (so take it with a grain of salt considering his track record) that the Bucs have been researching head coaching candidates and that Koetter as well as offensive coordinator Todd Monken will be among those shown the door following the season. La Canfora claims that league sources say both guys will be coveted as OC candidates this off-season. This isn’t a huge shock as we’ve been saying for weeks that Koetter was as good as gone. This just adds gas to the fire.
2.) Chris Godwin Lost His Mojo. Chris Godwin, for the second straight week, finished in an extremely disappointing fashion. He had no receptions and dropped two easy passes early in the game. For whatever reason, Godwin hasn’t been the monster the past few games as he was throughout the season - especially as the number two guy as DJax sat for a third straight game. No need to panic about his future, but something isn’t right with Godwin. Could be an injury he’s trying to play through, could be the fatigue of a long and frustrating season. Whatever it is, it needs to be figured out and fixed asap.
3.) Hats Off To Lavonte. Lavonte David set the Bucs’ franchise record for most fumble recoveries on Sunday in addition to getting both Bucs sacks. He’s been one of the few constants over the years (in a positive manner) and Sunday was another shining example. David is now forever etched in Bucs’ lore - and few others have been so deserving.
4.) The Sealing Of His Own Fate. Okay, I’ll try not to keep harping on the elephant in the room, but if there was any question about Koetter’s future, it was answered in the fourth quarter. Down by eight, Koetter opted to burn a timeout and go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Ravens’ 33-yard line. This was after Barber was hit for a three yard loss on 3rd-and-1. Not only did they go for it on fourth down, it was one of the worst play calls of the day. I get it; you’re down eight and there’s only half the quarter left. You could kick the field goal and cut it to five, meaning you won’t have to deal with the two point conversion madness to tie. If Santos misses, you’re in the same spot you were when they failed to convert. But if you’re going to go for it, good heavens call a decent play. That falls on Monken as much as Koetter, but still - the offensive execution all game was nothing short of atrocious.
5.) Demar Dotson No Longer Cares. All right, all right. Last one, I promise! (Well, this week anyway). Following the game, the longest tenured Buccaneer - Demar Dotson - was asked about playing for Koetter and trying to help ol’ Dirk save his job. Dotson replied, “It’s every man for himself at this moment. I’m not going to worry about saving Dirk’s job, I’m worried about saving my own. So that’s the way I look at it.’’ Um, wow. I believed that Koetter still hadn’t lost the locker room despite the losses on the field. That guys were still playing for him, that they still liked him leading the ship. After a comment like that, it seems as though he’s beginning to lose them. If he’s beginning to lose them, they will absolutely finish 5-11.
6.) Bucs In Good Company. Want a positive spin? When was the last time the Bucs were mentioned as being on the level of the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, and Denver Broncos? Well, it happened Sunday when those three - along with the New York Giants and Detroit Lions - were also eliminated from playoff contention. Of those teams, one would guess only Tampa Bay and Green Bay will be coach hunting this offseason. Detroit, New York, and Denver all have new coaches and Quinn isn’t going anywhere.
Six Numbers To Consider
12 - Number of first downs by the Bucs Sunday, fewest in the Koetter era
49 - Rushing attempts by the Ravens, good for 242 yards
4 - Straight losses against the Ravens
2 - Consecutive games the Bucs won the turnover battle but lost the game
5 - Bucs’ receivers that were targeted Sunday and finished with fewer than 10 receiving yards
13 - Lavonte David’s career fumble recoveries, passing Ronde Barber for most all-time in Bucs’ history
Six Best Tweets (In No Particular Order)
Jameis keeps the play alive and HEAVES it to Evans! pic.twitter.com/iUsCa0ko29— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 16, 2018
For the 11th straight season, the Bucs will not make the NFL playoffs. pic.twitter.com/Ahih54J1SX— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 16, 2018
#Bucs media everywhere ... changing and canceling any early offseason vacation plans.— Mark Cook (@MarkCook1970) December 16, 2018
Glazers looking at this coaching staff pic.twitter.com/5jqNFrvahn— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) December 16, 2018
Six Perfect Songs For Monday
Here is a six song playlist to perfectly encapsulate that post loss Monday feeling on your way to work.
6.) Hold My Hand - Hootie and the Blowfish: Celebrating the Bucs’ offensive line’s favorite activity - holding. Could be a hand, an arm, a jersey, a facemask...
5.) Loser - Beck: Pretty self explanatory, isn’t it?
4.) Thunderstruck - AC/DC: I mean, at least celebrate the one team in Tampa Bay worth watching right now.
3.) High Hopes - Bruce Springsteen: Every year we have them, every year they’re dashed away.
2.) You Can’t Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones: But if you try sometimes, you just mind find...
1.) Another One Bites The Dust - Queen: Another coaching change around the corner, the fifth since 2009.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Los Angeles Rams - Still think they’re the most talented top to bottom
2.) New Orleans Saints - If they beat the Rams a second time, no one from the AFC is stopping them
3.) Kansas City Chiefs - Haven’t missed Kareem Hunt, but Andy Reid may still Andy Reid this up
5.) Chicago Bears - That defense is obscene, but can Trubisky take them to the promised land?
26.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Whoever takes the HC job will have a solid core to start with