Okay, we knew it couldn’t last forever, right? That at some point this season the Fitzmagic would run out. That said, Ryan Fitzpatrick almost generated the biggest fourth quarter come back in franchise history. The Buccaneers fell to the Steelers 30-27 in Raymond James in their final game without Jameis Winston. Now, will Winston start against the Bears given the rocky start by Fitz on Monday night? Possibly, but in all likelihood it seems as though Fitz should start off the short week.
Anyway, lets dive into Pick Six (albeit, a slightly abbreviated one).
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Midnight Strikes On Fitzmagic? That first half was ugly. No way around it. Fitz was getting rushed, making poor decisions, turning the ball over. It was bad. Then he comes out in the second half and returned (somewhat) to how he looked in the first two weeks. Seems as though Fitz served his purpose and did what no one believed he could - get the Buccaneers two wins in the first three weeks. The debate will rage on until a starter for Sunday is announced, but neither decision will surprise me.
2.) Brent Grimes Looked...Rusty. It was a tough return for Grimes. He was slipping, getting beat, and overall looked like a guy who hadn’t been playing for three weeks. That’s to be expected. Grimes is still a phenomenal corner, but this was a tough matchup to return to. The secondary as a whole looked bad - for the second quarter. Other than that, they stood their ground and played well. Grimes should be looking like himself again in no time.
3.) These Gerald McCoy Takes... How is it that McCoy misses a sack that could have gotten 4.) the Bucs the ball back with around two minutes left makes him the problem on this team? I swear, some people just love to cry about having one of the nest defensive tackles in the game if he doesn’t make one particular play. He was great throughout the game and missed a sack on Roethlisberger. Guess what - so does half the NFL. Roethlisberger is one of the toughest quarterbacks to bring down and the Bucs still managed to get to him three times - half of a sack credited to McCoy. Can’t pin this one on him, McCoy haters...
4.) Why The Force Feeding Of Godwin? Yes, I get it. The Bucs were undefeated when Godwin scored a touchdown. That said, the force feeding of him in the red zone with the drops - and fumble - he had was puzzling. Twice the Bucs had 1st and Goal from the 5 and settled for field goals both times. Neither possession had a single target towards Mike Evans who towers over every member of the Steelers’ secondary. I love Godwin, but he’s not the top guy. Feed the beast that wears number 13.
5.) Kudos To Tony Dungy. The greatest coach in Buccaneers’ history finally got his due when he was enshrined in the Ring Of Honor at halftime. I don’t really have much to say about it that I didn’t already say in the “Chasing The Booty” column Gil and I released Monday morning, but I certainly wasn’t going to ignore it.
6.) It Is Far From Panic Time. I saw some people on Twitter going FULL TILT during this game. Ready to fire the coaches, ready to trade everyone. It was insane. As I said on Twitter, at the end of last night - no matter the result - the Buccaneers are still lightyears ahead of where everyone projected them to be. No expert, no analyst gave them a snowball’s chance in Hell at winning one game, let alone being 2-1 and atop the NFC South during Winston’s suspension. This team is exactly that. If they were going to lose one of the three, the Steelers game was the one to lose. They’re 1-0 in the division, 2-0 in the conference. The Steelers loss will have no playoff tiebreaker implications for the Bucs should they get that far. Stop flipping out. Revel in the fact that this is a first place team right now. That, unlike in previous seasons they didn’t see the 30-10 deficit and roll over. They had the resiliency to fight, scratch, and claw all the way back and almost steal victory from the jaws of defeat. They weren’t going undefeated. No one does. We all know about that obnoxious Dolphins team that pops their champagne because it is such a rare feat. Yes, it sucked that it was a prime time game but guess what - if the Bucs keep playing this way, they’ll find themselves in a Sunday night flex game later on. This is a team that can compete. The sky is not falling.
Six Numbers To Consider
1 - Quarterbacks in NFL history with three consecutive 400+ yard games - Ryan Fitzpatrick
6 - Consecutive Monday Night Football wins for Ben Roethlisberger
35 - Career touchdowns by Mike Evans, now the all time leader for the Bucs (and he’s only 25 years old)
4 - Consecutive games Chris Godwin has scored a touchdown
11 - Passing touchdowns by Ryan Fitzpatrick, most through three games in Bucs’ history
15 - 100 yard receiving games by Mike Evans, tied for most in team history with Mark Carrier (Again, people...he’s twenty-five)
Six Ways To Recover From The Loss
- Remind yourself that despite the loss to the Steelers, it was the Steelers. I mean, it’s not like the Bucs were favored by 16.5 points and lost at home to the Bills. Could you imagine that level of embarrassment?
- Breathe a sigh of relief that even though the Bucs lost their lone prime time game, none of us will be forced to endure Jason Witten’s “commentary” anymore. Can networks stop hiring former Cowboys, now?
- Revel in the fact that Saints fans think they can talk trash to you after the loss, somehow forgetting they lost to the Bucs in week one. At home.
- Drop Ryan Fitzpatrick from your fantasy team and put in that waiver claim for Jameis Winston. You’ll thank me later.
- Smile knowing Bolts hockey is right around the corner.
- Get amped that the next Bucs game is only five days away!
Six Best Tweets
(In no particular order)
Dirk Koetter was asked if he made any decision on starting QB. He cautioned to wait and see and added he’d like to talk to Jameis before making any announcement.— JoeBucsFan (@JoeBucsFan) September 25, 2018
Mike with the HUGE TD catch! We're fighting back!#GoBucs | #PITvsTB pic.twitter.com/nLTaH9Yse5— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 25, 2018
All month @Jaboowins led a team of former & recently cut NFL players thru the Buccaneers exact regime including early morning film sessions, walk thrus, 20+ period practices. All done at the exact time of day the Bucs would go. pic.twitter.com/0bJp1UoKSn— George Whitfield Jr. (@georgewhitfield) September 24, 2018
With family and former players looking on, Coach Dungy was inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor. pic.twitter.com/86ZmIujrSY— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 25, 2018
Chris Conte might be the next Vontae Davis after that. #Bucs— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) September 25, 2018
That's roughing the passer!? Seriously, this is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/J0DCvQKMLM— Scott Smith (@ScottSmithFOX13) September 25, 2018
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Kansas City Chiefs - Are you kidding me with this Mahomes guy?
2.) Los Angeles Rams - Gurley is a monster, that defense is unreal. Hands down NFC favorite
3.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Minor setback, still an elite team
4.) Minnesota Vikings - *See ‘Jacksonville Jaguars’*
5.) Philadelphia Eagles - Wentz is back, Alshon isn’t far behind.
9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - No shame in their game. Bounce back vs Chicago coming