The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing the Atlanta Falcons at the wrong time in 2019. At 3-7, both teams sit at the bottom of the NFC South. But, after a 1-7 start, the Falcons are on a two game winning streak, while the Bucs have lost five of their last six games after starting the year 2-2.
So, while fans of the Tampa franchise wonder what the coaching staff is going to do differently to turn the tide before the end of the year, Falcons fans are enjoying the spoils of a coaching staff who has done nothing, but the same thing that got them to 1-7 in the first place.
At least on defense they are, according to Atlanta defensive backs, Isaiah Oliver and Desmond Trufant,
“We’re running the same defenses,” said Oliver “Nothing has changed. It’s just working better, honestly. Guys are communicating more. We are getting more urgent and getting to the ball quicker.”
According to a recent article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, that’s the secret to the Falcons’ recent success. In the past two games, the struggling team has defeated two division rivals in the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. In those, the defense gave up zero touchdowns to their opponents.
None. Not one to Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. Christian McCaffrey didn’t hit score either. In fact, the defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the last ten quarters.
Every fan base engages in the same conversation when their team is struggling. It’s either coaches or players at fault. Rarely will a fan base agree it’s a little of both. For the Falcons players, it’s been on them, and it’s been them who have gotten on this hot run as well.
“We just went back to the basics,” Trufant said. “Having fun, running and hitting. It’s showing.”
Fun. And winning. The two go hand in hand, and you can’t usually have one without the other. For the Falcons however, it seems they’ve found a way to have the fun, leading to the win, which leads to more fun. And it starts with effort, and executing the basics of the scheme they failed to execute consistently for the eight weeks prior to their two game winning streak.
Before anyone scoffs at the Falcons’ two-game winning streak, it’s one game longer than any winning streak the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put together this season. And the basics, communication, etc. are all things fans, media, coaches and players have all talked about getting better at.
So, while the Bucs continue to look for ways to get better, perhaps looking towards the team on the opposite side of the field can provide a bit of a starting point.