Welp. That’ll do it. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finish the 2019 season 7-9 following a 28-22 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Bucs finish third in NFC South and Bruce Arians finishes with a losing record for the first time in his coaching career.
The Bucs set plenty of records in this one, not all of them good.
Let’s do our best Jameis Winston impression and pick six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) I’m done. I don’t care about him throwing for over 5,000 yards. I don’t care that he had over 30 touchdown passes. Winston was the first quarterback EVER to have 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in one season. He bookended the season with pick sixes. He threw seven of them - most in NFL history - throughout the season. How many excuses is this guy going to get? Jameis Winston is hands down the most infuriating player in the history of this game. He’ll make a throw like he did at the end of the first half - just an absolute dime to Breshad Perriman to take the lead before half. Then he’ll turn around and throw an interception that’s returned for a touchdown on the first play of overtime. And this guy’s agents are asking for over thirty million dollars a year?! No freaking way. It’s never gonna change, folks. Winston is Winston. Every week we hear “I gotta be better,” “I can fix those,” and “I’m gonna work hard to improve.” It’s been FIVE DAMN YEARS. If you could fix it, if you could improve then you would have by now. Plain and simple, Winston ain’t it. The Bucs will never win with him. They’re better off selling the farm for Joe Burrow or getting Matthew Stafford in the offseason. Stop wasting the primes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on this guy. With him under center, the Bucs will forever be mediocre.
2.) Sack Barrett. Not only did Shaquil Barrett break Warren Sapp’s single season sack record, he went on to crush it. With three sacks on Sunday, Barrett finished with 19.5 on the season and cemented himself into the record books as well as the hearts of Buccaneers fans everywhere. He wants to be back, Arians said he’ll be back. Make it happen.
3.) Speaking of returning. Let’s talk about Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP said post game he feels he has five years left in him. With the way he played following his return from injury, I’m inclined to agree. He looked to be in even better shape than last season and he was a consistent menace to opposing quarterbacks all year. The Bucs have to find a way to get him back for two to three years to pair up with Barrett. Of course, they’ll have plenty of money to do so if they don’t overpay a certain quarterback...
4.) Rough day for Gay. Matt Gay went 0-for-3 on his kicks, which proved to be the difference. At one point, the Bucs should have been up 31-16. Instead, the Falcons were able to stay in it and steal the win in overtime. No, we shouldn’t chase this guy out of town but he needs to get better. It seems that when he misses one, he’s useless the rest of that game. This is something that needs to be worked on in the offseason and it appears to be mental. Bucs fans know all about a kicker having issues above the shoulders, but Gay has been pretty damn good all season long. These are growing pains and the Bucs have their long term kicker with the former fifth round pick.
5.) Per usual. Officiating is still pathetic. I’m not diving in this week. You all get it. But good heavens - this crap has to get fixed during the offsesaon, one way or another.
6.) Buckle in. We’re in for a long offseason. Winston speculation, retention of current players, free agent frenzy, draft talk. For many Bucs fans, this is the highlight since it brings the only sliver of hope or excitement. The Bucs had one heck of a turnaround but the injury bug and costly turnovers derailed their opportunity to finish .500 or better. That’s what’s so crazy. The Bucs went toe-to-toe with a lot of these teams and couldn’t finish. Then again, they went toe-to-toe with a lot of these teams and did finish. This year feels a little different. It feels a little more real that the corner is being turned. That said, they still have some major questions and holes to address before I start encouraging and convincing others that things really will be different this time around.
Six Numbers To Consider
1 - Quarterback in history to finish a season with 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions
8 - Quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season
0 - Playoff appearanes by the Bucs this decade
19.5 - Sacks by Barrett, tied for sixth most all time in a single season
106 - Yards rushing by Ronald Jones, a career high and the first 100 yards rusher for the Bucs since November of 2018
115 - Days until the NFL Draft
Six Best Tweets
Perriman has been terrific the past month for #Bucs— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) December 29, 2019
Evans, Godwin and Perriman will enter 2020 as the best WR trio in the NFL.
Jameis Winston’s first pass under his rookie contract with the Bucs was a pick-six.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 29, 2019
Jameis Winston’s last pass under his rookie contract with the Bucs was a pick-six.
QUARTERBACKS HAVE FAMILIES TOO, SHAQ. pic.twitter.com/Jd9WRcAZh0— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 29, 2019
Arians, asked if Winston throwing a pick-six in overtime is worst possible way to end a season: “I can’t think of anything worse.”— Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 29, 2019
Six New Year’s Resolutions for the Bucs
6.) Find a way to retain the difference makers that helped turn the defense around in the second half of the season.
5.) Allow Byron Leftwich to continue to grow and mature in his role as play caller. Things - again - improved in the second half of the season. We went through the growing pains, it’s time to continue to get better.
4.) Find a dynamic game changing running back. Nothing against Ronald Jones, but he’s more of a complimentary guy. This offense needs its version of David Johnson. The do it all, three down guy that can turn the tide with one play. The Bucs just don’t have that right now.
3.) Figure out how to keep players’ hamstrings intact. This team lost too many key players to hamstring injuries and it derailed them down the stretch. I know BA doesn’t want to waste his time with stretching and that the players need to do it on their own, so BA’s resolution needs to be finding some way to ensure the players are taking care of themselves properly so this doesn’t happen again.
2.) Re-sign Chris Godwin to an extension. I don’t care how, but figure it out. That dude can not leave.
1.) Find a quarterback that isn’t going to keep wasting the time of his teammates, coaches, or the fans. Someone that you don’t hold your breath every time he drops back because you know he’s just as likely to throw a touchdown as he is an interception. Someone that can lead this team to the postseason. Someone that doesn’t set a negative record in response to every positive record he sets. If that’s Jameis Winston and he actually figures out how to not screw up, great. If not, so be it. But this team is going to miss the postseason every year of Arians’ tenure at the rate things are going. For once, it’s not a coaching or coaching staff issue. It’s the person under center. Fix it and this team will win the NFC South.
Six Super Bowl Bets
Per usual, this was written prior to the completion of Sunday night football.
1.) Baltimore Ravens - Hands down, the team to beat
2.) New Orleans Saints - Boy...the referees sure have given them a lot of make up calls this season...
4.) Seattle Seahawks - Head to head, I believe they can beat San Francisco and Green Bay
5.) San Francisco 49ers - They’re legit - but can a rookie head coach win when it matters most?
21.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Disappointment followed by excitement followed by more disappointment. Or, y’know, the usual.