Woof. That was hideous. Everything about that game - including the result - will have fans cleaning their eyes out with Clorox eye drops. The Buccaneers fell to the Chicago Bears 20-19 on Thursday Night Football and it was a disaster all around.
From the offensive line, to the officiating, to Tom Brady forgetting what down it was in the closing minute, this is one Bucs fans will soon want to forget.
Let’s get into it, albeit an abbreviated version. Considering I do utilize things from around the NFL in this column I will drop another Pick Six on Monday to fully encapsulate the week five action.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Abolish Thursday Night Football. It’s the absolute worst. I mean, think about it - when was the last time you watched and thought, “Wow! That was a great game! I’m really glad I stayed up to watch!” The answer is never because it doesn’t happen. These players are coming in off a short week, banged up, with little time to prepare. It always ends up being a forgettable dumpster fire of a game. Yes, the NFL wants the money from ad revenue and to have all the eyes glued on them - but this is a sub-par product they put out week after week and it’s just not worth it.
2.) Officiating. Worse than the performances was the officiating. At one point, the Buccaneers had 40 yards of penalties on one drive (more on that later) and the refs single handedly shifted momentum in this game. The Bucs had the Bears at 3rd-and-12 late in the first half. Shaq Barrett gets flagged for offsides when Chicago’s right guard was the one that jumped and it should have been a false start. Now it’s 3rd-and-7 rather than 3rd-and-17. The Bears convert and end up scoring on the drive. Thirty seconds later they’re back in the end zone following a Ke’Shawn Vaughn fumble. and it’s 14-13 Bears in the blink of an eye. Then you had Brady get hit below the knees (no call) and Jaydon Mickens’ facemask get pulled (no call) but Shaq Barrett was flagged for roughing the passer on a clean hit of Foles, giving the Bears another first down on third and long. Oh, and we got our weekly Carlton Davis pass interference call - despite the ball being thrown ten yards short of the receiver and was without a doubt uncatchable. It was just flat out bad from the zebras in this one.
3.) Offensive Line. Good heavens, guys - get your heads in the freaking game. The offensive line was flagged more on Thursday night than I think they have been all season long. Yes, the flag on Ryan Jensen was a ticky-tack, bogus call. But the constant holdings, false starts, and allowing Khalil Mack to absolutely dominate anyone in front of him caused the offense to fall apart throughout the game. Brady had no time to throw and when he did, the passes were rushed because his internal clock was sped up due to being hit all night. For as well as they’ve played (overall) through the first four weeks, this offensive line looked as bad as it ever has. Inexcusable.
4.) Injuries. This team was already without Chris Godwin, LeSean McCoy, and Justin Watson. Leonard Fournette suited up in an “emergency, break the glass” situation and although Scotty Miller was on the field, he had zero targets. On top of all that, Vita Vea had to be carted off the field late in the fourth quarter when his ankle bent awkwardly underneath Devin White when the two converged on David Montgomery. They need these extra couple days to rest up and try to get better, but the injury bug is not being kind to the Bucs right now.
5.) Play calling. Another woof. For starters, I don’t understand the obsession with Tanner Hudson early in the game. He was being force fed the ball and it was failing. Brady finally hooked up with him for a third down conversion, but with Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate out there, why the focus on Hudson? Beyond that, the Bucs could have iced the game in the fourth but managed to run for a two yard loss then throw two incomplete passes, running only sixteen seconds off the clock. The Bears would go on to score a field goal on the ensuing drive and the rest is history. However, before I put the play calling topic to bed, what in the world is going on with this secondary? All of a sudden it’s ten yard cushions and allowing teams to dink and dunk up and down the field. Is Vernon Hargreaves back? Did Mike Smith take back the headset as defensive coordinator? It made no sense at all, especially on the last drive when they only needed twenty yards to get in field goal range. Big yikes.
6.) Ronald Jones. He ended up being the only back in the game for pretty much the whole second half and he continued to shine. For the third time in his career - and the second week in a row - RoJo had over 100 yards rushing. He was also robbed of a touchdown in the first quarter on a pass ruled incomplete (more officiating prowess) that he caught and rolled into the end zone with. However, since it was blown dead and ruled incomplete, they couldn’t allow the advancement of the ball. Mike Evans would score on the next play.
Six Numbers To Consider
34 - Bucs’ first quarter point differential this season - best in the NFL
6 - Touchdowns from Mike Evans through five games this season
0 - Points scored by the Bears in the third quarter this season
4 - Consecutive games with an interception by the Bucs’ defense
109 - Penalty yards by the Bucs in week five
25 - Jason Pierre-Paul’s sack total as a Buc, 11th most in franchise history
Six Best Tweets
Regardless of who wins, no one talk to me about this game ever again after tonight. It never happened.— Trev-Or-Treat (@TampaBayTre) October 9, 2020
What have we seen more of in this game?— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) October 9, 2020
A) Bad penalties.
B) Nick Foles missed throws
C) Tom Brady looking annoyed
D) AC/DC references
The officials have changed this game multiple times— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) October 9, 2020
Bucs defense was in a prime position to get off the field. Offsides called on Shaq when it should've been a false start then a missed holding the next play. All of a sudden, it's a one possession game pic.twitter.com/Y22oSX0F96— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) October 9, 2020
We went for 4th & 1 on our own 19.— Samer Ali (@TheSamerAli) October 9, 2020
We declined an opportunity to go for 4th & 1 on CHI 7yd line and put the nail in the coffin in the 4th qtr.
I can't get over that.
I’m so glad I tuned in to watch the officials tonight—the real stars of the league.— Jaime Eisner (@JaimeEisner) October 9, 2020