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Best and Worst from Week 9: From hunters to hunted, the Bucs were easy prey

It’s not easy getting to the top of the NFL, as the Bucs found out on the cusp of reaching the summit

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in some form for six years now. Not a long time compared to many, but long enough to have seen some sh—tuff. The performance, or lack thereof, we all witnessed in Week 9 against the New Orleans Saints is easily the worst performance as a whole I’ve ever seen this franchise put on film. It isn’t even close.

Not a whole lot of ‘best’ things to choose from, so as much as we celebrate nit-picking for negatives, we need to recognize digging deep for positives. Here goes nothing...

THE BEST

AT LEAST IT WASN’T THE KICKER...

You know it’s going to be good when we start by praising the kicker. And that’s probably unfair. No, it is unfair.

Ryan Succop hasn’t missed a kick since Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers, hasn’t missed an extra point and field goal in the same game this year, and in fact hasn’t missed more than one kick in any single game as a member of the Buccaneers.

His 88.9% made field goal percentage is the best Tampa Bay has seen in a long time and is on pace to be the second-most accurate season of his career.

So he deserves plenty of praise. You just hope he’s never the first one out of the blocks.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

IT’S ONLY ONE GAME

That’s right, we’re going there. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come out of this horrendous performance with a 6-3 record, fully in control of their own destiny still, and plenty of time to regain the momentum they had coming into this game.

Granted, it was speed bumped by the less than stellar win over the New York Giants a week ago, but this loss really sets them back in the hype department.

Silver lining, potentially, is that this team might grow together a bit better having some doubt hanging around. We’ve heard the stories during post-season play before. The tale of the ass-kicking that really solidified the unified effort in the locker room and is credited for getting the team to the top of the mountain.

This might be that game. Maybe.

Either way, there is no selection committee. Power Rankings don’t count, no matter how much someone yells about them. And you don’t get extra losses for blow out wins any more than you do extra wins for the other outcome.

It’s one game. One loss.

THERE’S ANOTHER GAME THIS COMING SUNDAY

No, seriously. As soon as the game ended, I know some thought the bye week can’t come soon enough. Well, I say I’m incredibly happy it isn’t coming in Week 10. Could you imagine taking a 38-3 flogging into the off week? Two weeks of, ‘What does it mean?’, ‘Where do they go now?’, ‘Did Tom Brady make a mistake?’, ‘Did the Bucs make a mistake?’, etc, etc, etc...

It would be a nightmare. For you, for us, for the players, coaches, all of us. Thank your lucky stars this team has a fresh opponent to focus on.

THE WORST

GAME PLANS

If you’ve read my work for any length of time, or heard me on the Locked On Bucs Podcast, then you know I try to stick to what I know for the most part. So things like laying blame at the feet of the coaches for what we see on the field is not really my thing.

However, when the game plan is as obviously flawed as it was on Sunday night, I’ll make an exception. Now I still don’t know what the game plan was to an intimate level, but whatever was in it that led to zero carries for Ronald Jones II once the Bucs fell behind 14-0, trash it. Trash it and don’t ever talk about it again.

Defensively, the idea any defense can not bring extra pressure - and no rushing four from a three man base front is not extra pressure - and expect to beat Drew Brees is unfathomable. Or it would be if I hadn’t witnessed it with my own two eyes.

On the rare occasion Todd Bowles did dial up a blitz against Brees, it worked about as much as you’d think it would. Some errant throws, off time offense, things happened which could have helped potential pull out a win. Too bad it happened after most of the television watching fan base had already gone to bed.

Truth be told, at the time of this writing I haven’t gotten to dive into the All-22 yet, but coach Arians has,

“Going back, we blitzed more than I even thought we did on the field – it’s whether it was blitz zone or blitz man [and] we went zero [coverage] a couple times. We got him off the spot, but Drew [Brees] did a great job last night of moving in the pocket and still being accurate. Guys were getting ready to hit him and he threw some really good balls down the field accurately. It was the best I’ve seen him play in a while. Defensively, our safeties and our inside linebackers did not play very well. There was really, really poor communication.”

HYPE

Again, if you know me, you know I love hype. I’m all about media getting excited - except for those who apparently got into sports writing because they’re NOT fans... - I’m all about fans getting excited even more!

The only ones who can’t buy into the hype are the guys on the field and in the coaching staff. Those guys have to have the mentality of killing what you eat while the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the kill being brought to us for the feasting.

Speaking of hunting metaphors. I love me some Devin White, so don’t make this more than it is. But you see the tweet. You know what those being hunted don’t typically do? They don’t typically wave for the attention of the hunters.

Now I’m not trying to squash anyone’s fire, but save the boastful tweets and videos for after you’ve come out of battle victorious. Once you’ve vanquished the hunters in lieu of becoming the easy meal yourself. Or don’t, but if you don’t deliver on the self-hyping, then you only have yourself to blame.

PRIMETIME WOES CONTINUE

It’s a week to week business in the NFL, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone not looking at the Buccaneers’ primetime history and linking it to what happened against the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.

Against the Giants, there was no energy. The team looked flat on the field and it damn near bit them in the end. Against the Saints, honestly, they looked almost scared. Like a prize fighter who didn’t really believe they belonged in the ring with the champ.

It looked as if the Bucs were waiting to feel the first blow from the Saints, and then planned on trying to come back and counter. Problem is, the champ didn’t throw one punch in the first exchange, they threw a combination of blows the team never came back from.

“Guys were pissed”, said defensive captain, Lavonte David. “You saw it on the sidelines, you see it today [and] you saw it after the game. Guys were pissed because we know we’re not that type of team, especially against a team who we obviously wanted to really beat. To go out there and put on a show like that on Sunday night – guys feel some type of way about it. All you can do is move on from it. It’ll show how we prevail from it this week. Like I said, we’re focusing on the Carolina Panthers right now. They’re a pretty good football team with some talented weapons. A lot of guys took it to heart yesterday. We came in today and the good thing about it is [I] didn’t have to go to [anybody]. Guys were coming to me [and saying], ‘That’s unacceptable. We can’t have [a] performance like that again. We have to do find a way to get better.’ That’s going to start this upcoming week and I’m really excited to get to work this week, move on from last week and get back going.”

Getting mad after the fact shows the team cares, but it doesn’t help fix the issue of this Buccaneers squad starting the game with a killer approach to playing their opponent, over a reactionary one.

Like David said, next week is another chance at getting it right.

Guess the real moral of the story is to take this week to week business, week to week. Don’t get too high or too low on any one performance. We can all learn the lesson as well as those strapping on headsets and pads.

On to Carolina in Week 10, where the Panthers will be waiting to throw another dance party in their home locker room, if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t come out better than they did in Week 9.

Poll

Which part was THE Best part of Week 9?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Ryan Succop’s Continued Success
    (56 votes)
  • 18%
    It’s Only One Game
    (43 votes)
  • 3%
    Another Game to Focus On
    (9 votes)
  • 53%
    Nice Try. None of the Above
    (123 votes)
231 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which part was THE Worst part of Week 9?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Game Plans
    (98 votes)
  • 7%
    Hype Without Substance
    (16 votes)
  • 3%
    Primetime Disasters
    (7 votes)
  • 44%
    All of the Above
    (96 votes)
217 votes total Vote Now