Another prime time game, another epic failure. The Buccaneers lost to the Rams 27-24 on Monday Night Football thanks to a combination of inept offense, unwillingness to adjust on defense, and the leg of their former kicker.
Things were looking good for the Bucs after falling behind 7-0. Mike Evans had an outstanding touchdown catch where he fought through two players trying to tackle him on two occasions followed by a Leonard Fournette touchdown run to put them up 14-7. But it was Jared Goff’s night as he easily picked apart the Bucs defense down the stretch, putting the Rams in field goal range with under three minutes left. Matt Gay came through and the Bucs fail on a national stage for the third time this season.
Let’s pick six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) The Bucs beat themselves over and over. This was a beatable Rams team. Yet, for some reason, Todd Bowles refused to switch out of zone coverage that allowed Goff to pick the defense apart all night. Cooper Kupp had over 100 yards receiving in the first half and both he and Robert Woods would finish with over ten receptions apiece and a combined 275 receiving yards. On offense, the Bucs appeared to have no clue what they were doing. The running backs couldn’t catch the ball, they all but abandoned the run (again) and Tom Brady looked pedestrian at best - but more on him in a moment. Despite only allowing 37 rushing yards, the Bucs were outgained 413-251 in total offense. At home. On prime time. Play calling and execution were both inexcusable and it doesn’t appear this team has any clue how to win when all eyes are on them.
2.) Brady is not beyond criticism. Brady looked absolutely terrible. He was missing open receivers, forcing bad passes - two that resulted in interceptions, one of which sealed the game - and overall looked lost. That’s not the Tom Brady the Bucs expected to sign. He’s been good most of the season but in these prime time games - the games where Brady became the most feared and most accomplished quarterback in NFL history - he looks just as lost and inaffective as everyone around him. Wasn’t Brady supposed to elevate those around him? Instead, they all seem to spiral out of control together. Which, hey - at least they’re doing something as a team in prime time games. And no, this doesn’t mean Brady is “washed” which I’ve already seen thrown around on Twitter. The whole team being terrible as a collective does not result in Tom Brady being “washed” so stop with that. It’s dumb, it’s lazy, and it’s flat out not true.
3.) Matt Gay revenge game. He missed a 44-yard kick early on, but when it mattered most, former Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay delivered to beat the Bucs. Yes, even with as great of a season as Ryan Succop is having, Matt Gay is still costing the Buccaneers wins. Just another kick in the gut to Bucs fans.
4.) Time to talk overrated? Have the Buccaneers reached a point where we have to say, collectively, that this team is overrated and not anywhere close to where we expected them to be by this point in the season? The term “dream team” was thrown around a lot leading up to the 2020 season and it seems to be imploding the same way it did for the Philadelphia Eagles “dream team” all those years ago. I’m not quite there yet because I do recognize all the talent on this team, but they have to win the big, important games. They played on the national stage four times this year, five if you include FOX’s “Game Of The Week” against the Saints in week one. In those games, the Bucs are 1-4. They’re beating teams they’re supposed to beat but losing to teams they shouldn’t and there’s one common denominator. How can anyone expect the Bucs to win a postseason game or a Super Bowl if they can’t even beat the Bears or Rams in prime time in very winnable games? Right now, you can’t. Bouncing back against Kansas City on Sunday could go a long way for the psyche of the fans and the team, but if they play defense like they did on Monday Night, it could be a long day against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
5.) Running Back overcrowding. Look, I was all about Leonard Fournette coming in. I thought he’d be a great compliment to Ronald Jones. Instead, Fournette is getting far too many opportunities especially after failing in the ones he’s had. Fournette had three crucial drops in the game Monday. If RoJo did that, he would have been benched. Instead, Fournette continued to get chance after chance as RoJo sat on the bench. You have a top five running back in yards and he gets ten carries and one target? Fournette finished with seven carries, four targets, and only one catch. Why is Bruce Arians so hell bent on keeping Fournette in the game when he isn’t producing? We know RoJo can, we’ve seen it all year long? And if you’re going to have Fournette in on all the passing downs despite his propensity to drop passes, why is LeSean McCoy even here? None of it makes sense and the more the Bucs screw it up, the more they lose games. RoJo is the guy. Treat him that way.
6.) Not much turnaround. The Bucs now play the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs in just five days. For a team that was 7-3 and still had an outside chance of winning the division with the loss of Drew Brees in New Orleans, they could potentially drop to 7-5 by this time next week. That’s a huge blow. They absolutely can not afford to lose to Kansas City and, at this point, I have no idea what they can do to win that game. The game plans being drawn up are not good and then there haven’t been enough in game adjustments to overcome slow starts. The offense has looked mediocre, the defense has looked beyond beatable and you have one of the most high powered offenses in recent memory coming into your house on Sunday. This could get real ugly, real fast...
Six Numbers To Consider
1 - NFL receiver to get a touchdown in his first five Monday Night games - Mike Evans
11 - Interceptions by Tom Brady this season, more than all of 2019
2 - Consecutive weeks with an interceptions by Jason Pierre-Paul
0 - Sacks by the Bucs against the Rams - who were missing their starting left tackle
51 - Pass attempts by Jared Goff, most ever on Monday Night Football
126 - Tackles for loss by Lavonte David, second only to J.J. Watt in the NFL since 2012
Six Best Tweets
Brady throws a bad pick and everyone calls Him washed. Time honored tradition.— Ian Glendon (@iglen31) November 24, 2020
Robert Woods: 12 REC, 130 YDS, 1 TD— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 24, 2020
Cooper Kupp: 11 REC, 145 YDS
The WR duo are the first two Rams players with 10+ receptions in the same game in franchise history #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/b1F9YfIeEM
Bear in mind, this team had the “greatest show on turf” with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce...
Bucs losing their chance to play the NFC East in the playoffs..— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) November 24, 2020
Thanksgiving Time Is Here
Time to talk about something fun - and that’s Thanksgiving dinner! Now, 2020 is still stupid and many of us aren’t able to celebrate in the ways we’ve become accustomed to. Many are not getting together with family, friends, loved ones in hopes that things take a turn for the better sooner than later. All that said, it’s time to discuss the best meal of the year. This year I’m doing it a little different and I’m excluding turkey from consideration for the best parts of Thanksgiving. We get it - it’s turkey day. Let’s turn the focus to the other great things about the day - and yes, that includes food.
6.) Pie - I’m not a pumpkin pie guy. I go with pecan or apple, but pie is one of the best parts of the meal. It’s as if we stuff ourselves silly only to see an additional stomach emerge for the soul purposes of gorging on sweets.
5.) The Sales - With the 2020 landscape being what it is, Black Friday shopping will be drastically different than in years past. Yes, online sales have become a huge thing but it will spike this year unlike any other. Sitting around browsing the deals while stuffing our faces with food all day sounds absolutely fantastic.
4.) Sweet Potato Casserole - Some like it with marshmallows, I go with a brown sugar and pecan crust. Either way, sweet potatoes are a must on Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes are great, but we eat them on a regular basis with a variety of meals. It’s not often you get something as great as a delicious sweet potato casserole or soufflé.
3.) Christmas Decorating - I’m a big “no decorations until after Thanksgiving” guy, but as soon as the meal is done, bust out the tree and decorations. Let’s get the house lit like Clark Griswold and dive head first into the season. Especially after that Bucs loss - nothing can turn a frown upside down like putting on a Christmas movie marathon and decorating the house. If Christmas isn’t your thing, just enjoy kicking back and spending time with the family you do get to share Thanksgiving with. Either way, it’s a win.
2.) Stuffing - The best of the Thanksgiving sides. And get that Stove Top nonsense out of here. I like Stove Top as much as the next person but on Turkey Day, you have to go all out. Dice the onions and celery, cook up some sage sausage, chop some walnuts and go to town. I’ll be eating stuffing with my meals every day until every drop is gone - then I might make another batch.
1.) Football With No Emotional Attachment - Only once have we had to endure a Buccaneers game on Thanksgiving and that didn’t exactly go well. Now, we get football all day long and no emotional investment in the teams playing. Yeah, there may be some fantasy implications for you, but your holiday isn’t going to hinge on the success or failure of your team. Just kick back and enjoy the games and hope that Creed isn’t performing at halftime of one of the games again.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Stay unbeaten and there may not be a team on their schedule to stop that
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - Patrick Mahomes is just so stinking good
3.) New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, doesn’t matter. Saints stay winning
4.) Indianapolis Colts - That defense is for real
5.) Green Bay Packers - Allen Lazard is back which makes that offense all the more dangerous
9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gotta prove you can win the big match-ups
Six Final Words
Five Days To Get Things Right