It’s not the way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted things to go, and it certainly doesn’t help in the hunt for a playoff spot as the Kansas City Chiefs are up next following a Monday Night Football loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Bucs could have won their Week 11 match-up. It’s clear to anyone who watched the game. Execution flaws and game plan deficiencies all combined at the wrong times to send Tampa Bay to their fourth loss of the season.
However bad it is to see a team lose a game they could have won just as easily, it wasn’t all bad. Of course, there wasn’t much good either.
WIDE RECEIVER TOUGHNESS
If the Bucs had won this game there are two highlights which would be running on every sports network for the rest of the week. Perhaps they are anyway, because they were that good.
The first, a nine-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Mike Evans who caught the ball and proceeded to pull two Rams defenders with him from the seven-yard line to the end zone.
Then, with his team down a touchdown in the later moments of the game, fellow receiver Chris Godwin showed his own brand of determination. Where Evans plowed through the defense, Godwin flew above it, on the way to his own touchdown and a tie game for the Buccaneers.
STILL DOWN WITH JPP
If ever there were a patchless captain for this Buccaneers defense, it would be Jason Pierre-Paul. The veteran has hit hurdle after hurdle in his path to NFL stardom and just keeps on coming up with big plays.
His interception of Jared Goff on the Rams’ first possession of the second-half came at a critical part of the game, and allowed Brady and the offense a golden opportunity to take the lead.
The Bucs only tied the game after getting the ball on the Los Angeles 37, but momentum had turned for the moment thanks to JPP’s continued ability to come up with big plays for his team at critical times.
NO MORE PRIME TIME GAMES...YET
Look, I’d love to add a third best here, I really would. Ryan Succop didn’t miss any kicks, but it hardly seems as big as the fact the Bucs currently have no prime time games remaining in the season.
I know, they’ll have plenty if they make it to the playoffs, and could even have a late season match-up flexed there if the NFL deems it necessary. So, we’re not out of the woods yet.
But when you’re running from the hatchet wielding serial killer and escape for even a moment, it’s ok to take a second and breath before again turning in terror as the antagonist arrives to finish you off.
RUNNING ON FUMES
There are some running backs in the NFL who just come out running hot. Then there are the other 98% of them who need some reps to get going.
What the Buccaneers did on Monday night to starting running back Ronald Jones II was the player equivalent to priming a lawn mower once every minute expecting it to run at peak performance. I think, anyway. I’m not a lawn mower expert to be honest.
Jones got seven carries in the first half and the Bucs went into halftime down three after stalling on their own attempt to score on the low side of the two-minute warning. Then, in the second-half, he got three carries. Cool.
This was the league’s third-leading rusher entering Week 11, and somehow he’s still in the Top-5 afterwards. It’s almost like Byron Leftwich gets a kickback if Jones doesn’t hit 1,000-yards rushing before December.
TACKLER, BUT I HARDLY KNOW HER
It seemed like the Buccaneers couldn’t buy a clean tackle if the Glazers opened unlimited access to their bank accounts. Even the secret ones.
For all of Week 11, there was only one defender credited with three missed tackles. It was Kansas City Chiefs rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr. Good news for the Bucs next week perhaps.
However, coming in tied for second were seventeen other players with two missed tackles. Four of them are Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Tuesday’s episode of the Locked On Bucs Podcast I mentioned the poor tackling of cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting specifically. According to PFF, he only missed one, so perhaps I owe him an apology. I’ll have to re-watch the game to know for sure.
In total, the Buccaneers defense missed twelve tackles in all, easily surpassing the previous season high of seven.
If you’re going to win against the Los Angeles Rams you have to keep their defense from being aggressive and force Jared Goff to make uncomfortable decisions. Neither happened, at least not enough.
At times, the Bucs had some good things going. Near the end of the first half they got the ball to Antonio Brown on four straight plays and gained 25-yards to midfield before the two-minute warning. Then, three straight passes without a glimpse of Brown in the plans. Why continue a good thing when you have it?
When you purposefully go against your own strengths, you do the enemies job for them. The Bucs did just that on Monday night at critical points in the game. Not just on offense, but on defense too.
What was the BEST part of Week 11?
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End of Prime Time (Kind of)
What was the WORST part of Week 11?
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