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Yarcho’s Pick Six: Bucs Embarrassed On Sunday Night

The Buccaneers turned in one of the worst performances of the last ten years against the Saints on Sunday

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

Wow. That was just inexplicably awful. No excuses, no silver linings. Just embarrassingly, disgustingly, inexcusably awful.

The Bucs lost to the Saints under the bright lights of prime time 38-3 as their prime time struggles continue. Let’s just get right to it.

Six Topics Suitable For Conversation

1.) Can’t afford to do this again. For a team with this much firepower on offense there’s absolutely no reason for them to come out of a game with just three points, especially against a division rival. The talk heading into this one was that the Bucs were clicking, the Saints’ secondary was vulnerable, and the week one loss was a big motivating factor for the Bucs to come away victorious. All the experts at ESPN, NFL Network, and NBC picked the Bucs. Instead, the Bucs had three-and-outs on their first four possessions and an interception on their fifth. By then, the game was already over. There wasn’t a single thing the Bucs did right while the Saints did virtually no wrong. It was the perfect storm of disaster that is going to leave a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths for quite a while.

2.) That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. I’ve seen way too many people on social media already calling for the season to be over, the Bucs to finish at 7-9, the Bucs to miss the playoffs entirely, etc. They’ve had a sub-par game and an awful game in back to back weeks but that doesn’t mean the sky is falling. Maybe it’s because the Tampa fan base is snake bit from too many years of heartbreak, but fans slam that panic button way too fast. We saw it with the Lightning and Rays and now it’s spilling over to the Bucs. Relax. This game sucked, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good football team or that they’re headed for a downward spiral to .500 or worse. The offensive line was bad and clearly missed Marpet. The defense couldn’t get out of their own way. It was a bad game, but one game does not a season make. A win next week puts them at 7-3 and everything is jolly again. And heck - if the Saints win the division and the Bucs are the fifth seed guess what? That means the Bucs get the winner of the NFC East and that might as well be a free pass to the next round.

3.) Run the ball. All this complaining, all this crying over running the ball on first down or how the analytics say the Bucs should pass more and run less. How did that work out last night? Of those first four drives that all ended in three-and-outs, the Bucs passed the ball on first down every time. Brady was 0-4. The Bucs ran the ball four times all game. Four. Tell me more about how dumb it is to run the ball because of analytics. Please.

4.) Sean Payton has the Bucs’ number. I can’t stand the guy. He’s the absolute worst. But, in the words of Pedro Martinez, it’s time to tip our cap and call Payton the Buccaneers’ daddy. It seems like no matter the odds, no matter the circumstances, this guy just can not lose to the Bucs. Could be recency bias, but still - the Bucs just don’t have the answer for anything he throws at them, including “Diet Tebow” Taysom Hill who could do no wrong on Sunday. It’s beyond frustrating and makes the loss even worse. You almost hope they meet in January so the Bucs can exorcise their demons in the most meaningful way possible. Then again, you fear that the result will just be the same in spite of the Saints’ postseason woes. Ugh.

5.) Prime Time is the wrong time. I brought it up last week and it continues to be an issue. Jenna Laine of ESPN even asked Bruce Arians about it in his post game presser and BA said the team talked about it in the locker room, but the Buccaneers just seem completely lost in prime time games. They lose to the Bears, barely beat the Giants, then get their doors blown off against the Saints. That certainly doesn’t bode well for the postseason if they can’t get it together under regular season bright lights. They get one more crack at it - barring any flex scheduling - when they take on the Rams on Monday night in a few weeks. Something about that time slot turns the Buccaneers’ stars into disasters. And I’m not sure there is a way to fix that.

6.) Taking a look at history. I’ll throw out one tiny shred, one miniscule morsel of silver lining. The Bucs had their first 6-2 start since 2002, the Super Bowl season. In that season, the Bucs went 12-4 and two of those four losses were to the - you guessed it - New Orleans Saints. Now, this obviously isn’t an apples to apples comparison, but you get the idea. The Bucs struggled against one division opponent then were fine the rest of the year. The biggest difference is that Saints team was terrible and didn’t have a chance at making the playoffs. This one might pop back up on the schedule in a few months.

Six Numbers To Consider

35 - Margin of victory for the Saints, the worst loss in Tom Brady’s career

5 - Total rushing attempts by the Bucs, including the kneel down. NFL record for fewest in a game

16 - Fumble recoveries by Lavonte David, the most by any player in the NFL since 2012

3 - Receptions by Antonio Brown in his Bucs debut, all going for first downs

7 - Forced fumbles by Shaq Barrett as a Buc, the third most in the NFL since 2019

36 - Percent probability the Bucs will win the NFC South following their loss to New Orleans

Six Best Tweets

Six Super Bowl Bets

1.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Really thought they were gonna blow that one to Dallas but alas - they’re 8-0

2.) Kansas City Chiefs - *Dory from “Finding Nemo’ voice* - Just keep winning, just keep winning...

3.) New Orleans Saints - They showed that they are all the way back last night

4.) Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers continues to bludgeon opponents

5.) Buffalo Bills - Time to show them the respect they’ve earned

8.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Big fall in my rankings, but the season is far from over

Six Final Words

Too Good To Suck That Bad