In this edition of “everything that can go wrong, will,” the Buccaneer fell to the now 3-6 Washington Football Team 29-19 at FedEx Field. For the Bucs, it was not only one of their worst performances in the last two seasons but it comes off of a bye week and against the worst pass defense in the NFL.
Tom Brady threw two first quarter interceptions - having not thrown any first quarter picks in his last 25 games - that started things off on the wrong foot for the Bucs. Of course, it was a pretty bad omen when we heard for the last two weeks that the Bucs had to stop beating themselves with penalties then O.J. Howard had a false start on the very first play of the game.
The Buccaneers ended up with six penalties for 43 yards and the two turnovers while only taking the ball away from Washington once - a second half forced fumble by Lavonte David.
Taylor Heinicke outplayed Tom Brady, 26-of-32 for 256 yards and a touchdown while Brady was 23-of-34 for 220 yards, two touchdowns, and the two interceptions.
A 40-yard strike from Brady to Mike Evans got the Buccaneers within four - after Ryan Succop missed the extra point - with 10:55 to play. The Washington Football Team would then orchestrate a 19-play drive, culminating in an Antonio Gibson rushing touchdown, that took 10:26 off the clock. Washington, who had the NFL’s worst third down conversion rate, went 11-of-19 on third downs Sunday including 4-of-5 on that final drive. Gibson’s one yard touchdown came on fourth down.
As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, Bucs’ defensive tackle Vita Vea was carted off the field following that fourth down run by Gibson. Vea has been one of the best defensive players in the NFL this season and is now looking at missed time with another injury - something the Buccaneers defense can not afford. No word yet as to what the injury is, but Vea did not appear to be in good spirits when leaving the field.
The Buccaneers now fall to 6-3 with a prime time game against the New York Giants next week. As we’ve said all year, they have a lot of things to figure out between now and then. Time is no longer on the side of the Bucs to get things straightened out on both sides of the ball. One thing is certain; this is not a contending team the way they’ve played through the 2021 season. After the Giants, they’ll face the Colts, Saints, and Bills within a four week stretch. If they don’t have things figured out by then, the Saints could sneak past them for the division lead leaving Buccaneers fans dejected and confused.