The Buccaneers fell to the Cleveland Browns in disappointing fashion as they let one slip away due to execution and coaching errors. Instead of being in the driver’s seat for the division, they lost 23-17 in overtime and now sit at 5-6 and their playoff hopes remain uncertain.
Each week, we are going to be analyzing each prediction and see if it was on the money or off the mark. Let’s get into it.
Gil Arcia: A Tom Brady of old sighting
“The previous two games have shown promise of what the offense can bring to the table in these final seven games. With Brady looking downfield more and not quickly throwing it to an underneath receiver (or behind the line of scrimmage for that matter), that all has built up to what could finally be the offensive production we’ve been used to the past two seasons. The future Hall of Famer will throw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in Cleveland.”
Brady’s day was kind of a weird one. He had three good quarters and then like the rest of the offense, could not get anything done in the fourth quarter and overtime. Brady had two touchdowns and 246 yards. At one point Brady was 20-24 in the game, but finished 29-43. That is nine completions and 19 incompletions to finish the game, just simply not good enough. Gil’s faith in Brady this week was certainly off, even if it was not the worst day for the goat.
James Yarcho: Defense Gets It Done
“There’s no doubt Nick Chubb is a weapon and the Cleveland offense goes through him. However, the Bucs have allowed just 107 rushing yards in the last two games combined as the defense has begun to clamp down. An early lead forces the Browns to rely on Jacoby Brissett to throw the ball and it turns into opportunity for Tampa Bay. Give me three takeaways and a score by the Bucs defense in Cleveland.”
The Bucs defense did their job on Sunday, giving the offense multiple chances to put the game away but they got wore down and Cleveland made them pay. Chubb had 116 yards rushing as well as the game winning score in overtime. The defense did have a takeaway, but it was on a hail mary before the first half ended. The defense has been good this season, but something they have been awful at lately is taking the ball away. Tampa Bay’s unit must be able to do that to help the offense out even more with some short fields.
Evan Wanish: The Brady and Evans show in Cleveland
“The Browns are 3-7 and one of the biggest reasons is their defense. Their unit has not been good or consistent this year. They have allowed 30+ points in half of their games so far this season. On Sunday, the Bucs will find ways to get Mike Evans the football as Tom Brady finds him for not one, but two touchdowns.”
I was off on this one and the other thing that is off is the Tom Brady to Mike Evans connection. Evans did not have a target for a long time in the game and then when he did, he was called for offensive pass interference. There were multiple deep balls as well missed including one late in the game where the ball was maybe slightly off, but it sure looked like Evans could have had a shot at it but did not reach out for it. Something is off with this duo and the Bucs offense is hurting because of it.
Mike Kiwak: Rachaad rocks Cleveland
“I’m still not sold that the Bucs have fully corrected their most pressing issues, but they are headed in the right direction thanks to a more efficient offensive balance. Coming off a bye, I expect a full week of installing Rachaad White as the lead running back, given his excellent performance against Seattle and Leonard Fournette’s lingering hip issue, will lead to more fireworks against one of the worst run defenses in football. I have White down for another 100-yard rushing performance with a score.”
Mike was not sold and well... he was right. Rachaad White came out of the gates strong with a 35 yard run on the opening drive but after that was very quiet on the ground, ending up with 64 yards on 14 carries. He was a factor in the passing game, but the Bucs run game still leaves a lot to be desired.
Will Walsh: Bucs pull out a close one
“Last time Tampa squared off against Jacoby Brissett the Bucs won 45-17. This was back in 2021 when the fill-in quarterback was a Dolphin, despite a blowout loss Brissett didn’t play poorly in that game. On a losing team, in 2022 Brissett is once again a fill-in quarterback and again, he hasn’t played poorly. The Browns overall record is not directly at the feet of their stand-in passer. This week Jacoby Brissett will do just enough to keep the Browns in the game until the fourth quarter. The Bucs will need good performances by Ryan Succop and their offensive line to scratch out a gritty victory and advance to 6-5.”
Brissett kind of did the opposite of Will’s prediction here. Brissett was ok in the first three quarters, but the entire Browns offense turned it on once the final quarter began. The Bucs let this one slip and the frustration will continue for this offense.
Chris Weingarten: Picking up the slack
“Vita Vea’s foot injury is a big deal for the Buccaneers. He has consistently played at a high level his entire career and adds so much more to the defense than the stat sheet shows. At best, he will be limited this week, which means it’s time for other players to step up. I’m looking for the combined efforts of Rakeem Nunez-Roches, and Logan Hall (possibly Deadrin Senat as well) to hold the Brown’s potent rushing attack under 100 yards, and help the Bucs pull out a 23-16 victory in Cleveland.”
The shame of it is that Chris almost has the exact right score, just not the right team winning. Vita Vea was able to suit up and play on Sunday and he made an impact, but it was not enough. Nacho flashed at times and even ended up with a sack. Logan Hall came up with a half sack as well in this one. Those players were productive for Tampa Bay in Cleveland.
At 5-6, it is essentially put up or shut up time for this team. They now face a New Orleans team that while they have struggled, still give the Bucs serious issues despite the Bucs beating them in week two. That game is about as close of a much win as it can get if Tampa Bay plans on making the playoffs. Time will tell if they can go on a run, but the clock is ticking.