On the opening play of the game, Bucs safety Keanu Neal sacked San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy on what looked to be a textbook tackle. Unfortunately, in today’s NFL looks can be deceiving. Neal was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer, and the tone of the game was set. San Francisco marched down the field in five plays, covering 67 yards, to score the game’s first touchdown. The 49ers would score four more touchdowns on the day, in cruising to a 35-7 demolition of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, in his first NFL start, threw for 185 yards, two touchdowns, and added a rushing touchdown in a stellar performance. Running back Christian McCaffery ran for 119 yards and scored one touchdown on the ground. He also added 34 yards receiving and scored a touchdown on a beautiful sideline catch. For the game, the 49ers ran for 209 yards, and scored three rushing touchdowns, as they dominated the lifeless Buccaneer defense.
This game was never in doubt as San Francisco scored five touchdowns on their first seven drives to take a 35-0 lead with 14 minutes left in the third quarter. The expectation going into the game, was that Bucs coach Todd Bowles would confuse, and pressure Purdy into making numerous mistakes, forcing turnovers, and keeping the game close. None of those things materialized, as the Bucs did not record a sack on the day, and only forced one turnover that did not result in any points for the offense.
Safety Logan Ryan led the Bucs with nine tackles but was beat badly by McCaffery on his receiving touchdown that put the 49ers ahead 21-0. Lineman Anthony Nelson was active, recording seven tackles, forcing a fumble, and had a would-be interception if not for one of the Bucs eight penalties on the day. The injury to Vita Vea on the opening drive, as well as playing without safeties Antoine Winfield, and Mike Edwards, proved too much adversity for the defense to overcome.
The Buccaneer offense continued its season long putrid play. The first eight drives of the game consisted of a missed field goal, three punts, a loss of possession on downs (in the red zone), a kneel down, and two interceptions. Tom Brady did hit Mike Evans for a 68-yard touchdown that would have tied the game in the first quarter, but it was nullified by another Donovan Smith holding penalty. Truth be told, Smith could be called for holding on almost every play because he continues to put his hands outside of the defender's shoulders. Keeping your hands inside, and on the chest of the defender, is the first rule any offensive lineman is taught. I’m completely flabbergasted how he continues to do this on a regular basis.
Brady threw for 253 yards, on 55 attempts, with a touchdown, and two interceptions. He wasn’t sacked, but was constantly hurried, which forced multiple missed throws. The season long injuries to the offensive line, and receiving core, have undoubtedly disrupted the timing of what was one of the best offenses in the league. The lack of competition at practice, the total reliance on Brady to play perfectly, and the failure of Byron Leftwich to make any meaningful adjustments, have led this offense into being one of the worst in the league.
Rachaad White rushed for 56 of the team’s 69 total rushing yards on the day. This performance further cements their league worst ranking in total yards rushing. Leonard Fournette led the Bucs with six receptions for 33 yards. Chris Godwin added five catches for 54 yards, and Julio Jones also had five catches for 38 yards. The only touchdown for the Bucs was scored by Russell Gage on a crazy bounce off Godwin’s chest, for an eight-yard reception that closed out the scoring for the day.
Rookie punter Jake Camarda had a 61-yard punt but finished the game with a net average of 38.3 yards on three punts. Kicker Ryan Succop made his only kick of the day, and new return man Deven Thompkins had a nice 54-yard kick return. Special teams did not play a factor in this game, as San Francisco dominated from start to finish on offense and defense.
The Buccaneers are who we thought they are. A middle of the road team, that is not talented enough to overcome their mistakes. They lack passion, and explosiveness, play with horrible technique on both offense and defense, and seem to be just going through the motions. On a personal level, losing football games does not bother me, but a lack of competitiveness does. It is extremely frustrating to watch this team week in and week out, muddle their way through football games. Sadly, I don’t expect things to change until changes are made to the coaching staff, as well as the roster.
The Cincinnati Bengals come to Raymond James Stadium next Sunday for a 4:25 PM ET kickoff which will be broadcast on CBS.