The Buccaneers took another step back on Sunday, losing to the 49ers 35-7 in a game that was not very competitive from the start. It seems to always be one step forward, two steps bac for this team this season and they are now 6-7, still fighting for the division crown.
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 shock for the bay areas
“The Bucs offense has not been what anyone has imagined it would be in 2023. I, for one, have been particular hard on them pointing out Tom Brady’s flaws this season as well as the inconsistencies across the rest of the offensive side of the ball. Going up against the league’s best defense this Sunday in the 49ers, it’s easy to say the Buccaneers will be unable to move the football. I’m flipping the script this week. The Bucs will surprise not only the San Francisco bay area but also the Tampa Bay area when Brady throws for two touchdowns and Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White add one score each on the ground for the Bucs’ first 30-plus-point game since Week 4.”
Gil’s optimism for the offense here was a bad decision as none of the Buccaneers offense worked well on Sunday. They could only come up with a single touchdown and by then, the game was already decided. The offense didn’t look lost on Sunday, they just got outmatched and got beatdown. Simple as that.
James Yarcho: Devin White Dominates
“Devin White has stepped up quite a bit over the last few weeks and that won’t change this week. It’s been since 2018 that Christian McCaffrey rushed for over 100 yards and that was also the last time he had over 100 total yards against the Buccaneers’ defense. In fact, many of you will remember the “Mic’d Up” clip from 2020 when McCaffrey told White he was the best linebacker in the league. White will play a pivotal role in containing McCaffrey who will finish with under 50 total yards in this one while also getting at least one takeaway from quarterback Brock Purdy.”
Like the offense, the defense also did not have its finest day and that includes Devin White. He only finished with five tackles and he did not force a takeaway. The defense has a whole also did not do a good job of containing McCaffrey, as he 119 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. The defense will want to bounce back against the red hot Bengals this Sunday.
Mike Kiwak: Back below .500
“I can’t share Gil’s enthusiasm for a large scoring output. The 49ers defense is dominant, and while every team has off days, the Bucs offense has seen many more of those than this San Fran unit. Could it be close? Absolutely, Tampa’s defense is very good in its own right and they’re playing a rookie seventh round pick, and Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. Unfortunately, secondary injuries are going to make facing San Francisco’s YAC gods very difficult. I predict Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk both cross 75+ yards from scrimmage and score to outperform Chris Godwin’s six-catch, 100-yard day in a 21-17 loss for the Bucs.”
Even though he did not have the final score correct, Mike was correct to not have the same level of optimism around the offense as Gil did. Samuel left the game early with an injury and while Aiyuk only had two catches, one of them was for a score. The Bucs secondary was tested multiple times in San Francisco and failed each time.
Will Walsh: Bowles author’s the ‘How to make Purdy ugly’ guide.
“Two weeks ago when this game was on the schedule the headlines would have been mentor vs. mentee, with Tom Brady pitted against his former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo. The cast has been altered, the script has being rewritten, and now the pressure releases off the quarterback matchup and rests on the shoulders of Todd Bowles. Bowles is going to match wits with one of the best offensive minds in football, but Kyle Shanahan is at a huge disadvantage. One of the 49ers biggest chess pieces has been taken off the board. In his place is a rookie in his first career start, who was just a few mere minutes away from not even being drafted. Bowles has to show his worth as a defensive strategist in a game like this. The Bucs defense needs two turnovers, three sacks, and to get off the field on third downs to give Tampa a chance in this game.”
Bowles got outcoached by Kyle Shanahan and his defense got outplayed. The 49ers were able to do pretty much whatever they wanted without much resistance from Tampa Bay. They did force a turnover and actually forced another later in the game that was called back by a penalty, but they did not record a single sack and when a defense can’t get pressure against one of the best offensive schemes out there, it isn’t going to be pretty.
Chris Weingarten: Close, but no cigar
“Winning and losing in the NFL usually comes down to which quarterback played the best on that day. Tom Brady has won the majority of games he has played in his 23-year career because he was the best quarterback on the field. This year has been different though. So far, the Bucs have lost to Kenny Pickett/Mitch Trubisky, P.J. Walker, and Jacoby Brissett. I don’t see Brock Purdy outplaying Tom Brady, but I do think the 49ers defense will shut down the Bucs offense. The 49ers run the ball effectively, control the clock, and win a nailbiter, 10-9.”
Unfortunately, Purdy did end up outplaying Brady as he was the one who looked like the poised veteran dissecting the defense. Brady was under duress and uncomfortable for a lot of the contest. The Niners ran the ball well, but they also were able to throw it all over the lot which made it a long day for the defense while the offense struggled against an elite defense.
James Hill: The Bucs Defense FINALLY gets some takeaways
“The 49ers are one of the toughest teams the Bucs have faced all season with the best defense in the league and an offense that boasts weapons like Christian McCaffrey and Debo Samuel. However, their starting QB is now seventh round pick Brock Purdy after Trey Lance suffered a season ending injury later in the season, and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending injury last week. Because of this, I think that this week the Bucs will finally be able to shake the lack of takeaways they’ve had on defense in recent week and will be able to force Purdy to make some mistakes. I think the Buccaneers will finish with at least two takeways on the game and stay competitive against a really good 49ers team.”
James was sooo close to part of his prediction. The Bucs nearly did get two takeaways, the first being a fumble by Deebo Samuel and the second being an interception by Anthony Nelson that was called off due to a penalty, which was a very questionable call. Despite almost having two takeaways, they were still unable to stay competitive in this game.
The Bucs now face the Bengals in Tampa and while they still do fully control their own destiny, things are not looking good for this team right now. Everything seems to be so difficult on offense and now the injuries are starting to catch up to the defense. Hopefully they can put that behind them and get a big win in front of the home crowd this Sunday.