Welp, at least it was fun for a little bit right? The Buccaneers lost their second consecutive game, this time coming at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 34-23. This came after the Bucs were up 17-0 late in the 2nd quarter before the Bengals managed 34 unanswered points.
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: The offensive blackhole gets bigger
“Last week I tried to be the glass is half full kind of guy with saying the Bucs will score over 30 points in an attempt to be positive for once this season. Clearly that wasn’t the case, or even remotely close to it. It’s time to accept who and what this team is, and that is a bad one with an even worse offense. This week the Buccaneers once again face a tough defense in the Bengals. Cincy is tops in the league in completion percentage given up to an opposing quarterback and fewest touchdown passes given up but are one of the worst in the league in getting to the quarterback. On Sunday, the Bengals will continue to make Tom Brady and the offense miserable as they sack Brady four times, and limit the Tampa Bay offense to under 300 total yards.”
It was truly the tale of two halves for the Bucs on Sunday, as in the first half the offense looked unrecognizable. Play action, motion, first-down throws to stay on schedule...no matter what it was, it worked for Tampa Bay, which partially led to the offense having almost 400 yards. Gil’s prediction was not on the money as the Bucs did have success and they did a decent job of protecting Brady but again, that all pretty much happened in the first half. The second half, more specifically the third quarter, reminded everyone what this team actually is, which unfortunately is not good enough.
James Yarcho: Godwin Gets The Offense Moving
“The Cincinnati Bengals are an incredible team right now and are definitely the better team heading into this weekend. However, one of their lone weaknesses is starting cornerback Eli Apple. I get the feeling Apple will be the guy lining up against Chris Godwin most of the day and as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, Godwin is Tom Brady’s go-to guy. Look for Brady and Godwin to exploit that matchup all day long, leading to a career high in receptions for Godwin in a single game. He just set a personal best last season with fifteen receptions against the Atlanta Falcons (+7.5). He surpasses that this week and gets into the end zone - and doesn’t have it called back for holding.”
While Godwin did not get his career high in catches, having eight receptions for 83 yards, he did find the endzone on a quick screen to extend the Bucs’ lead before halftime. Godwin was good on Sunday and it was a welcome sign for the offense. However, in the second half, Godwin was not as involved and the offense was hurt as a result.
Will Walsh: 6-8?
“The Buccaneers looked hapless last week against the Brock Purdy-led 49ers and this week its Joe Burrow. The Bengals come in riding high with a win streak that dates back more than a month and a second tough game in a row spells trouble for Tampa. Jamar Chase goes for 200 yards against predominantly backups and Burrow throws for 450 in an ugly game for Bucs fan”
The thing is, the Bucs defense actually is not at fault for this game at all. Did their have their issues? Sure. The holding penalty on Lavonte David on fourth down was a killer and they could not get consistent pressure in the second half but when the offense turns the ball over four times in a row (five if you include the botched fake punt), it gets a little unfair for the defense when an offense as good as the Bengals is given that many short fields. Burrow finished with just 200 yards, but had four touchdowns and one interception. They were able to contain Chase to an extent as well as he had seven catches for 60 yards, but he did catch a touchdown. The Bucs defense will want to be better, but the offense has to put them in better positions.
Chris Weingarten: Welcome to the Jungle
“This is a classic matchup of “contender” versus “pretender.” The Cincinnati Bengals are playing great football at the moment, as they look to make a return trip the Super Bowl. Quarterback Joe Burrow is establishing himself as one of the best players in the NFL, and the Bengals defense ranks as a top-10 unit in the league. On Sunday, the Bengals will show their championship mettle, as Burrow throws for two touchdowns, and the defense stimies the Buccaneers in a 30-13 victory.”
It was not as lopsided as Chris predicted, but it sure did feel like it. Again, the defense did not do a horrible job, but the offense just turned the ball over too much. Not going to win many games turning the ball over four times, especially not in one quarter.
The Bucs are now sitting at 6-8 and travel to desert for a Christmas night showdown against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. That should be a game Tampa Bay wins, but they are not playing good football right now so anything can happen. They still have the lead in the NFC South, but they might not have it for much longer if they continue playing the way they have.