The opening of Raymond James Stadium for the 2022 season did not go very well. The Buccaneers lost to the Packers 14-12, sending them to 2-1 on the season and potentially causing them issues down the line if this game winds up a tie-breaker for playoff seeding. The offense seemed inept, the defense got off to a rough start, and the Bucs don’t appear to have too many answers at the moment.
Let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Someone Inject The Offense With Some Life. It took until there was fourteen seconds left in the game before the Bucs got into the end zone for the first time Sunday. They are one of two teams in the NFL to not score a first half touchdown this season - and they could be the last one remaining based on how the New York Giants do against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Yes, it’s hard to get the offense going when you’re missing 60% of your starting line, you’re down to your third-string left tackle, and you don’t have your top three pass catchers due to injury and suspension. They tried to go with an unconventional double reverse flea-flicker that might have caused Ray Jay to come unglued, but Scotty Miller fumbled and the trick play was dead. While I firmly believe that with Mike Evans the Bucs win this game, against the Chiefs next week one touchdown isn’t gonna cut it.
2.) Finally, They Remembered Russell Gage Is On The Team. Gage’s use through the first two weeks was frustrating. Before Julio joined, Gage was brought in to be the number three receiver - yet he almost seemed to be the forgotten man. Even in the game in New Orleans without Chris Godwin and Julio, Gage couldn’t seem to get the ball five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. This week, he led the team in targets (thirteen), receptions (twelve), yards (87) and had the lone touchdown. Hopefully, moving forward, the Bucs utilize him a little more.
3.) Defense Woke Up...Finally. The Bucs’ defense had given up one touchdown in two games this season. Against the Packers, they gave up two in the first two drives and nearly a third in three had it not been for VIta Vea forcing a fumble and getting the defense out of their funk. After starting the game 5-for-5 on third down conversions, the Packers ended up 6-of-11 on the night. If it weren’t for that fumble, the Bucs defense probably doesn’t wake up and clamp down the way they did - keeping the Bucs in the game to the bitter end. Even when it looked like the Packers were on the cusp of kicking a field goal to ice the game, rookie Logan Hall came up with his first sack of the season and force the Packers to punt.
4.) Atrocious Officiating. I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Bucs lost because of bad officiating. I’m going to tell you that both sides benefitted from what can only be described as bad officiating. On their second touchdown drive, the Packers got away with holding Shaq Barrett on back-to-back plays and snapping the ball after the play clock expired. There were actually two delay of games on Green Bay missed by the officiating crew. On the flip side, the running into the kicker penalty was questionable at best given that it was a Bucs player that threw a Packer into his own punter. Then the touchdown by Gage was snapped after the clock expired. Be better, zebras.
5.) Paging Rob Gronkowski. Please report to the Advent Health Training Facility, immediately. Please.
6.) Glass Half Full Approach. Look, I’m going to try to be optimistic here. Last season, the Bucs got derailed at the end of the season with injuries and a stripping, bouncing head case that left the team. This time around, the Bucs are still dealing with plenty of injury but in most cases - Ryan Jensen still up in the air - these players will return. It’s not about September, it’s about December, January, and hopefully February. If I have to choose, I’d rather the Buccaneers deal with the stuff in the early part of the season rather than rely on practice squad call-ups and street signings when it’s win or go home. They’ll get things back on track sooner rather than later.
Six Numbers To Consider
4.6 - Targets per game to the tight end, down from 9.3 last season
26 - Total points scored in Sunday’s game - the fewest in a Brady/Rodgers matchup
13 - Different players that Brady has targeted with a pass this season
69,197 - Sunday’s attendance, a Ray Jay record
5 - Interceptions by the Bucs defense this season, third most in the NFL
0 - Third down conversions for the Bucs in the first half, only time that’s happened since Brady’s arrival in 2020
Six Best Tweets
45-year old Tom Brady just got away from a sack and got a much needed 1st down.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 25, 2022
(The play was later negated by a holding flag on his 3rd-string LT who's starting) pic.twitter.com/oXBRSGjtuR
I forgot how fast Bucs Twitter melted down.— What the Buc (@WhatTheBuc) September 25, 2022
Six Worst Things About Playing In Prime Time
6.) Chances are your fantasy team is already cooked, so you start off in a bad mood
5.) Waiting all day, through all the other games, as time moves in super slow motion
4.) You have to listen to Cris Collinsworth
3.) Hearing all day - for the second straight week - about the “Goat vs Goat” matchup (by the way, you can’t have “Goat vs Goat”. Goat stands for Greatest Of All Time. Not Greatests - which isn’t even a word - but Greatest. Singular. One. And that’s Tom Brady.)
2.) The late start, late finish, late bedtime, and same wakeup time. We’re all going to be dragging on Monday morning.
1.) Listening to Cris Collinsworth. Yes. It’s so bad it’s on the list twice. HERE’S A GUY who needs to retire...
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Buffalo Bills - Minor setback, but they were missing half their defense and still almost won
2.) Philadelphia Eagles - They might just be for real and I’ll have a lot of crow to eat because of it
3.) Miami Dolphins - Still not sure if they’re for real, but they’ve earned this spot through three weeks
4.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Missing their top three receivers, backup offensive linemen - still almost sent the game to overtime
5.) Kansas City Chiefs - Not really sure what in the world happened in Indianapolis...
6.) Baltimore Ravens - Lamar Jackson is a cheat code