For a game that felt well in hand for the majority of the night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sure made things interesting at the end. However, it was not to be as the Bucs lost to the Buffalo Bills 24-18 on Thursday night. That’s Tampa Bay’s third consecutive loss, dropping them to 3-4 on the season and heading into a mini bye week with a lot to figure out.
Let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Show Him(field) The Money. There aren’t often players that are sure-fire, locked and loaded guys that you can’t fathom the team moving forward without. For the Bucs right now, there are two of them coming up on contract extensions. Tristan Wirfs and Antoine Winfield Jr. Winfield is in the final year of his rookie deal and has been arguably the best safety in the NFL this season. He showed it again on Thursday night, forcing the lone turnover of the game that set up a Chris Godwin touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield. All he does is make plays all over the field. Say what you will about the pending free agents the Bucs have like Devin White, Baker Mayfield, Lavonte David, even Mike Evans - Winfield should be the Bucs’ number one priority. Give him all the money.
2.) Back To The Drawing Board. Todd Bowles has a lot to figure out before this season gets so out of control that we’re talking about a new head coach this off-sesaon. The Bucs’ defense still can’t figure out how to get off the field on third down. At one point, Buffalo was 6-of-9 on third downs and finished 7-of-13, which is decent when you look at the fact that the Bucs allowed just one conversion down the stretch - but Buffalo was still over 50%. You can’t rely solely on turnovers to get the offense the ball back. Go back to what was making you successful in the first four weeks because these last three? Woof.
3.) Missing Vita. You have to wonder what the game would have been like with Vita Vea on the field. For starters, the Bills’ rushing attack would not have been as effective. At one point they were averaging 5.0 yards per carry. By the end of the game, they were averaging 4.4 with James Cook sitting at 4.8 - which is far too many. Josh Allen had running lanes up the middle on plays not designed for runs and that flat out doesn’t happen with Vea on the field. Some of these big, chunk plays on the ground - and Allen’s rushing touchdown - aren’t happening with Vita Vea. He’s the most vital part of the Bucs’ ability to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. This team isn’t anywhere close to the same without him.
4.) PENALTIES. Again. Again with this nonsense. Self-inflicted wounds killing drives. It’s the same thing every single week. Trey Palmer negating a Rachaad White run that got the Bucs inside the 15 with his third hold in two weeks. Luke Goedeke with not one, not two, but three false starts. I’m running out of things to say. Either figure out how to fix it or get someone in the building that can. This team could be a lot more efficient and competitive if they didn’t love kicking themselves in the head repeatedly.
5.) Took Too Long. Mike Evans being a non-factor until the fourth quarter is just inexcusable. I get that the Bills were focused on him and that opened things up for Chris Godwin and Rachaad White in the passing game, but Evans has to get more targets early in the game than what we saw. Last week against the Falcons, he drew numerous flags when being targeted because the defensive backs couldn’t stop interfering and holding. It’ll be the same against pretty much everyone. The offense goes through Evans and Godwin and if only half of that duo is getting any targets, the offense isn’t going much of anywhere.
6.) Are You Kidding Me? I saved this one for last because it’s going to be quite the rant - but what the heck? How is there not a flag in the end zone for pass interference on the Hail Mary at the end? I don’t care that it was a Hail Mary - a penalty is a penalty. Period. Chris Godwin had a chance at the ball and was spun, held, and pulled down by his jersey while the ball was still in the air. Cade Otton was literally pancaked between two defenders while the ball was in the air. This is a Bills team that two weeks ago got flagged for defensive pass interference in the end zone against the New York Giants, giving them an untimed down - where the Bills then got away with another pass interference. If it’s a penalty in the first quarter, it’s a penalty on the last play. If Tom Brady is still the quarterback, the Bucs get that call. If it was Josh Allen throwing it up to Gabe Davis in this same game, he gets the call. Burrow to Higgins, Mahomes to anyone, Tua to Hill - they all get that call. One play does not win or lose a game, but the Bucs deserved the opportunity for the untimed down from the one yard line because of how blatant that penalty was. Maybe they score, maybe they don’t - but they deserved the opportunity. You know it’s bad when Mike Florio of all people is talking about what an egregiously missed call that was.
Six Numbers To Consider
3 - With Godwin’s touchdown Thursday, he moves into a tie for third all-time in Bucs history for touchdown receptions
4 - Mike Evans’ rank among all wide receivers for touchdown catches this season
1 - Game this season where the Bucs lost the turnover battle. They’re also first in the NFL in turnover differential with +8
52.5 - Yards per punt this year by Jake Camarda - best in the NFL
2019 - The last time the Buccaneers had a four-game losing streak
86 - Career touchdowns by Mike Evans, tied for 17th all-time in NFL history
Six Best Tweets
In case you needed a reminder as to why number six in “Six Topics” was the rant...
An almost perfect Hail Mary play by Baker Mayfield and the Bucs to beat Buffalo… all Chris Godwin has to do is turn around a second earlier and locate the ball… that close omg #GoBucs— (@ZacOnTheMic) October 27, 2023
Tampa Bay loses instead in Buffalo and falls to 3-4 on the Season. Wow! pic.twitter.com/DwCGGY4v8f
Slow motion, multiple angle replay. Gotta disagree, Zac - it’s not that he couldn’t locate because he didn’t look sooner. He couldn’t adjust from being spun around.
Todd Bowes being so allergic to man coverage sure is something— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) October 27, 2023
And a tipped 2 point conversion.. I need a drink https://t.co/eR7cETu2FV— trey wingo (@wingoz) October 27, 2023
A 17-play, 92-yard, 3-4th down conversion, 8-point drive pic.twitter.com/EtutgtoBoe— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 27, 2023
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Philadelphia Eagles - Yeah, they’re BACK back
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - Taylor keeps showing up, they keep winning
3.) San Francisco 49ers - Need to get healthy. That happens, they’re nearly unstoppable
4.) Miami Dolphins - Don’t love that they stink against good teams
5.) Buffalo Bills - Who knows what they are at this point. Very Jekyll and Hyde
15.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - So much talent, such poor leadership