Any football fan will tell you, whether it’s in school, at work, or on your favorite sports talk show— Monday mornings are for bragging rights, armchair quarterbacks, and “Did you see when?!” This Monday morning, Buccaneers’ fans giving a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the game will start with the—
First quarter- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense had caught a little bit of a spark lately. The spark was dimmed by a tough San Francisco 49ers’ defense last week, but Tampa’s offense had been clicking— with more than 70 points scored over the last three weeks. Unfortunately, the good vibes ended abruptly when a quarterback sneak, on the game’s introductory drive, led to Baker Mayfield— down on the field. The Bucs brought in Kyle Trask (cold off the bench) to finish the drive and surprisingly, from a yard out, asked him to throw the ball. Tampa’s drive ended with a field goal.
The Indianapolis Colts came out aggressive. Gardner Minshew opened with six passes, completing five of them. The Colts tied the game at three and Tampa Bay fans got good news as Baker Mayfield, taped ankle and all, took the field for Tampa’s second drive. Good news travels quickly, bad news tends to travel just as fast. Baker Mayfield’s first drive back ended with an interception and Todd Bowles’ bend-but-don’t-break defense broke. Indianapolis put the turnover into the endzone and rolled the momentum of a 10-3 lead into quarter number two.
Second quarter- The quarter changed but it was more of the same for Tampa Bay. The defensive tactic of optional tackling led to another Colts touchdown where Devin White— former star, future ‘Please pay me’ linebacker, was unable to bring down journeyman quarterback Gardner Minshew in space, allowing touchdown number two.
But Devin White wants a $100 million dollar contract lmfao pic.twitter.com/BYJw29cieD— (@DJBucsFan) November 26, 2023
The Bucs offense responded with Jake Camarda. Pinned deep, Gardner ‘Fran Tarkenton’ Minshew misfired. Carlton Davis came up with his first interception of the season and the Bucs came away with points. Payne Durham’s ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moment led to the familiar sight of Mike Evans giving a ball away to a fan in the stands. With 4:40 to go before halftime, Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers pushed into Colts territory. The drive finished the way many Tampa drives do— a penalty and then a punt. The Bucs’ promising drive actually led to a Matt Gay field goal attempt. Since this isn’t 2019, that means their promising drive led to a field goal for their opponent. No good. 17-10 at the half.
Third quarter- The Colts started with the ball and started with a field goal, 20-10. The Buccaneers’ offense would stay on brand and respond with a punt, following an egregious drop by Trey Palmer. One fourth down stop by Dee Delaney later and Baker Mayfield was back on the field. With possession and good field position the Buccaneers entered their final chance to win the game and their final chance to jumpstart a playoff push.
Fourth quarter- Signs of life from the pirates. Todd Bowles declines challenging a extremely questionable incomplete pass, but actually allows his team to go for a fourth down. On fourth and 10, Baker Mayfield stepped into his throw a ripped a sideline shot to Chris Godwin. Good things tend to come in bunches. Chris Godwin made a big play and Mike Evans wasn’t far behind. A touchdown pass from Mayfield to Evans cut the Colts’ lead to three. Tampa Bay’s defense, rode that high to a low. Gardner Minshew and the Indy offense put their 27th point on the board— Camera pan to Todd Bowles on the sideline, arms crossed.
A short field goal by Chase McLaughlin and the ensuing defensive stop gave Tampa life (short-lived). 2:21 from the 35 yard line, down seven. Baker Mayfield’s second turnover of the day— a strip sack from his blindside— put the Bucs away and likely ended their season. 3-1 to 4-7, collapse.
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