Disaster. That’s the only word that can be used to describe what Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans witnessed on Sunday as the Bucs blew a 17-10 halftime lead and a 37-33 lead with under a minute to go in Houston. There are more questions now than ever and there’s one man at the center of it all.
Let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Todd Bowles Is Going To Lose His Job. Not this week. Not before the end of the season. But it’s coming. It has to given what has transpired over the last four weeks but most notably what happened against the Houston Texans. A record-setting performance of 470 yards and five touchdowns by C.J. Stroud against Bowles’ defense. People will point to last year as reason enough as Bowles was in charge of Tom Brady’s only losing record of his career - but that wasn’t entirely his fault. These last four weeks? This first four-game losing streak since 2019 is. The Bucs paid Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean handomsely and were supposed to have a duo of man-corners. Bowles runs zone, citing they don’t have the personnel to run man. The Bucs have been shredded by soft zone, shell coverages all year so what does Todd Bowles do with 40 seconds on the clock and the game on the line? Ran the same play over and over, making things as easy as possible on a rookie quarterback to drive 75 yards in 40 seconds to win the game. With that, Todd Bowles may have - and should have - coached himself out of a job.
2.) Enough. I don’t want to hear one more stinkin’ word about Baker Mayfield. Not one. He has been absolutely fine this year - 12 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a top-twelve ranking on Pro Football Focus - and the loss to Houston is not on him. Yet, somehow, some still want to put the blame on Mayfield and are screaming for him to be benched. Enough. There are two reasons and two reasons alone that some want him benched - they hate him, for whatever reason, and it doesn’t matter what he does they will never come over to his side. Or, they’re die-hard Gator fans that for some inexplicable reason think that Kyle Trask will not only do better with the offense but will somehow magically manifest a secondary that can cover, pre-snap penalties to end, Devin White to look like the 2020 version rather than a fancier Kwon Alexander, and lead the Bucs to the promised land. Stop. It. The problem with the team is not the quarterback and if you don’t see that it’s because you don’t want to. Leave your college fandom to Saturdays. The Bucs are the Bucs and it does not matter in the slightest where they played their college ball.
3.) Really? Before the season, Carlton Davis went off about how the Bucs were going to “wreck s - - t” and the defense was underrated and the team was overlooked and yadda yadda yadda. Leading up to the Texans game, an interview with Ja’Marr Chase came out, saying Davis was the toughest corner he’s faced in his career. Then, on Sunday, against the likes of Tank Dell and Noah Brown, he was beaten like a set of Ludwigs during “In The Air Tonight.” This is the guy that Chase said was the toughest corner he’s faced? This is the guy that put the world on notice of how good he and the Bucs defense were going to be this season? All I’m saying is there is a potential out for Davis’ contract after this season and the $14 million in dead money might be worth it rather than paying him to perform like that. I couldn’t tell if I was watching Carlton Davis or E.J. Biggers out there - and that’s saying something.
4.) Well, Lookie There. How about Rachaad White coming to life on Sunday? Over the past three weeks, the Bucs have adopted the “running through the air” philosophy that worked so well for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. With the run game being historically awful, the Bucs started using White in the short passing game and it has worked brilliantly. Another performance over 100 total yards and getting in the end zone twice should have been one of the major topics of conversation today. Instead, we’re talking about a pathetic performance of the defense and the ineptitude of the head coach.
5.) Penalties, Again. I can’t keep doing this. It’s amazing that the Texans actually ended up with more penalties and penalty yards than the Bucs, but good grief - same stupid crap week after week. No one wants to take charge, no one wants to fix it. That’s the trickle down effect of the coaching staff - much like we saw with Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter.
6.) Somehow, Someway. The season isn’t over. Yes, I said it - because it’s true. In the NFC South, 3-5 doesn’t put you out of it. Not yet. A win against the Titans gets the Bucs to 4-5 before traveling to San Francisco to lose and fall to 4-6. Then the Bucs have the Colts, Panthers, Falcons, and Packers before taking on the Jaguars. It’s absolutely in the realm of possibility that the Bucs go into their Christmas Eve game against Jacksonville at 7-7 then have two more divisional matchups to end the season. They have the talent - or at least, they should/did/were believed to - to do exactly that. This is a favorable schedule down the stretch if they’re able to pull themselves out of this nose-diving free fall. Unfortunately, at this point, I don’t have the confidence or faith in Todd Bowles as a leader or most of this roster to actually figure it out and get it done. If your name isn’t Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tristan Wirfs, Lavonte David, Vita Vea, Calijah Kancey, or Antoine Winfield Jr. then I trust you about as much as I would trust my twelve year old son to drive my car.
Six Numbers To Consider
1 - Number of times in franchise history the Bucs had lost when scoring 37 or more points in a game (41-38 loss at Miami in October 1985) before Sunday
35 - Consecutive games the Bucs won when scoring 37 or more points before Sunday’s loss
5 - Mike Evans is just the fifth receiver in NFL history with 11,000+ yards and 85+ touchdowns in their first ten seasons
90 - Baker Mayfield has had a quarterback rating of 90 or higher in five of eight games this season - seventh best mark among all NFL quarterbacks
28 - Forced fumbles by Lavonte David, the most of any active players
52.3 - Jake Camarda’s yards per punt - best in the NFL
Six Best Tweets
Detroit loss won’t snowball into Atlanta and Atlanta loss won’t snowball into Buffalo and Buffalo loss won’t snowball into Houston and Houston loss won’t snowball into Tennessee…….. https://t.co/p5SQZKH5RZ— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) November 5, 2023
Overall PFF Grades for QBs the last 2 weeks when facing pressure (min. 10 attempts):— Andrew Russell (@Andrew_Russell7) November 6, 2023
1. Joe Burrow - 95.0
2. Baker Mayfield - 79.4
3. Jalen Hurts - 79.3
Big Time Throw rates vs pressure the last 2 weeks:
1. Dak Prescott - 16.7%
2. Joe Burrow - 15.4%
3. Sam Howell - 10.0%
BAKER MAYFIELD MAGIC pic.twitter.com/XrO2XdPqus— Bussin' With The Boys (@BussinWTB) November 5, 2023
The irony of this coming out this week https://t.co/m8xF2mHfWc— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) November 5, 2023
I’ve defended Todd Bowles for a long time, but I cannot anymore. The defense was laughably bad, has been horrid for a handful of weeks now and he never should have saved 10 seconds on the clock using his timeout on the TD Drive to Otton.— Evan Closky (@ECloskyWTSP) November 5, 2023
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Philadelphia Eagles - They just keep getting it done
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - No Taylor, No Problem
3.) San Francisco 49ers - Couple rough weeks, but still super talented. Let’s see how they look after the bye
4.) Cincinnati Bengals - Here they come
20.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - What a mess this turned into