Observations of the "I Wasn't In the Mood To Watch, My Bad" Bucs/Eagles 9/25/23 Primetime Letdown

1) I had a bad day at work, I came home in a dispirited and unhappy mood to where I wasn't going to be able to watch the Monday nighter like I'd wanted. So any observations I can make are coming from the morning after, looking at the stats and the reactions to how the Buccaneers fell to the Eagles 25-11.

1a) By the look of things, the Bucs offense failed to get running - literally - for much of the game, and our passing game never seemed to get in sync. I saw an early game report that the Bucs offense had only 87 yards to the Eagles' 227. That the score was 13-3 must have been a testament to the Bucs' Red Zone defense that we had stayed in the game at that point.

1b) It sounded like it was a stormy weather night, that there was rain and wet conditions, but the Eagles played in the same conditions and still came out on top. It had to do with their running game being more effective, and RB D'Andre Swift having an unstoppable game with 130 yards on 16 carries. Our vaunted run D just couldn't keep up in the second half.

2) While Mike Evans ended the game with a touchdown and some decent receiving yards, the news is that he made some painful drops in the first half. What's starting to trouble me is how Chris Godwin - as much a clutch receiver as Evans is - doesn't seem to be getting as many looks, and has yet to see the end zone.

2a) Where are the tight ends in the passing game? Cade Otton with only one catch out of two targets, and the only TE with any stats on the board? What the hell?

2b) Mayfield finally has a sloppy game, giving up an interception and a fumbled snap (that thankfully didn't become a turnover), but we're starting to see the limitations of his gameplay: He's focusing *too* much on Evans. The passing game needs to involve more targets to tight ends and the third (usually slot) receiver to do a better job of maintaining drives and scoring the red zone.

2c) Lavonte David had himself a night leading in tackles and garnering the Bucs' only sack of the night. It begs the question why the rest of the revamped defensive front that had been racking up sacks the first two weeks failed to do so when Jalen Hurts had been an easy target in previous matchups.

2d) The Bucs defense did snag two interceptions, but I think we'd rather have the Dee Delaney INT as a touchback instead of being on the 1-yard line where Rachaad White got tackled for a loss and a safety on the next play.

Yeah. It was that kind of night (not in the mood, definitely not in the mood).

3) Statistics of the game: First Downs. Eagles racked up 27 to the Bucs' 12. Clearly Tampa Bay couldn't get the offense going, and the defense couldn't stop Philly.

3a) Total yards: 472 for the Eagles, 174 for the Bucs. Not a great night. At all. Monday Night Football may not want to invite us back, they'll probably prefer the Rodgers-less Jets at this point.

3b) Red Zone offense: The one spot where Philly had a weak night, going 1-for-5 to where they settled for FGs and not running up the score like certain other teams. Bucs went 1-for-2, but it's the lack of Red Zone appearances that underscored how bad a night Tampa had.

3c) Penalties were... not that bad, all considered. Eagles had 3, Bucs had 4, but the stories I am seeing on social media is how the Eagles O-Line kept getting away with false starts. I saw a video clip of the Eagles' Right Tackle kicking his leg so far back he could audition for the Rockettes. What the hell, refs.

3d) Fourth-down conversions. Eagles made it twice out of three tries, showing they were willing and able to sustain offensive drives. Bucs never even tried on 4th down, either we were too far back or too deep in our own territory to risk it. Gods, not a good night.

4) All things considered, this loss kind of confirms how the rest of the Bucs' season is going to shake out: against questionable teams like the Vikings (a shocking 0-3) and the Bears (also a numbing 0-3) the Bucs should win out. Against legit contenders like the NFC champion-defending Iggles, the Bucs are going to struggle.

Given the three-way fight for the NFC South between us, a surprisingly good 2-1 Falcons and a struggling-but-good 2-1 Saints, the Bucs still have a decent shot at making the playoffs. But the Bucs' offense has got to get it into higher gear and get Godwin (and the TEs) better looks.

5) In other professional NFL news: OH MAH GAWD IS THAT TAYLOR SWIFT IN THE HOUSE?!?! Okay, shake it off (there, got it out of my system)

5a) There is no greater humiliation in pro football than an offensive beatdown like the one the Miami Dolphins just hammered the Denver Broncos with. Teams like to pride themselves on having SOME defensive talent to keep scores down to a competitive level, but Denver just couldn't stop the Phins from scoring at will. Miami went 6-for-6 in the Red Zone. Miami scored 5 TDs passing, 5 TDs rushing, the first NFL team to do so. Miami only punted ONCE. Miami racked up 720-plus yards. The only thing that stopped Miami was Miami, when they decided not to go for a Field Goal late in the game and kept themselves from tying the league's scoring record.

This was the kind of game you'd see between an unbeaten U of Georgia squad against a Division AA Middle Tennessee VoTech team that agreed to show up as the Homecoming punching bag.

That kind of performance moved the Dolphins up to the top of the power rankings, and put the Broncos on the short list for Tanking for the next QB top draft pick (Crashing for Caleb, anyone?).

5b) Houston beating Jacksonville like that is not a good sign the Jaguars are going to repeat last year's success.

5c) The big shocker was Arizona upsetting Dallas. The expectations was that the Cards were going to tank this year - new coach, new front office, conflicts with the current QB talent hinting at the possibility the new regime would like to reboot with a rookie of their own choosing - and it put a dent into the invincible defensive aura the Cowboys had the first two weeks.

5d) Is it just me or have there been a lot more ACL / MCL injuries this season already compared to previous years?

6) In professional college football news: Okay, everybody, Colorado and Prime Time still have to compete against other collegiate juggernauts as well. That said, Oregon's sitting pretty atop the polls as a legit PAC-12 team - however long THAT will last - we haven't seen in a few years - one of the reasons why the PAC is disintegrating, mutter grumble.

6a) Southern Cal is also currently unbeaten, led by the Heisman front-runner in Caleb Williams, and perfectly set up for an upset loss because the PAC can never have any good things before it dies forever.

6b) The pending conference realignments into super-conferences that make no geographic sense, and filled with teams that won't have natural rivalries like before, still fills me with unease. I know there's always been money money money running everything behind the scenes throughout college football history, it just feels like it's turning into one big cash grab that will consume itself and leave wreckage in its wake.

6c) Oh. South Florida Bulls FINALLY defeated a Division 1A opponent after two years of futility, getting past Rice and placing the team briefly atop the American (We're Not CUSA!) Conference. All of this while talking up a new stadium getting built on-campus, something we should have been doing since before 2007 for God's sake in order to build up the fanbase.

6d) If there's any schadenfreude to be had from realignment, it's nice to see UCF getting pummeled by their Big 12 opponents. That's what happens when you go up against long-standing college programs with deeper recruiting pools, kiddos.

7) In professional baseball news, dammit Rays you had one job: keep winning to get past Baltimore and clinch the AL East (and home field advantage in the postseason). I know it's been a long season, and we're starting to see the wear-and-tear on our star players (Randy and Yandy are both out right now???), but we need that bye week to rest up and get ready.

In the meantime, yay, we made the postseason. Yay (yeah, it's me, I'm the problem it's me). Going wild card through a tough lineup of Rangers/Astros/Mariners/Twins/O's isn't going to be easy.

7a) The bigger news this past week was the Rays coming to agreement with St. Pete to get a new ballpark built and move out of the dreary, aged-out Trop to a fixed-roof stadium that will at least provide more windows/natural lighting and no low-hanging catwalks.

I'm of a mixed mind here. Yay, new ballpark. But the other problems remain. Location is still not the best possible: Downtown St. Pete is still more than 45 minutes drive to key population areas like North Pinellas, most of Tampa, and now the populous West Pasco region. The traffic woes of I-275 and US 19/Central Ave and MLK St are still in effect. Without ANY sign of an alternative light rail access - that most other major sports cities have - we're going to see more discouraged fans not make the effort to drive to games.

And I'm looking at the proposed redevelopment - adding on office spaces and hotels and condos - and I keep screaming "WHERE THE HELL ARE THE PARKING GARAGES???" Someone's pointed me to a small corner of the redevelopment site and I swear to God, that's not enough.

For what I know, this is partly Tampa/Hillsborough community's fault to make a stronger effort to establish a feasible Ybor City or Westshore Plaza locale. (The Tampa Fairgrounds is too far east for Pinellas residents, and there's not enough Polk/East Hillsborough population numbers to balance that offset) It's somewhat good news that Stu and the MLB powers didn't force relocation options (arguably because the best possible cities had their own drawbacks for the moment), but I guarantee you three years into the new Trop in downtown St. Pete and the cries to move to a more central locale in the Bay area will rise again.

7b) There are few happier things to enjoy than watching the New York Yankees spend their way to getting eliminated from the postseason.

8) In professional hockey news: Please, Lightning, don't suck this year.

9) In professional entertainment news: Everyone's now waiting for the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce breakup album.

10) Next up: The Tampa Bay Bucs travel to New Orleans to face an angry 2-1 Saints team for an early battle over who gets to own the NFC South this year. With Carr facing day-to-day shoulder injury woes, the Bucs may well be facing Jameis Winston this Sunday. Either he gets his revenge, or we get ours (FIVE YEARS to get you to stop throwing INTS, Jameis, what the hell).

Comment if you want. Gods help me.

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