Lighten up Tampa Bay, Buccaneers fans know this drill. Like that moment in War Games where the two soldiers are sitting in the nuclear bunker about to unleash World War III. The national media placed ‘their’ key in the switch before the season even started. Last place in the NFC South, they said. 5-11 record at best. Didn’t they understand this team’s potential? Have they not heard about the Buccaneers history with worst to first stories?
One week short of the midway point in the season and Buccaneers fans have now placed their key into the switch. Understanding what turning that key means. Watching this team make the same mistakes, week after week is like verifying launch codes. Fans try to reason that this is not possible but the facts all say it is.
Destined For Self Destruction
Want to start pointing fingers at where the problem existed Sunday? Try 43 trips inside the red zone and little to show for it. Does this team NOT have a jumbo package? Understand that not only is the lack of red-zone production self-destructive to the team. But it also empowers the other team to gain confidence and momentum, regardless of the game action. Like the Washington game last year. It sounds impressive to have 500+ yards of offense. Put only three points on the board and it’s all white noise.
Is Anybody Else Tired Of…
Did the NFL officials attend the Forrest Gump School of Logic this past summer? A blown call here and there is part of the game. A game-changing call each week is a definite trend. The screwing these crews are giving Arians and the boys are downright ridiculous.
The early season flags against Mike Evans seemed to draw the line that with the new review of pass interference calls, offensive players will be called for PI as well. Then in week 3 against the Saints, receiver Michael Thomas gave Vernon Hargreaves whiplash on an extended arm penalty that should have been pass interference. Even in review, the officials swallowed the whistle and refused to make the obvious call.
In the same game, an apparent fumble on a punt that was clearly, and quickly recovered by Antony Auclair is called ‘no clear recovery’ by the crackpot officiating crew in New Orleans that day. No clear recovery? Not clear to whom? Unless your glasses are so thick that when you look at a map you see people waving at you, this was a very clear recovery. The bad officiating that day even got head coach Bruce Arians hot enough to break ranks and call the crew out in talking about how bad it was.
But Wait There’s More
Then on Sunday was a call that really burns Buccaneer fans backsides. With 3:47 left in the 4th quarter and a fourth-and-short, the Titans line up for a field goal. Tampa Bay faithful were hoping for a missed FG, and take the ball over on downs. Vrabel and the Tennessee Fiddlers decide to go all “Sean Payton” and call a fake. Devin White stops Titans punter Brett Kern with a great hit. Not only was the stop short, but the ball is clearly knocked loose for a fumble.
The ball was out before the runner hit the ground. No Buccaneer even touched Kern as the ball was already fumbled. Safety Andrew Adams clearly picked the ball up and like a champ, ran it all the way back into the Titans end zone.
But the officials had whistled the play down by contact. Baffling again because the ball was never down having been knocked loose on the hit and Kern was never touched. A 14-point swing in the mistimed blow of a whistle. In a tweet, the NFL gave this account.
The point of all this being that this team has had a problem overcoming their own mistakes. The terrible officiating has just been icing on the cake.
Nobody is arguing this team hasn’t shot themselves in the foot. There 99 problems and the officiating is just one.
This season is only at the halfway point. There is still a lot of football to be played.
If the officials are going to use their whistles so incorrectly, Buccaneer fans know where they should put them.
In fact, they will help put them there.