Three quarters through the 2020 NFL Season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shown one thing. This team is not ready to win big-time games.
So far, Tampa Bay has lost both games against the New Orleans Saints, one in blowout fashion. They lost a Thursday night game against a Chicago Bears team that is now 5-7. Then, they squeaked by a New York Giants team on Monday Night Football by a score of 25-23.
The Los Angeles Rams came into Tampa and beat the Buccaneers on Monday Night football one week ago. Then this past week, they allowed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill to post-career games in the first half.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a good year so far. With seven wins so far, the team is on pace to make the playoffs as a wildcard. The Saints are running away with the division, and with the Buccaneers losing three of their last four games, the gap is wide.
How Do They Lose?
Head coach Bruce Arians has rarely been an advantage in games. He certainly isn’t doing what his reputation has led some to believe he is capable of. “Quarterback Whisperer” was his coined name but he just has his quarterbacks throw deep in search of big plays.
In the Chiefs game, the offense couldn’t complete a short pass to save a drive and keep the defense off of the field. The team went 3 for 9 on third down. That will not cut it against teams that employ good to great quarterbacks and offenses.
Tampa Bay’s defense has improved greatly this year and is earning respect, but this defense still struggles against good receiving corps. They struggled to get to the quarterback in both Saints games and this recent Chiefs matchup.
If the Buccaneers plan on making any noise in the playoffs, they need to improve on these areas. Bruce Arians has to show why he has such a reputation in the league. He has been out-coached in multiple games and his team still has a penalty problem.
This coming week, against the Minnesota Vikings, the Buccaneers face another test against a playoff hopeful. If the Buccaneers can play well for four quarters, that can bode well for the rest of the regular season.
Time will tell for Tampa Bay. So far this season this team hasn’t been ready for primetime.