Buccaneers vs. Football Team: Reality vs. Great Expectations

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Via Sports Talk Florida’s James Williams
Special to Bucs Report

LANDOVER, Md. It was a cold damp day in Landover, Maryland and the Buccaneers looked like a sloppy, and at times just a lost team. A team that came off a loss in New Orleans two weeks ago then getting a bye week should not have been pushed around by a Washington team at 3-6 but at the end of the long day, the scoreboard read WFT 29-Tampa Bay 19 and a Buccaneers record of 6-3.

Great Expectations 

Great expectations have been met with the reality that Tampa Bay is a talented but flawed football team that is deserving of the support of a fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer for over the years. Truth be told Buccaneers fans have gotten greedy, hey another trip to the Super Bowl or nothing.

Well before you all attack the team and the poor coaching take a deep breath. Tom Brady and the 2021 edition of the Buccaneers will still make the playoffs, they should even win the NFC South but anything past the first round will be a true challenge.

We know Brady was picked off twice in his first six passes, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers surrendered a clock-killing, 19-play drive that sealed a 29-19 upset by Washington on Sunday.

Not A Great Day

“Not a great day of football for us,” said Brady, who finished 23 of 34 for 220 yards and two touchdown passes but threw two interceptions just like during the loss at New Orleans two weeks ago. “We just never really played on our terms. We played from behind the whole game, and they played a good game.”

Tampa Bay was dealt an extra blow in the last minute when nose tackle Vita Vea was carted off with an injury on the final play of the 80-yard drive over 10:26 that finished things off for Washington (3-6). Arians did not have an update, but said Vea felt something in one of his knees — and the concern was real afterward.

“You just hate to see him keep going down,” linebacker Devin White said. “If we got him, great. If we don’t, man, I’m gonna miss playing with him for the rest of the season.”

Lack of Rhythm 

The Buccaneers (6-3) couldn’t find much of a rhythm on either side of the ball in a rematch of their wild-card victory at Washington from January.

Brady’s interceptions — one off the hands of rookie Jaelon Darden and another inexplicable toss that was caught by Washington safety Bobby McCain — disjointed the NFL’s best scoring and passing offense, which did not have a first-half touchdown for just the fifth time in the past two seasons.

Flustered all afternoon by Washington’s defense, Brady bounced back in the second half to throw touchdown passes to Cameron Brate and Mike Evans. But Tampa Bay’s defense could not stop Washington’s offense on the final, clock-draining drive. Rivera lived up to his “Riverboat Ron” nickname by going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1-yard line with 31 seconds to go, and Antonio Gibson’s second touchdown run of the day put the game away.

They Beat Us

“They beat us,” Bucs linebacker Lavonte David said. “We had an opportunity to get off the field, and we didn’t. We talk a lot of stuff, but we didn’t play like it. That was a moment to put our stamp on the game, and we didn’t.”

“The stupidity has to go away if we’re going to go anywhere,” Arians said. “We’re a very dumb football team, and that’s a reflection on the coaches.”

The key to winning the majority of the final eight games of the 2021 season will be how this stops making mistakes and getting back some of their injured players starting CB Richard Sherman suffered a calf injury during pregame warmups and did not play and two of Brady’s key playmakers WR Antonio Brown (ankle) and TE Rob Gronkowski (ribs).

Up Next For The Buccaneers 

Monday Night Football comes to Tampa next week and a Giants team will limp into town having their own set of problems. But Buccaneers fans need to be supportive, not expecting every game to be a cakewalk because this is an old team and that means they will have senior moments but they also know what it takes to win in December and January, so enjoy watching the G.O.A.T. and the rest of this team because who knows what the future brings.

*Thanks AP for the quotes used in the story.

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