In history, there was a general named George Custard who has several victories against the indigenous peoples of the Old West. When he approached a place called Little Big Horn, he was full of confidence and bravado believing he would again route the natives as he had before. He was wrong.
Just like Custard’s ill-fated last stand, the boisterous, overconfident Tampa Bay Buccaneers got served a heaping helping of humble pie by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that was never as close as the final score indicated.
What I Liked
Welcome to the 2022 season, Buccaneers offense, we missed you. Tampa Bay finally broke the 30+ barrier that eluded them so far this season. Tom Brady, forced to essentially pass most of the second half, racked up 385 yds passing and threw 3 touchdowns. The Bucs aren’t going to lose a lot of games this year putting up 30+ on offense.
What I Didn’t
There’s an old saying. If you mess around, sometimes you find out – or something like that. Members of the Bucs defense (looking at you Shaq Barrett) talked a lot of nonsense about the Chiefs and their offensive line. That same Chiefs’ offensive line owned the line of scrimmage the entire game. They basically pushed the vaunted Tampa Bay defense all over the field. Mahomes wanted to emphatically prove a point against the mouthy Bucs and boy, did they ever.
Pieces of Eight
Hurricane Ian was one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the state of Florida. It will end up being right up there with Hurricane Andrew in infamy. The approaching monster storm’s proximity to Tampa early in the week displaced the Buccaneers, forcing them to move their family, pets, and operations to Miami until the tempest passed.
Was it a factor in the Buccaneers’ performance on Sunday Night? No. I don’t think so. I believe the Chiefs just wanted this game a lot more than the Buccaneers did. They were out to prove a point to Tampa Bay and the world that the Bucs hadn’t “figured out the Chiefs” and that they are still among the elite teams in the league.
I also think the Bucs came in thinking they had the answers to the test – but the problem is, Andy Reid is one of the best head coaches in the NFL. What worked before against him, won’t work again because he’s going to find the game plan to beat it. Reid coached circles around Todd Bowles this go around and it showed. No matter what the Bucs tried, Reid and Mahomes seemed to have an answer for it.
How did the Colts beat this Kansas City team? I think they had looked past Indy and started looking at Tampa Bay a little early. This was a game they’ve had circled for a while and it certainly didn’t help when Shaq Barrett chirped that the Bucs should dominate and the Chiefs offensive line wasn’t any good while CB Jamel Dean added that they weren’t the same offense without speedster Tyreek Hill.
For those who want to help with Hurricane Ian relief, you can donate to the red cross here.
You can’t argue that up until Sunday night, the Bucs’ defense has been playing some elite football. Yet, every great defense has their bad day (or night) at the office and Sunday night was the 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ one.
It honestly was shocking how little resistance the Buccaneers’ defense could muster. Kansas City converted on 70.6% on their 3rd down chances (12 of 17). Simply put, the Bucs simply couldn’t get themselves off the field.
Now, a lot of that is due to Mahomes being an alien. No one can do what Mahomes does and frankly, he was magic Sunday night. Every time it looked like Tampa Bay had him corralled, Mahomes would some crazy dipsey-doo thing that defies all logic (and physics) to extend drives or score touchdowns. Kansas City scored points on 7 of their 10 offensive drives (not including their kneel down drive at the end of the half).
41 points were the most the Bucs have surrendered under Todd Bowles as head coach or coordinator. A Tampa Bay defense hasn’t been dealt a “Fourty-Burger” since 2019 and it was the first time since 2018 that the Bucs surrendered more than 40.
No one wants to remember the 2018 Mike Smith tissue paper defense. Yet, that’s what it felt like on Sunday.
Certainly, fumbling the open kickoff wasn’t good. Getting your future hall-of-fame quarterback blindsided and fumbling at your own 21 yd line isn’t good. Still, turn those 14 points the Chiefs scored into field goals and it’s an entirely different ballgame.
In the end, Tampa Bay didn’t have the answers they thought they did, the Chiefs’ offensive line was a lot better than the Bucs gave them credit for, and Patrick Mahomes is considered one of the elite quarterbacks in the N.F.L. for a reason.
Man, wasn’t it nice to see Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Donovan Smith back in the lineup Sunday Night? The Bucs’ offense seemed to have that confidence and swagger back after Byron Leftwich realized that it’s legal to attempt a forward pass when you have the greatest quarterback of all time and Pro Bowl receivers galore.
It was obvious both Jones and Godwin (not to mention Russell Gage) aren’t 100%. Probably the same with Smith. Yet they were out there gutting it out and Tampa Bay’s offense finally showed that electricity we got used to seeing from them.
Now, the offense wasn’t perfect. Brady certainly got hit way too much and looked to be playing with an injury in the second half. Tampa Bay’s running game is in shambles, although Tampa Bay only attempted to run 6 times once the Bucs fell behind by 18.
They again started slowly, with only 3 points in their first three drives (although technically, the first drive never happened with Rachaad White fumbling the opening kickoff).
Anyone who says the Bucs scored when the Chiefs went to prevent defense wasn’t watching the football game – Kansas City defensive coordinator was sending the house at Tom Brady in the second half.
Here’s hoping that the good that came out of this one was that the Buccaneers offense has finally found its footing and had enough game reps together to begin producing as we’re accustomed to seeing them.
Such is life in the National Football League that when you look at the schedule, you start to pick out the wins and losses. When the Bucs’ schedule was released, few picked better than a 2-2 start. In fact, many we’re going so far as picking Tampa Bay to start 1-3 or even 0-4.
The Bucs have exited the gauntlet a little bloodied. They survived with most of their receiving core and the offensive line being banged up. They earned two big road victories against conference opponents and of their two losses on the season, only one really mattered in NFC playoff tie-breakers.
Now Tampa Bay has three straight games against teams at or under .500. While the Bucs certainly cannot take any team lightly, they’ll be favored heavily in these games.
If Tampa Bay takes care of business, as they consistently have with Tom Brady at the helm, the Bucs should be 5-2 heading into a big Thursday night matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bucs’ defense will respond and hopefully, the offense will continue to produce the way they did on Sunday night. Combine those two elements together and the Buccaneers are going to be tough to beat.
Losing Logan Ryan early to a foot injury hurt the Bucs defense badly. Ryan has been such an important part of the Tampa Bay plan in the secondary that his loss was massive for Tampa Bay. Ryan plays a myriad of positions. At times Tampa Bay had him at safety, other times he’s lining up as a linebacker or corner. He was instrumental in making sure the secondary was communicating properly and quickly became one of the veteran leaders.
Add to that, Carlton Davis leaving the game with what’s being described as a stinger didn’t help the Tampa Bay cause, either.
Here’s hoping Ryan and Davis won’t be out of the lineup for too long, as both are crucial to Tampa Bay remaining one of the dominant defenses in the National Football League.
Rachaad White had a night – and not necessarily in a good way. White fumbled the opening kickoff and fumbles seem to be a problem with the rookie, he did it multiple times in the pre-season and it could be one of the reasons Tampa Bay is reluctant to let the young man run too often.
Still, White got in on 24 offensive plays, catching 5 passes for 50 yds on his five targets and rushing for 6 yds on 3 carries and his first touchdown in the league.
That’s kind of the thing with rookies. They’ll do really great things and then there will be those moments where they make a costly error.
It was a very interesting week in the NFC South. A double-doink miss on a 61-yd game-tying field goal attempt sent the Saints to 1-3 and the bottom of the NFC South. Meanwhile, the Panthers stole defeat from the jaws of victory again, allowing Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals to pull away for a 26-16 defeat.
The Falcons actually pulled off a thriller against the Cleveland Browns with a Younghoe Koo field goal with 1:06 left in the game to pull it out. Atlanta moves to 2-2 on the year.
Speaking of those Falcons, they’re next for Tampa Bay. While the Bucs have dropped their last two games, Atlanta has won two in a row for the first time since week 9 of 2020. The last time Atlanta won three straight? End of the 2019 season, when they won four straight games to save Dan Quinn’s job and extend their misery for one more season.
The Falcons actually have been fairly potent on offense, with Cordarrelle Patterson leading a good ground game with 340 yds on 58 carries with 3 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Atlanta, Patterson was placed on injured reserve on Monday with a knee injury. Rookie WR Drake London has made a huge impact, leading the Falcons with 18 receptions for 231 yds and 2 touchdowns. Marcus Mariota hasn’t been great, but he’s kept the Falcons in ballgames all season.
Defensively is where the Falcons continue to struggle. Atlanta is ranked 25th in Scoring defense and yards gave up respectively.
Still, the Falcons are one of those pesky bad teams that kind of hang around and occasionally pull off the upset, as they did to Cleveland this past week. After falling way behind on the road against the Rams, they put the fear of God in L.A. as they roared back from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit to nearly pull off the upset. If the Bucs are still thinking about Kansas City and not ready to play this week – it’s quite possible the Bucs may find themselves in a dogfight.
Shockingly, the winner of this game will be the team that takes over first place in the NFC South.
Tweet of the Game
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 3, 2022
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