The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Detroit Lions 20-6 on Sunday in an NFC litmus test. The excitement around the creamsicle jerseys and 70’s music all game was not enough to will the Buccaneers past one of the NFC’s best.
There was much hype around the Buccaneers this week. From the return of the creamsicle jerseys to the resumption of play after the bye week, people were ready to see how the Bucs faired against the Lions. Coming into the game, the Lions have scored a combined 45 points in the first quarter. After one quarter against the Bucs, they had just three points. That stat alone might have been promising for the rest of the game.
However, that was not the case. The Lions would go on the score 20 points and hold the Bucs to just six. Throughout the game, the Lions were 9-16 on third-down conversions, a number of which were 3rd and longs that resulted in touchdowns.
Todd Bowles said that the 3rd and long conversions were coverage busts and should not have happened.
On the inverse, the offense crawled through the game and failed to execute in many different ways.
“We sucked today,” Baker Mayfield said. “We didn’t start fast, we didn’t pick it up in the middle and we didn’t close strong.”
One of the areas that was most notably an issue today was Mayfield’s lack of deep ball completions. He overthrew Trey Palmer twice and the interception that was tipped was intended for a wide-open Mike Evans running deep.
“It was just one of those days,” Mayfield said. “We had everything we wanted but I didn’t hit it, I didn’t execute.” The fact that those plays were there was the most frustrating part of the loss to Mayfield.
He finished the day with just 206 passing yards, no touchdowns, and one interception.
The other aspect of the offense, the run game, was a letdown yet again. Starting running back Rachaad White finished with just 26 rushing yards, and the Bucs finished with just 46 rushing yards total.
“You gotta be able to run the ball to win in this league, consistently,” Mayfield said. “It’s disappointing.
Bowles cited “sluggishness” from the bye week as a big reason why the Buccaneers struggled today. White agreed, saying it was just rust. Mayfield disagreed, saying the team had a good week of practice leading up to the game and just failed to execute.
“At some point, we gotta start getting pissed off as an offense,” Mayfield said. “We should be scoring a lot more points.”
Mayfield did not move his left arm after the game, suffering a contusion on his left hand, but x-rays were negative, and he should be fine.