The Buccaneers lost 24-18 to the Bills in Buffalo Thursday night, and looked pretty out of it almost the entire game—save for a fun stretch where a pick thrown by Bills QB Josh Allen (due to yet another amazing play by Antoine Winfield Jr.) led to a Chris Godwin TD reception in the first half.
The second half was all Buffalo.
The Bucs continued their ineptitude offensively, both on the ground and through the air, as Tampa Bay failed to get Mike Evans involved in the offense and the interior offensive line problems continued.
They even had a chance to win at the end. But the Bills secured the W with a combination of a more-than-eight-minute Bucs touchdown drive that was bailed out by a pair of 1st-down-converting penalties and a Mike Evans touchdown catch off a Bills player’s helmet, plus the defense failing to prevent Buffalo from getting a couple first downs.
Let’s focus for a minute on that eight-minute touchdown drive by the Bucs, where they also went for two points and converted on yet another deflected Baker Mayfield pass (the luck involved was ridiculous). There was so much wrong with that drive for so many reasons. The Bucs were operating so slowly, letting the clock dwindle down as much as possible, making me genuinely question if the Bucs were even trying to win this game. It was mismanagement at its most prevalent.
For the Bucs defensively, Allen confidently picked apart a defense that sorely missed defensive lineman Vita Vea, who was ruled out the right before the game. Allen ran for and threw touchdown after touchdown, and when it was all said and done the Bucs now sit 3-4.
We’ll have to sit around and wait to see how the rest of the NFC South does this weekend to find out how far the Bucs fall in the standings. Not that it really matters.
The Bucs have to turn this shit around, quickly. That’s three straight losses after a 3-1 start, and while they still get to play the winless-as-of-this-writing Panthers twice and the Saints one more time, we can no longer assume any game is an assured W.
This team is playing down to the lowly expectations I set for them before the season began, and if it continues I’ll have to start talking about draft picks much, much earlier than anyone would like.
If you want to call it good news, the Buccaneers do at least have a chance to improve their draft positioning if they keep losing, maybe giving this roster another much-needed infusion of youth, and perhaps even forcing ownership to step in and make some long overdue changes in the front office and/or coaching staff.
Tom Brady isn’t here anymore. General Manager Jason Licht and head coach Todd Bowles haven’t done a good job of ushering in this new era.