Well, that certainly sucked. The Lions were definitely beatable in this game. They made a lot of mistakes early, But the Bucs just beat themselves in this game and it cost them. Yes, the refs were really awful in this game, no getting around that. But they didn’t tell Mike Evans to drop a pass into the defenders hands. Or Jamel Dean to drop an interception. Or for the defense to not defend the middle of the field. The better team won.
If I could fix one thing about this team that could’ve gotten a win, it would be the pass protection. It was horrendous. Every time the Lions sent a corner blitz, they were completely unblocked. You would think the line had never seen one before in their life. Part of that was also on Baker Mayfield. Just nobody identified when the blitz was coming and they gave up four unblocked sacks. And Robert Hainsey had his ass handed to him on most occasions. With the season over, I will be discussing prospects that could benefit the Bucs. No. 1 on the list has to be center at this point. It is a glaring issue.
The other thing that killed this team was the pressure, especially in the first half. Nothing the Buccaneers could do was getting pressure. Blitzing was working and the front four did nothing. I knew it would be an issue, but it still sucked seeing Goff have time to use a crockpot back there. Defense played fine in the first half limiting the big plays, but they were gassed by the second. Couldn’t stop a tumbleweed by the end. Part of that was the offense doing jackshit, but Todd Bowles was calling really soft coverage there.
Speaking of Bowles, he constantly made the wrong decisions here. He put Devin White on the field and they scored a TD. It wasn’t a coincidence either. He was supposed to drop back more and didn’t. Ryan Neal was also back and he made sure to help the Lions as well. I am calling the feds to get his ass in jail. Clearly he has robbed the team blind. He got outjuked by the slowest player on the Lions. At least Antoine Winfield Jr had the dignity to have his ankles broken by Jahymr Gibbs.
But having those players on the field was purely on Bowles. They had played badly all season and he still wanted them out there. That’s on him. Also was cowardly on 4th down, which was a shame to see considering he had improved there. Two 4th and shorts and they punt. Coward ball at its finest.
Dave Canales didn’t endear himself either. Too many times the Buccaneers offense fizzled out because of his playcalling. The Lions weakness is their secondary, and he refused to attack it. Trey Palmer was not targeted once downfield. You have to know how to attack your opponent’s weakness well. I thought he did that well against the Eagles, but not very much here.
At the end of the day, this was still a very successful season by us. We made it farther than everyone thought we would. Hell, we almost got to the NFC Championship. Mayfield was exactly the guy this team needed and played his heart out today. As of right now, he is the guy. The team will have cap space to work with. Plus, the rookies on this team have looked damn fine. Calijah Kancey, stud. Yaya Diaby, stud. Cody Mauch, very solid. Trey Palmer also looks promising. One good draft and FA period and Licht will have this team humming. Yes, a loss is always disappointing, but the South runs through us.
Make sure you check out Devin’s blog at cannoncrunch.wordpress.com.
Cannon Crunch with Devin Sanguinett