Bucs lose to Carolina in sleep-a-thon contest

by Gary Shelton on October 30, 2017 · 4 comments

in general

Bucs' tackle Chris Baker deflects a pass by Cam Newton./CARMEN MANDATO

Bucs' tackle Chris Baker deflects a pass by Cam Newton./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 3 a.m.

All in all, I'd rather watch a six-hour documentary on the South American dung beetle. With time out for extra dung.

I'd rather watch The English Patient. Twice. I'd rather watch films of spine surgery. I'd rather watch Xanadu in Romanian, with Portuguese subtitles. I'd rather watch a three-day test match of English cricket … with live crickets chirping in the background. I'd rather read Chinese spam mail from the Internet.

Sunday's game (?) between the Bucs and the Carolina was an affront to the senses. My eyes hurt. My face is numb. My hands keep twitching. I get cold shivers. Every time I think about the game, I have a flashback, and I wake up (it was sleep-inducing) screaming.

My goodness, was that ugly. Stacked on homely. Piled on ghastly. And tucked underneath hideous.

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Kwon Alexander celebrates stopping a Panthers' drive./CARMEN MANDATO

Kwon Alexander celebrates stopping a Panthers' drive./CARMEN MANDATO

In the end, it was 17-3. Spies should be forced to watch game films.

Think about the three. On a perfect day, a team with an overall No. 1 draft choice at quarterback, a Pro Bowler at one wide receiver, a high-priced free agent at the other receiver, a No. 1 draft pick at tight end, a No. 1 draft pick at running back and an offensive line that is frequently praised by the coaches in charge adds up to three points. One field goal. Whee.

Winston had a rating of only 49.2 for the game./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston had a rating of only 49.2 for the game./CARMEN MANDATO

“After the game, my message to the team was that the effort was good enough,” said Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter. “I told them not to point fingers, and if they needed to, to point them at me.”

Frankly, when an NFL coach can't crease the end zone, it's a good place to start. For all intents and purposes, there might as well have been a moat guarding the end zone. And dragons. Big, fire-breathing dragons.

“Anything that's wrong is a Buccaneers' issue,” Koetter said. “And anything that's a Buccaneers' issue is a Dirk Koetter issue.”

Granted, if you were watching this at home, you could turn it off. But guess what? This time, the Bucs cut it off before you. This was pitiful. This was a 1927 offense, complete with the playbook from the Duluth Eskimos.

Seriously, these teams could have played until Tuesday, and the Bucs wouldn't have scored. Jim McElwain could have been in charge, and it wouldn't have looked any

Doug Martin had 71 yards for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Doug Martin had 71 yards for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

worse. Cleveland fans would have given this a thumb's down.

Think of it like this: The Bucs had the ball for 12 drives. On half of those, they punted. On half of the six that remain, they had a turnover. Of the three that are left, they had a field goL, lost the ball once on downs and lost it at the end of the first half.

And that's your offense. Your improved, shiny, dangerous offense.

Quarterback Jameis Winston seemed to struggle with his injured shoulder — coach Dirk Koetter said it was the wind – and had a quarterback rating of only 49.2. Running back Doug Martin had several decent runs, but he ended up shot of averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Mike Evans caught five balls, but he was targeted 10 times.

And there you go.

And there they went.

Jackson makes his point on the Bucs' bench./CARMEN MADATO

Jackson makes his point on the Bucs' bench./CARMEN MADATO

At this point, no one should be able to talk about the post-season without blushing. Right now, winning another game seems like the challenge. The Bucs have lost four in a row, and they've fallen to 2-5, and Halloween doesn't promise anything as scary as  these game films. Children under 17 should not be allowed to watch. Not that they'd want to.

“The main thing is the offense isn't scoring points,” Koetter said. “We have to score points. As I alluded to, the main thing you can't have is setbacks. You can't have 15-yard penalties and turnovers and we had too many of those today. Anything beyond that, you'd have to put on me as a play-caller.”

Koetter talked about a failure to overcome first-and-20s and second-and-20s. But the truth is this: The Bucs never had one of those until their third drive of the day. But five drives started inside their own 20, and Winston had a scatter-gun afternoon. The Bucs never got any closer than the Panthers' 19 yard-line, and that drive ended at the 28.

“I don't want a three-point game if I'm playing with high school receivers,” quarterback Jameis Winston said. “ I want to win. I want to score. You can't win with three

Hargreaves has played better for the Bucs the last two games./CARMEN MANDATO

Hargreaves has played better for the Bucs the last two games./CARMEN MANDATO

turnovers. You can't win with three points.”

Asked about Koetter's talk of the wind, Winston disagreed:

“NFL quarterbacks have to be able to throw into the wind. As far as completing the football, I didn't do a good job at that. We were off a little bit. Any time I'm not completing a certain level of passes, I'm not going to be pleased with my performance. I didn't think I had a good performance today.”

Once again, the Bucs failed to register a sack.

“It's frustrating,” said defensive tackle Chris Baker. “Anytime you lose, it's frustrating. It's more searching for answers when you're losing rather than just going out there and playing. The only way to get this feeling out of your mouth is that we've got to keep going to work and working on the little things. Hopefully that translates to wins in the game.”

Patrick Murray scored the only points for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Patrick Murray scored the only points for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

But will it?

“We've got to pick it up soon or the season is going to be gone,” receiver Mike Evans said. “What are we – 2-5 right now? We've got more than a half the season left, so we've got to pick (it) up right away.”

Added Ali Marpet: “There is no one more frustrated than us right now. It's tough. We are not doing our job, so that's a problem.”

This week, the problem was with the offense. The Bucs gained more than two first downs on a drive only once all day.

From here, you can see trouble. You can envision rumors about the general manager and the coach. You can hear talk about draft picks. You can wonder how bad the record will be.

Next week, the Bucs travel to New Orleans to face the 5-2 Saints. Gametime is 1 p.m. Sunday.

Mike Evans can't quite catch up to a pass from Winston./CARMEN MANDATO

Mike Evans can't quite catch up to a pass from Winston./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill MYERS October 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

What is that smell ? Something is really rotten here! This loss was a complete team effort! My question is when do the Glazers get involved? And is there some kind of curse on this team? Someone needs to be fired! Time to reload! Wait ……I almost forgot , Irma took our bye week! End of rant. Thanks for your time.

Reply

Gary Shelton October 30, 2017 at 10:33 am

Yeah. Let’s blame Irma.

Reply

Rick Martin October 30, 2017 at 8:28 am

Look on the brightside, Gary. You got into RayJay for free (I assume). Me? I had to pay to get in to witness that mess. We Bucs fans clearly are insane as we are going to games over and over again and expecting different results.

Reply

Gary Shelton October 30, 2017 at 10:37 am

No doubt. You had it worse.

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