Bucs fall into old bad habits against Colts

by Gary Shelton on November 29, 2015 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Sunday, 7:25 p.m.

Teams on the other side of a turnaround do not lose to 40-year-old backup quarterbacks. The Tampa Bay Bucs did.

Teams who are getting it together do not have 12 penalties for 95 yards. The Bucs did.

Teams who are on the upswing do not constantly blow pass coverage. The Bucs did.

Teams who are ready for a playoff push do not allow five sacks in a game. The Bucs did.

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Teams who are ready for prime time do not forget about their star tailback in the second half. The Bucs did.

Teams on the rise put a little more pressure on the opposition. Yes, the Bucs had three sacks. All of them were coverage sacks.

And so while coach Lovie Smith was quick to suggest that this was a bad day, not a step backward, the feeling was that it was a large stride toward regression. The Bucs simply didn't play well enough to win in a 25-12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

“To beat a good football team, you have to play good football. We didn’t play good football today. Normally, when you don’t play good football against a very good football team at home, you lose. Kind of simple as that. We had opportunities throughout. "

The Bucs were shut out in the second half of Sunday's game as Doug Martin – who had 90 yards at the half — carried the ball only three times in the second half.

“Right now, of course maybe we’d say, ‘Yeah, we had to run the ball more,’" Smith said. "Or we could have completed the plays that we had called passing, again in the passing game, that could have done things for us too. Yeah, right now, you’re right, but we had opportunities. Just wasn’t our day today.”

 How is a team supposed to win when its penalties take back one score and keep the Colts in prime field position for most of the half? The Bucs already were worst team in the league in penalties, and they spent much of Sunday marching backward. They had a touchdown called back, a turnover negated and a field goal that became a touchdown.

On that play, safety Chris Conte was called for leaping, a call he denies.

“They said you’re not allowed to touch the center and touch the guy when you jump over him," Conte said. "I told him and they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to go back and look at that one heavily but you just grazed him.’ I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus but how do you call that?

"I don’t know how you call that there. I just didn’t do a good enough of a job blocking the kick obviously, but kind of a desperation play for us there to get a block. I just did everything I could. I don’t know how I missed the ball. I just didn’t take the right angle I guess. They actually called me for touching the center like I said.”

The Bucs also dropped passes, missed kicks and failed to protect quarterback Jameis Winston.

They were outscored 19-0 in the second half. They have been held to two touchdowns or less in six games.

So how do you judge a team? If you go back to last year, the Bucs are much improved, and the Colts were in the AFC title game. But if you judge them by last week's proclamation that this team is relevant, then it was a disappointing day.

“We just got outplayed,'' coach Lovie Smith said.

Said running back Martin: “I don’t believe today was the real Bucs. You saw what we can do and how we deal with adversity. How we can put points on the board.

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