Looking back on Bucs’ loss to Kansas City

by Gary Shelton on October 4, 2022

in general

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Thoughts

  1. Yeah, it's a little soon to give up on Todd Bowles. That said, I miss risking and biscuiting.

2. Remember when all the scuttlebutt was about Leonard Fournette being overweight. Do you think Vita Vea ate him?


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3. Let's see: So far, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is no Jason Pierre-Paul, Logan Hall is no Ndamukong Suh and Cade Otten is no Rob Gronkowski.

4. If the NFL warned Bruce Arians for being useless on the sideline, should Todd Bowles be nervous?

5. Can the Bucs qualify for Federal Relief funds?

Game Balls

Offense: No help from the defense, no help from the special teams, no help from the running game. That left Tom Brady, who had his best game of the year. For what it's worth, which isn't much.

Defense: Are you kidding? The Bucs might as well have played while wearing roller skates. Sean-Murphy Bunting at least made a play.

Special teams: Eh. Ryan Succop hit a field goal and four extra points. On a night the Bucs forced one punt and fumbled a kickoff, it at least didn't hurt.

Grades

Quarterback: He wasn't perfect, but Brady (and Mike Evans) were the only concerns the Chiefs had. Grade: B+.

Running backs: Did the Bucs have any running backs: Grade: F.

Offensive line: The Bucs had no running game. Brady fumbled on a sack. Grade: F.

Wide receiver: Evans was very good, and tight ends caught eight passes. Grade: B.

Defensive line: Once a wall, this group has turned into a door. The Chiefs had 189 yards rushing. Grade: F.

Linebackers: Both Devin White and Lavonte David had more than 10 tackles. But neither could cover Travis Kelce. Grade: C.

Secondary: The Bucs ran around aimlessly and stopped nothing. Grade: F.

Power Rankings

  1. Buffalo

2. Philadelphia

3. Kansas City

4. Green Bay

5. Minnesota

--------

10. Tampa Bay

Bottom Five

32. Texas

31. Detroit

30. Washington

29. Raiders

28. Carolina

NFL Statistics

Passing Yards. Tom Brady 8

Rushing Yards Leonard Fournette 18

Passing yards Mike Evans 31

Tackles Devin White 17

Field Goals Ryan Succop 5

5 Games That Could Be Trouble

  1. L.A. Rams

2. Cincinnati Bengals

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. New Orleans Saints

5. San Francisco 49ers

5 More Thoughts

  1. Tom Brady says his arm is fine despite reports that he has a minor rotator cuff injury. Just to be sure, all Bucs’ players will wear ice packs on their shoulders the rest of the week.

2. I think the reason refs seemed unaware that Cameron Brate was injured Sunday night was, well, they've seen Brate run.

3. Did Patrick Mahomes have to clean up bits of the Bucs' defenders from his cleats today?

4. Not saying the Bucs' schedule is week for the next few weeks, but I think USF is up next.

5. So I'm willing to jump on the bandwagon the blame Byron Leftwich for everything. But how do you tell which plays were called by him and which ones were called by Brady? Oh, that's right. Leftwich only calls the bad ones.

Rays lose third in a row against Boston

by Gary Shelton on October 4, 2022

in general

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Believe it or not, the Tampa Bay Rays are thinking about the playoffs. It just doesn't look like it.

The Rays lost again Monday night, their third in a row, and again, they did it without playing their best. The Rays dropped a 4-3 come-from-ahead game to the Boston Red Sox on a night where winning didn't seem to be the highest priority for the team.


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Sunday, it was Wander Franco and Yandy Diaz who got the day off. Monday night, it was the regulars from the team's bullpen. In other words, for this team, rest seems to be a higher gaol than adding another victory to the total.

"Once we realized we weren’t going to have an opportuntiy at home field, the best we can do is make sure we’re 100 percent going into the post-season," manager Kevin Cash said. "We know we’re going to lean on those guys."

And so, when starter Tyler Glasnow was pulled with two outs in the third inning (he's recovering from Tommy John surgery), Cash went with rookie Kevin Herget.  And he stuck with Herget through a three run sixth inning. He stuck with him when he gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh. He stuck with him threw seven hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Glasnow threw 64 pitches, 27 of them in the first inning. But he allowed two hits and no runs in his stint.

It seemed like that might be enough after home runs by Wander Franco and Manny Margot gave the Rays a 3-0 lead. But Tampa Bay got just five hits (another low output) on the night.

The Rays had a shot in the ninth inning. Franco, who had three of the team's five hits, tripled with one out. He made the turn at third but was held as the throw went up the third-base line.

The next batter, Harold Ramirez, hit a grounder to third base. Franco was going on contact and was caught in a rundown to end the threat.

"When the ball's hit right at you, you’re automatically in no man’s land\," Cash said. "That’s the last place we needed the ball to go and it went there."

The Rays play their next-to-last game of the season tonight in Boston, facing the Red Sox at 7:10 p.m. at Fenway Park. Jeffrey Springs will start for the Rays against Nathan Eovaldi.

Chiefs wallop, redefine Tampa Bay Bucs

by Gary Shelton on October 3, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

The record itself suggests mediocrity. Two wins, two losses, too inconsequential.

Two wins in four games. Nothing special. Nothing dazzling. Nothing that would suggest you are among the Super Bowl favorites. It's a middle-of-the-pack kind of record, a record that suggests the disappointment matches the dazzling.

And today, that says everything about the Tampa Bay Bucs.


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It says they're overrated. It says they're overhyped. It says they have a long, long way to go.

The Bucs were embarrassed by the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night in a 41-31 thrashing (no, it wasn't that close). It was a night that forced fans to re-evaluate their expectations, to re-assess their defense, to lament their lack of a running game. There was no pass rush, too many turnovers and too much Patrick Mahomes. And it was so ugly you might think that Leeman Bennett was back in town.

 “We didn’t play well," said Bucs' coach Todd Bowles. "They did a good job and they kicked our butts all over the field." 

So how can you tell a mediocre football team?

Well, it can't run. (The Bucs rushed six times for three whole yards). It can't cover (Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns). It can't stop the run (the Chiefs ran for 189 yards). It can't cover (Kansas City receivers caught 23 passes. Tight end Travis Kelce caught nine).

It can't stop opponents on third down (the Chiefs converted 75 percent). They turn the ball over (two fumbles. including the opening kickoff). It starts slowly (The Bucs were behind 21-3). They go all night and force one punt. They are dominated in time of possession.

And, remember, they were at home.

Gee. Does anyone remember when this team was 2-0?

The Bucs gave up the most points in game since 2018.\

"Our red zone defense was poor," Bowles said. "Our run defense was poor. Our pass defense was poor. Our  third-down efficiency was poor. We played a poor game and that falls on me.

"You name it we did it. Missed tackles, missed run fits, missed assignments, bad calls. They found a way to play better than we did. They played harder, they played better, they played tougher."

The Bucs eventually came to within 10 points on the strength of Tom Brady's arm. Brady had his best game statistically of the season, throwing for 385 yards. Mike Evans caught eight passes for 103 yards and two scores.

But the Bucs lost the battle on both lines of scrimmage. They were rendered one-dimensional early.

Granted, no one cares how good a team is in October. And with a three-game span that includes Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Carolina, the Bucs have a chance to get things right.

However, as of now, the Bucs need to be re-evaluated. Their young players need to get better. Their defensive line needs to take over. Their running game needs juice. After weeks against Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes, their pass coverage needs to take advantage of lesser quarterbacks.

And here's something else: Maybe people can stop talking about the Super Bowl for a while?

Rays’ offense continues to struggle in loss

by Gary Shelton on October 3, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

They needed a hit. They hungered for a hit. They were desperate for a hit.

And, with runners on the ninth inning Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays turned their eyes to....Miles Mastrobuoni?

With the tying run on base, and with both Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco on the bench, the Rays allowed Mastrobuoni, hitting .188, to go to the plate. And he walked.

And then, with the bases loaded, the Rays looked to ....Tyler Walls?


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Walls, hitting .171, grounded to second base for the final out of a 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros. Once again, the Rays squandered a decent pitching performance. Once again, they didn't hit.

"Before the game, I promised both of them a full day off unless there was an injury," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash.

Do you think the Cleveland Guardians, the Rays' likely opponent in the first round of the playoffs, are nervous? How about the Astros, possibly their second-round opponent?

The Rays had all of 35 hits in their six games against the Astros, and they scored two runs or fewer in five of their games (all losses). The Rays offense has been limited to one run (or fewer) in six of their last seven games. The Rays have been held to one run (or fewer) 29 times this season, including 10 times since the start of September.

Yes, the Astros have a potent offense, but their pitching has absolutely bamboozled the Rays. Only Ji-Man Choi had two hits on Sunday.

The Rays close out their season with a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. In tonight's 7:10 p.m. game, Tyler Glasnow will get the start against Rich Hill.

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