Looking back at the Bucs’ loss to Carolina

by Gary Shelton on October 31, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Koetter and Winston were both stopped Sunday./CARMEN MANDATO

Koetter and Winston were both stopped Sunday./CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Observations

1. Was there ever anything better about this year's Bucs, or were we just fooling ourselves? At this point, both thoughts are possible. I think we were fooled because the team finished strong last year, because we approved of free agency, because we liked the draft and because Hard Knocks kept telling us how this was a team on the verge. Instead, it's been one mess after another. The defense was horrible against Arizona and Buffalo. The offense was awful against New England and Carolina. In all, this may be one of the most disappointing seasons since 2003, when the Bucs followed up a Super Bowl with a 7-9 season. Yuck.

2. Dirk Koetter blames the wind. Maybe someone else blames the earth's gravitational pull. But Jameis Winston wasn't the same quarterback Sunday that he has been. Maybe he's hurt, and maybe he isn't. But it looks that way. And the Bucs are being dishonest with their fans if they don't admit it.

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3. I'm not real smart, but when the Bucs made their trade in the 2012 draft, I thought they were going after Luke Kuechly. If only. Kuechly remains one of the better defensive players in the league. Mark Barron, who the team took, isn't in the same area code. A terrible, terrible draft pick.

4. Carolina could have fielded Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor, Deion Sanders, Darrell Greene, Bruce Smith, Dan Hampton, Von Miller and Ronnie Lott and the Bucs wouldn't have had more problems moving the ball.

5. How in the world did this team beat Kansas City and Seattle last year?

5 of the Best Takes

"A record of 5-3 is kind of hard to get a handle on. It’s not unbelievable. It’s not terrible. As Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of what 5-3 means: “I think it’s good enough, but there’s a problem about being good enough. Sometimes good enough is not good enough.”

-- Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer

"Nothing was outstandingly discouraging in this loss. The wind has blowing too long in the same direction for me to piss on Rivera’s clock management. I’m just counting it as a win that we were never in a position to seriously question a decision to punt. The offensive line was a mixed bag against a solid Bucs defensive front."

-- Walker Clement, Cat Scratch Reader

Tampa Bay came into the game ranked No. 2 in total offense in the NFL and No. 1 in passing offense, and the Panthers outfoxed Jameis Winston and company beautifully. It was the fourth time in eight games Carolina has not allowed a defensive touchdown.

-- Fowler

"You’ve got to give the Optimism Award Sunday to Tampa Bay safety T.J. Ward. After the Buccaneers dropped their fourth straight game to fall to 2-5, he was asked if Tampa Bay could still be a great football team. “Absolutely,” Ward said. “I think 11-5 is a pretty good record. Of course, that’s us having to win every game from now, but it’s still possible.”

-- Fowler

"With his strip-sack in the second quarter, defensive end Julius Peppers passed Hall of Famer Chris Doleman for fourth most all-time. Peppers now has 151.0 career sacks and 7.5 this year, giving him at least 7.0 sacks for the 15th time in his 16-year career. "

-- Bill Both, Panthers.com

Winston struggled against the Panthers./CARMEN MADATO

Winston struggled against the Panthers./CARMEN MADATO


From Dirk Koetter's day-after press conference

(On how much Winston has been affected by not throwing in practice): “There’s no way to measure that — how much he was affected. It was the exact same as the week before and I believe that Jameis played one of his better games against Buffalo, and it was exactly the same as that. How do you put a measurement on that? I don’t know the answer to that. As far as moving forward, nothing will be decided on that until Wednesday based on what the medical staff says and how Jameis feels.”

(On the offensive line drawing penalties): “We had six penalties for the game and zero on defense, two on special teams and four on offense. Unfortunately, the timing of those offensive ones, the three major penalties we had on offense were all on first down. Actually, there were four: One on Peyton (Barber), two on Donovan (Smith) and one on J.R. (Sweezy). The one on Peyton negated an explosive pass to Mike (Evans). Unfortunate timing I would say would be the main thing. I don’t think there’s any common denominator. Donovan got beat one time, was trying to recover and got his hands in (Julius Peppers’) face and it was a good call. J.R. was trying to recover on one, but I don’t think there is any common denominator.”

3. (On Winston): “Yeah, it was not Jameis’ best game. He played much better the week before against Buffalo. Jameis missed some throws that he normally makes. Again, I can’t explain why he would play so well in Buffalo and then miss some throws. The one thing that was different is it was much windier yesterday. That was about as windy of a game as I’ve been in in a long time in the NFL. I’m not sure how much that affected him.”

4. (On whether the Bucs were caught up in the preseason hype):  “I can see how you would ask that, but I also don’t see how you can measure that. As you said, I feel like we did continually talk to our guys about that. I think we have strong leadership on our team. I think we have mature guys for the most part. Obviously, that’s a theory that could be true, but I just don’t know how you would prove it and I don’t know what the evidence is.”

5. (On his confidence in the team to bounce back): "I have 100 percent confidence in that because I believe in their ability. I told the guys today, ‘When you’re winning, the confidence grows.’ There’s no better example right now than the team we play this week. New Orleans started off 1-2 and now they’ve won four in a row. You can see it on the tape. I’ve been looking at some tape this afternoon. They’ve always had confidence on offense, but you can see their confidence on defense. The same holds true the other way when you lose four in a row. It’s not so much your confidence because we’ve got confident players. These players have all done it before or they wouldn’t be in the NFL. It’s your belief. It’s your belief in the system, your belief in each other, your belief in the other side of the ball, your belief in your teammates — very rarely is it belief in self.”

5 Coaches Who Wanted More Time

1. Leeman Bennett        2            4-18           .125

2. Richard Williams      1+          4-15           .211

3. Lovie Smith              2             8-24         .250

4. Greg Schiano           2           11-21             .344

5. Raheem Morris       3           17-31             .354

(Dirk Koetter is currently 11-12.)

5 Mock Draft Thoughts

1. Bleacher Report     5        OT   Connor Williamson

2. Walter Football     6        DE    Bradley Chubb

3.  CBSsports             6            S   Derwin James

4. BigLead                 6            S Minkah Fitzpatrick

5. Draftek                 8          DE  Harold Landry

5 Bad Games by Jameis Winston

Opponent       Date         Rating

1. Arizona      9-18-16      39.2

2. Denver      10-2-15       40.1

3. Carolina     10-30-15    49.2

4. Dallas         12-18-16     55.3

5. Dallas         11-15-15      55.9

Kwon Alexander celebrates a tackle./CARMEN MANDATO

Kwon Alexander celebrates a tackle./CARMEN MANDATO

Game Burns

Defense: Kwon Alexander has been injured for  most of the season. Sunday, he showed the Bucs what they have missed.Alexander had 10 tackles, including two for losses, as the defense was better than it has been lately.

Offense: Doug Martin ran hard Sunday. He still gets hit behind the line of scrimmage too often, but he had 71 yards against a tough Carolina defense.

Special teams: Patrick Murray still hasn't missed in his return to Tampa Bay. Where was he earlier?

Previous 2-5 Starts

Year         Coach           Final record

1988        Perkins               5-11

1993         Wyche                5-11

1994         Wyche               5-10

2004        Gruden              5-11

2006        Gruden              4-12

2012        Schiano               7-9

Mike Evans had five catches agsint the Panthers./CARMEN MANDATO

Mike Evans had five catches against the Panthers./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Other Disappointing seasons

1. 1976. Say what you want about a brand-new team. It still had to be disappointing to go 0-14 with the worst offense in the league.

2. 2003. The Bucs were coming off a dominating win in the Super Bowl, and they crushed Philadelphia in the opener. But they blew a big lead against the Colts and settled into a 7-9 season.

3. 1980. The Bucs went from worst to first the year before, reaching the NFC title game. But in 1980, the team fell to 5-10-1. It finished the season going 1-6.

4. 2008. With a month to go in the season, the Bucs were 9-3 and headed to the playoffs. Then defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin resigned, and the team fell into a hole. It gave up 123 points in its last four games, and Jon Gruden was fired.

5.1986. The Bucs won two close games, but lost the rest under Leeman Bennett (2-14 the year before). The team also failed to sign No. 1 draft pick Bo Jackson.


Quarterback: Winston struggled, whether it was the wind or his damaged shoulder. His 49.2 grade was the third-worst of his career, and he was scattered throwing the ball. Grade: F.

Running back: Doug Martin didn't average four yards a carry despite several nice runs. Martin does seem to be hit a lot at the line of scrimmage. Grade: B-.

Wide receivers: Mike Evans had several drops in the game. Those would have helped Winston's total. Grade: C.

Offensive line: The line had a tough day, giving up three sacks and suffering several penalties. Grade: F.

Defensive line: There still weren't any sacks. No near-sacks, either. Grade: D.

Linebackers: Alexander's return highlighted the play. Grade: B.

Defensive backs: Considering the Bucs were without their starting cornerbacks, the unit played fairly well. Chris Conte  had nine tackles and an interception. Grade: B.

Special teams: The Bucs got their three points from kicker Patrick Murray. Whee!

5 Top Penalty Players

1. Donovan Smith      13     105

2. Demar Dotson        11       95

3. Jameis Winston       7       53

4. Ali Marpet                  6      47

5. Hawley                        5       53

Looking Ahead

5 Greatest Saints

1. Drew Brees

2. Rickey Jackson

3. Willie Roaf

4. Archie Manning

5. Morten Andersen

5 Favorite Saints

1. Danny Abramowicz

2. Tom Dempsey

3. Joe Horne

4. Doug Atkins

5. Paul (the apostle)

Best Game

Can there be any other than the Bucs' first victory ever back in 1977, a 33-14 win that left Saints coach Hank Stram talking about how embarrassed he was.  It came after 26 straight losses.

"I can't wait to get into the dressing room so I can cry," said linebacker Richard (Batman) Wood. "A grown man ought not to cry out here in front of these people."

The Bucs returned three interceptions for touchdowns and had six for the day. Lee Roy Selmon had three sacks.

Gary Huff got the win for the Bucs. He was Tampa Bay's sixth starting quarterback in two seasons.

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