Bucs suffer familiar loss as they hope for improvement

by Gary Shelton on September 9, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Jameis Winston had a rating of just 45.4./STEVEN MUNCIE

Monday, 4 a.m.

Same old Bucs.

Same old Jameis Winston.

Same old lack of hope.

The new and hopefully improved Tampa Bay Bucs opened their season Sunday afternoon, and frankly, it felt familiar. Once again, the Bucs were plagued by turnovers and penalties. Once again, they were sloppy with the football. And once again, they failed to show any reason you would think this year could be better.

In the end, they lost to a pedestrian San Francisco team, 31-17, behind two interceptions off of Winston that they returned for touchdowns.

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Vernon Hargreaves III after getting a touchdown./STEVEN MUNCIE

It was all hauntingly familiar, from the way new coach Bruce Arians talked as he attempted to say that Winston's three interceptions really, really weren't that bad. But Bucs' fans know. They can count the turnovers. They can count the penalties. And they can count all the lost seasons since this team mattered.

Where do they go from here? Where do they find their feeling that this year might

Devin White celebrates after stopping the 49ers defense./STEVEN MUNCIE

be better than the skeptics believe?

There were so many Bucs' moments. For instance, Winston threw to the same guy (Cam Brate) for two touchdowns on a single drive, but a holding penalty by the same guy (Demar Dotson) cost them both times.

The Bucs went for a fourth-and-goal at the two, but didn't make it.

They had a fourth-down sack negated by a holding penalty.

“Obviously, not the outcome we were looking for,"said coach Bruce Arians. "I think you can account it to one thing, and that’s turnovers. We talked all week about winning the turnover battle and when it’s four to two, it’s always going to be tough. Especially, (when) we get a pick-six, then we give up two. There’s a lot of good things we’ll build off of. (With a) short week, it’s not going to be easy. But, we’ll be at

Chris Godwin with a touchdown./STEVEN MUNCIE

work tomorrow and watch this film. Learn from it. Grade it. There were some really bright spots and areas that we can build off of and also learn why we’re losing instead of winning. That one is pretty easy. We’ll have a practice before Thursday night.”

Arians said Winston's first pick-six came after he threw against the wrong opponent.

“It was a hitch," Arians said.. "(Quarterback Jameis Winston) threw a hitch. Just don’t throw it against (San Francisco cornerback) Richard Sherman to a running back. Learn from it.

“That last interception, he’s trying to throw a screen and the back doesn’t get out. He’s trying to throw the ball away. But, he had already gotten the one grounding call, so just throw it further. Or, throw it at somebody’s feet. We teach them to throw itat their feet. I think it was just that he tried to throw it away. It was a bad play.”

To be fair, Arians took the blame for going for it on fourth-and-2 and running a botched play.

Cameron Brate had two scores called back./STEVEN MUNCIE

“We had first and goal from the 10 (yard line) a couple of times (and) don’t score," Arians said. "One from the 11 (yard line) there at the end. I probably got greedy, should have taken the three points and kept it a three-point game. But, I felt really good about our defense. If we don’t make it, we’re going to get it back at the 50 (yard line) with a lot of time left. Obviously, we didn’t want a field goal in that. We wanted a touchdown and again we we’re in two-down territory and we get a sack. Overall, I thought our offensive line played really well.”

Ndamukong Suh celebrates after stopping the 49ers./STEVEN MUNCIE

Arians thought the defense played well until the end.

“Yeah, up until that last drive," Arians said. "(We) gave up the three, we needed a three-and-out and give the offense a chance to get back down there. But, I thought the first half was outstanding. They were put in short fields (and) they got three (points) or nothing. Especially, the turnover at the half (where) the defense scores. So, overall, there are some things. We missed a lot of tackles and again; penalties. We were our own worst enemy. We’ve got them stopped and again, whether it’s pass interference oR not, it was called.”

Winston didn't exactly point the finger at himself.

"You just have to move on to the next game and get better," Winston said. "That’s all I can say. I think they were just unfortunate. That’s the only way I can put it.”

Arians said that Winston is in a growing stage.

“It is still a thing of growth," Arians said. "You have a screen pass called. He could have thrown a quick out to the other side. But, that is usually in a hot situation. Our running back, young running back, goes inside and doesn’t get out on the screen. So, throw it away. He was attempting to throw it away, I think. The other one was just a bad matchup.”

Ronald Jones II powers through Richard Sherman./STEVEN MUNCIE

Some bright spots for the Bucs? The defense allowed just 17 points. Running back Ronald Jones ran for 75 yards.

“I’m really proud of how my guys fought on that side of the ball, because we kept getting in some situations, but we embraced them," rookie linebacker Devin White said. "We were trying to stand tall because defense wins championships – that’s the motto that you always want to have. Even if you’ve got the best offense in the world, you just want to keep that same mentality – defense wins ball games. People see it out there. If you were watching us, we were trying to stand our ground, but we’ve got to get better, get more takeaways because we’ve got goals for us as a defense. Then we’ve (got to) come together with the offense and play as a team.”

Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves returned an interception for a touchdown.

“Just making a play on the ball," Hargreaves said. "(I had my) eyes on the

Shaquil Barrett sacks Garoppolo./STEVEN MUNCIE

quarterback, making a quick read – a quick three-step read – and just making a play.”

Tackle Demar Dotson said the Bucs let one get away.

"It’s just turnovers, man, and penalties," Dotson said. "We had too many turnovers and we had too many penalties  and that messed us up. And we got into the red zone and didn’t come up with touchdowns. That hurt too – we had it right there on the two-yard line and we should’ve got seven but we walked away with nothing. Things like that – we’ve got to come away with touchdowns and we didn’t. We did a bad job of beating ourselves and we’ve got to go back and stop that. If we do a better job of not beating ourselves, then we can beat somebody else.

“I don’t know if we didn’t do a good job of exerting our will. I know we had some good runs. I think we did a decent job up front of running the ball. I don’t think we did a bad job of protection. I know we had a couple breakdowns and a couple sacks, but overall, I just think it comes down to penalties and I think if we eliminate those dumb penalties that we had, we’ll win this football game.”

The Bucs travel to Carolina to play the Panthers on Thursday night at 8:20 p.m.

Bruce Arians says the Bucs can learn from defeat./STEVEN MUNCIE


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