Late starts, good teams plague Bucs again

by Gary Shelton on November 24, 2020

in general

Brady struggled against Rams./TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

For all the punchlines, for all the the suggestion that the Bucs are merely a team of stars struggling in the dark, perhaps the difference isn't between day and night, after all.

These days, perhaps the difference is between good and bad.

The Tampa Bay Bucs lost, once again, to a team in contention for the post-season. This time it was 27-25 to the Rams, but it wasn't as close as the score would indict.

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For most of the season, the Bucs have been an up-and-down football team, losing to the top teams they have played -- the Saints and the Rams -- and have beaten the worst of them -- the Panthers and the Giants. Yes, they also beat the Packers, but that's the only top-flight team the Bucs have been sucessful against.Good teams, and good teams with good pass rushes, have given the Bucs' and quarterback Tom Brady fits.

"We're still trying to figure that out," said Bucs' coach Bruce Arians. "At times, we look really, really good and at times we don't. I felt very comfortable in the two-minute drive until that (last) throw."

This? This was closer, but for much of the game, both Bucs' lines were overwhelmed by the Rams. Their pass rush wasn't good, and they struggled to keep the Rams' pass rush away from Tom Brady, who had a less than ordinary night. The Goat? Maybe we should give another barnyard animal a shot.

The Bucs, who now are home against the Chiefs, continued to sputter. Brady had a rating of only 62.5. The Bucs' running backs had less than 3.0 average per carry and were ineffectual in the passing game. The secondary was lit up by the Rams' Jared Goff, who threw for 376 yards.

Even worse is the fact that Brady and the Bucs had the football with 2:32 to play and yet another chance to pull out a victory. However, his throw down the middle was intercepted by Jordon Fuller. It was Brady's ninth deep pass of the night; he completed just one.

"Just a bad read," said Brady. "Cam was running up the seam. At the last second, I saw the safety coming over and I popped it over his head. Bad read,. bad throw,. decision. Everything. It can’t happen."

After getting physically beaten in two of their last three games, no one is likely to put the Bucs' on the short list of Super Bowl contenders.

So what do you feel good about? The running game? With the exception of Carolina, it hasn't shown up in a month. The offensive line? Without Ali Marpet, it's struggling. The quarterback? It's his load, but he needs help? The receivers? Still not enough production? The secondary? They gave up 145 yards s to Cooper Kupp and 130 to Robert Woods.

Yeah, yeah. Arians suggested the Rams didn't throw deep very often. Well, so what? Arians is right that the tackling was poor, but the coverage didn't have enough plays, either.

"Everyone's disappointed," Arians said. "We played a game that we didn't make quite enough plays to win. We know where we stand and the next one's even bigger."

On his team's margin of error, Arians said Iit's very, very slim."

Perhaps, before planning your Super Bowl parties, you should think so, too.

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