Bucs avoid blowout, but still lose to Kansas City

by Gary Shelton on November 30, 2020

in general

Evans scored twice in the defeat./TIM WIRT

Monday, 4 a.m.

In the bad seasons of the Bucs -- the helpless, hapless, hopeless seasons -- this might have been enough.

The Bucs rallied Sunday. They were playing a great team, and fell behind, and then they came back before narrowly losing. Despite the early images, they managed not to get beat by 100. For the first time in weeks, they showed a bit of fight.

Then again, is this what this season is all about?

About losing close? About moral victories? About almost?

Otherwise, this was just another backslide in an ongoing season for the Bucs, that team of Leftover Stars, of yesterday's heroes.

The Bucs fell to 7-5 on this disappointing season Sunday afternoon, losing to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 27-24.

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Mahomes threw for 462 yards against an overwhelmed Bucs' secondary.

That leaves the Bucs at 7-5 with a quarter of the season to play. All the Bucs' remaining opponents have a losing record, but the Bucs are barely above .500.

"I think defensively, we’ve had our chances to be better," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. "Offensively, it was going to be a work in progress all season. I thought our kicking game has been outstanding for us, which was a problem in the first game only. I’ve seen us get better throughout the season. We’ve just got to win the next one and stay in this playoff hunt. Everybody tried to hand us the Lombardi Trophy in August. You don’t just throw guys out there with names – you’ve got to practice. You’ve got to learn to get in sync with each other – that takes time.”

The Chiefs raced to a 17-0 first quarter lead, as Tyreek Hill caught passes for 203 (of his 261 total) yards. Hill constantly scorched cornerback Carlton Davis III -- regarded by the Bucs as a top-10 corner -- as the Chiefs threatened a blowout. It was the Bucs' third loss in four games.

“He (Carlton Davis III) had him man-to-man," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. "We tried to get a safety to him if we could – you’ve got [Travis] Kelce on the other side, too, so there’s a lot of weapons. When we did play man-to-man, Patrick found him and they made some really good plays.”

The Bucs came back with one of Brady's finest second halves in weeks. Brady finished with 345 yards and three touchdowns. Alas, he threw two more interceptions -- both on heavy rushes.

Brady's second touchdown pass to Mike Evans was with 4:04 to play, seemingly giving the Bucs a chance to pull out the game. However, Mahomes ran for two first downs and threw for a third to allow the Chiefs to run out the clock.

“It’s very frustrating, because very few guys I’ve ever seen in this league – or any league – can backpedal eight, nine, 10, 11 yards in the pocket and throw a dime 25 yards down the field," Arians said. "He has an unbelievable skillset. We had a lot of good rushers on him and he just keeps backpedaling away from it and slings it sidearm or whatever – and he can read the defense as he does it, which makes him even more explosive.”

On the Bucs' defensive inability to get off the field in the final moments, Arians credited Mahomes.

"We stopped the run, we stopped the pass [but] we don’t stop the quarterback scrambling," Arians said. "That was two big first downs. When you have an athletic guy, who can make plays – we knew they were going to throw it, we just had to keep him contained. We kept him in the pocket and he slid up under us. That was a big part of it.”

Brady was pleased with the team's comeback, but unhappy the team fell short.

“We battled back," Brady said. "We unfortunately left ourselves a big deficit to start – got off to a slow start and couldn’t convert any third downs. Just poor execution early and [we got] behind. Players have to do a better job. We’ve got to make the plays that are there – and certainly [on] offense, we’ve got to do our job, stay on the field and keep them off the field.”

The Bucs have a bye week next week, then return in two weeks to face Minnesota at Raymond James Stadium at 1 p.m.

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