Bucs lose another disappointing game

by Gary Shelton on October 24, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

It was embarrassing. It was unwatchable. It was absurd.

Also, ditto.

It was sloppy. It was uninspired. It was disappointing.


You’ve heard this before, but the Tampa Bay Bucs are stuck in a rut right out of the Raheem Morris resume, only with more on-paper talent. They are a team that is supposed to be competing for the playoffs, but instead, they seem to be focused on the draft. Sunday's 21-3 expose at the hands of the disassembling Carolina Panthers should remove all doubt as to how much this team is struggling.

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For the second straight week, the Bucs humiliated themselves so thoroughly they night as well have run around their field with their pants down. The Bucs weren't just beaten, they were clubbed by a bad football team that was selling off its parts.

"We’re not playing well as individuals," said coach Todd Bowles. "We’re not playing well as a team. We’re not coaching it well. All the way around. We’re not scoring enough on offense, we’re not stopping them enough on defense. As a result, we have to wear this on our sleeve. We’re going to see what people can handle adversity. This is about as dark as it's going to be."

This keeps happening. The Bucs keep playing games against depleted opponents, and they keep tripping over their own feet, and then they talk about playing better. Meanwhile, the Bucs are now 3-4, and they've lost four of their last five games. Few teams in the NFL are in as deep a funk as the Bucs. The way they are playing, no one should consider them a playoff contender.

The Bucs lost without even scoring a touchdown. It was only the fourth time a Tom Brady-led offense has been held to three points or less in his 323 starts.

Except for a dropped touchdown pass by Mike Evans, however, it isn't like the Bucs squandered a lot of points. They couldn't run at all against the 1-5 Panthers. Their receivers struggled to get separation. Their defense was horrible.

"If you don't execute, it doesn't matter who is on the other sideline," Brady said.

Brady ended up throwing for 290 yards, but he wasn't sharp. Still, the Bucs had no other way to complete in this one. Carolina, behind XFL grad P.J. Walker, diced the Bucs up. They ran for 167 yards, and Walker hit 16 of 22 passes.

The Bucs ran for just 46 yards. But think about this: Leonard Fournette had a 9-yard run and Rachaad White had an 11-yarder. Take those two runs away and the Bucs ran it 14 times for 26 yards.

It's easy to wonder the last time the Bucs have lost two more embarrassing games than this his one and last week's Pittsburgh game. Maybe 2014, when Lovie Smith's team gave up 65 points to St. Louis and New Orleans. Maybe it was 2011, when Raheem Morris' team gave up 93 points in losses to Atlanta and Carolina. Maybe you have to back to Sam Wyche, or Leeman Bennett, or John McKay. In those years, however, no one suspected the Bucs had any talent.

This was ugly. This was unsatisfactory. This was heads-should-roll bad.

Bowles, however, was steadfast that he wouldn't replace any of his coaches.

The Bucs are home on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

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