Bucs lose another game, this time to Ravens

by Gary Shelton on October 28, 2022

in general

Friday, 4 a.m.

He was the NFL's Forever Man. He was eternal. He was ageless.

These days, he is a 45-year-old man, and he looks every day of it. His teammates around him are too young, or too old, or too slow, or too brittle. For once, he can do nothing about it.

Tom Brady remains the biggest threat in the Bucs' offensive huddle, and the cries of disgruntled fans to give another quarterback a shot is merely the sounds of season gone wrong.

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But even a reasonable man has to admit this: Tom Brady is not playing very well. His team has lost five of its last six games, and the offense looks lost, and the defense can't stop anyone. And meanwhile, the losing goes on. A late touchdown made it 27-22, Baltimore, but somehow, the loss felt more lopsided.

It has taken more than 20 years for Brady to look his age, but it seems to have happened suddenly. It has been a stunning sight.

Along the way, there were the typical shortcomings of the Bucs. They couldn't run the ball (2.9 yards per carry). They couldn't stop the run (231 yards by the Ravens). They looked slow. They tackled poorly. Their play calling seemed uninspired.

"It hurts," Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. "But it comes in different ways. We've got to score points in the red zone, and we've got to play four quarters on defense. In the second half, we missed a bunch of tackles and got wore down.

"We're 3-5. We own that."

It feels worse of course. In most of their bad years, and there are many, no one expected the Bucs to be very good. But this team was supposed to own the NFC South and compete for a Super Bowl berth.

“It is still dark," Bowles said. "Until you win ball games consistently, and play four quarters consistently, it is going to be dark. That doesn’t mean we can’t get out of it. We just have a lot of work to do, as coaches and as players.”

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh actually did the Bucs a favor, coming out throwing. It didn't work. The Ravens ran for just 27 yards in the first half.

In the second half, it was different. The Ravens rolled for 204 yards, owning the Bucs' defense.

Leonard Fournette led the team in rushing with 24 yards.

“You know, I think we struggled in pretty much at everything,"Brady said. "We just struggled in the red area, struggled on third down, struggled in the run game, two-point plays, short yardage, when backed up, at the start of the first quarter, start of the third quarter – not very good offensive football.

“I don’t think anyone feels good. [We’ve] lost four of five, so not where we want to be, but we haven’t earned it. We’ve got to go earn it. You got to go earn it. You’ve got to fight hard and figure out how to win games.”

Brady ended up passing for 325 yards, but he didn't look good between the team's opening touchdown and it's last-minute, meaningless touchdown. He threw several bad balls over the course of the game.

“Nothing is surprising," Bowles said. "You are what your record says you are. You try to work your way out of it and put your head down. You can be pissed off and do everything you want, but until you do something about it, you have to own it. So, we own that, and we understand that.”

The Bucs' next game is a week from Sunday, Nov. 6, at Raymond James against the Rams.

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