Bucs want winning streak to begin Sunday

by Gary Shelton on November 9, 2021

in general

David wants the Bucs to stop beating themselves./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

From here, they know the way home. From here, they know the expectations.

They are at the halfway point -- roughly -- and they have underachieved. Again. They have let a game slip away with mistakes and penalties. Again. And they know what it will take to win big. Again.

"Our expectation is to win every game, but we can only do that this week," Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said. "Our expectation right now is just to practice as hard as we can to eliminate the mistakes that we're making in games and play better each week. No long-term goals other than to make sure today was the best day we had."

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The Bucs are 6-2, just behind the Arizona Cardinals for the top seed in the NFC. But they have been sluggish at times throughout the first half. Too many fourth quarters, they have found themselves in dogfights.

The Bucs lost their last outing, despite coming back to take a lead in the fourth period. Penalties hurt throughout.

"I mean, I thought we already fixed it," Arians said. "We hit the quarterback in the head too many times. You have to be very careful if you're jumping to bat a ball on where you land, especially with the rules the way they are now. Again, we'll wait and see next time. We could go with one penalty and then come back with 10 or 11. It's something we have to be very, very aware of."

Linebacker Lavonte David compared the penalties to last year's defeat in Chicago.

"Very similar because it was a game we could have won," David said. "A game we should have won. We can talk about this because it was the last game, but it’s definitely a game we wish we could have back. But we just have to move forward from it and we have to learn from it. Me personally, I feel we all did.

"It definitely put a bad taste in our mouth when you lose a game like that because of those situations. We definitely have a group of mature men that understand what it was that cost us so we’re definitely going to get better from it. Coach ‘BA’ (Bruce Arians) already made an emphasis on us as leaders and captains in the locker room. Certain other players have kind of already spoke on it. We know that’s something that hurt us, so we definitely have to be better at it.”

David wants to see that cleaned up before Sunday's game in Washington.

“That’s just the basic thing: no Bucs beating Bucs," David said. "That stuff is just old. We can’t have that creeping back up for us to be a team that we want to be. We’re a good football team and we’re capable of beating a lot of teams when we go out there and play. At the end of the day, we can’t win if we’re out there with 10 penalties a game and stuff like that. A lot more stuff was added, but obviously that was the main thing. We just can’t go out there and beat ourselves when we’re out there playing football. This game is already hard to win, so when you add on penalties and stuff like that it’s going to be even tougher. We’re not trying to put that on ourselves."

Washington doesn't have one of the more elite quarterbacks in the league, but Taylor Heinicke gave the Bucs more fits in last post season than Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.

(On playing against Washington QB Taylor Heinicke in last year's Wild Card game)

"He can play," Arians said. "He can run. And he threw some great balls in that game. I think that team plays really, really hard for him, and I like the way he plays."

The Bucs play in Washington Sunday at 1 p.m.

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