Chiefs wallop, redefine Tampa Bay Bucs

by Gary Shelton on October 3, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

The record itself suggests mediocrity. Two wins, two losses, too inconsequential.

Two wins in four games. Nothing special. Nothing dazzling. Nothing that would suggest you are among the Super Bowl favorites. It's a middle-of-the-pack kind of record, a record that suggests the disappointment matches the dazzling.

And today, that says everything about the Tampa Bay Bucs.

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It says they're overrated. It says they're overhyped. It says they have a long, long way to go.

The Bucs were embarrassed by the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night in a 41-31 thrashing (no, it wasn't that close). It was a night that forced fans to re-evaluate their expectations, to re-assess their defense, to lament their lack of a running game. There was no pass rush, too many turnovers and too much Patrick Mahomes. And it was so ugly you might think that Leeman Bennett was back in town.

 “We didn’t play well," said Bucs' coach Todd Bowles. "They did a good job and they kicked our butts all over the field." 

So how can you tell a mediocre football team?

Well, it can't run. (The Bucs rushed six times for three whole yards). It can't cover (Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns). It can't stop the run (the Chiefs ran for 189 yards). It can't cover (Kansas City receivers caught 23 passes. Tight end Travis Kelce caught nine).

It can't stop opponents on third down (the Chiefs converted 75 percent). They turn the ball over (two fumbles. including the opening kickoff). It starts slowly (The Bucs were behind 21-3). They go all night and force one punt. They are dominated in time of possession.

And, remember, they were at home.

Gee. Does anyone remember when this team was 2-0?

The Bucs gave up the most points in game since 2018.\

"Our red zone defense was poor," Bowles said. "Our run defense was poor. Our pass defense was poor. Our  third-down efficiency was poor. We played a poor game and that falls on me.

"You name it we did it. Missed tackles, missed run fits, missed assignments, bad calls. They found a way to play better than we did. They played harder, they played better, they played tougher."

The Bucs eventually came to within 10 points on the strength of Tom Brady's arm. Brady had his best game statistically of the season, throwing for 385 yards. Mike Evans caught eight passes for 103 yards and two scores.

But the Bucs lost the battle on both lines of scrimmage. They were rendered one-dimensional early.

Granted, no one cares how good a team is in October. And with a three-game span that includes Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Carolina, the Bucs have a chance to get things right.

However, as of now, the Bucs need to be re-evaluated. Their young players need to get better. Their defensive line needs to take over. Their running game needs juice. After weeks against Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes, their pass coverage needs to take advantage of lesser quarterbacks.

And here's something else: Maybe people can stop talking about the Super Bowl for a while?

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