Looking back at the Bucs loss to the Bills

by Gary Shelton on October 24, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Koetter has to turn Bucs' season around./JEFFREY S. KING

Koetter has to turn Bucs' season around./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

5 Observations

1. It wasn't the defeat that struck you so much in Sunday's game. It was the suddenness, like the floor of the gallows disappearing. Buffalo is a team that is limited offensively, but it took only 45 seconds to cover 75 yards (about the same as a typical Bucs' safety). While watching the Bucs' lose, you wondered this: How did they ever beat the Giants?

2. Losing teams fracture. That was the first thought I had when T.J. Ward and Chris Baker whined about playing time Sunday. Frankly, this is bigger than their egos. The media isn't going to give them more playing time, so why not take it up with their coaches?

3. The Bucs now lead the NFL in passing with 312.3 yards per game. On the other hand, the Bucs' running backs, behind the same offensive line, are 30th in the

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league in rushing. Isn't it time to debate the blueprint of this team? There are no pass rushers, and now, there appear to be no offensive rushers.

4. The Bucs' final play took 43 seconds. The Bills winning drive took 45. Any questions?

5. I love O.J. Howard. But I'll ask again. In the first round, didn't the Bucs have bigger needs than a tight end?


(From Dirk Koetter's day-after press conference)

(On the 44-yard pass late in the game to Buffalo's Deonte Thompson): “They ran a three-wide-receiver set to one side with a tight end on the backside. We checked the coverage and both of our safeties were out of position on that play. The other thing is, as I’ve mentioned multiple times, your rush and your coverage – that’s a very difficult play to cover and they executed it well. I’ve tried to put that play in multiple times over the years and the reason you don’t see that play very often is it’s just a very slow-developing play. It takes a long time. (Tyrod) Taylor stepped up in the pocket so he had a lot of time to throw and he found the right guy. We didn’t handle it the right way with the positioning of our safeties.”

(On the comments of safety T.J. Ward, who said he wants more playing time): “When you lose games and you lose a game that you probably should have won like that, everybody is frustrated. It’s just human nature to be frustrated. I didn’t hear him, so all of this is second-hand to me, but everyone is frustrated. I talked to the team about all of our issues [being] self-inflicted right now — the majority of our issues are self-inflicted. We’re the only ones who can fix them. I talked to the players today about anybody that is frustrated or has an issue – the best way to take care of an issue on a team is to go to someone who can do something about it. The second thing — in T.J. (Ward’s) case ironically enough, I did have a sit-down with T.J. in my office last Thursday and I laid out exactly what he could do better.”

(On the defensive problems besides missed tackles): “Eight of their plays accounted for almost half of their yardage. Eight plays accounted for 200 yards of their 400 and change. Five of those eight plays were on third down. All of those plays — the thing they had in common — we either had a missed tackle or we let the quarterback out of the pocket and he either ran with it or threw with it and we dropped coverage.”

(On the state of the Bucs): “The only thing you can do right now is you’ve got to get one game. I showed the guys the division standings and we are what we’ve earned to this point. The fact that some other teams got beat in our division is in our favor. It is a factor [that] we have not played division games and those games can move you up fast. We have to play better football as a team. We have to coach better football. You’ve got to get one. You’ve just got to get one win.”

(On the play of Vernon Hargreaves III, who was moved to nickel): “I think Vernon played better. Obviously when you are playing nickel, depending on what the other team does with their personnel — his snap count was basically cut in half and that’s dictated by how much nickel defense we are in. We were pleased with the way Vernon responded and that’s the first step.”

5 of the Best Takes

"It was looking grim. I imagine fans at home were kicking the keg and flashing back to similar meltdowns during the drought. I was reflecting on the fact that the Bills had blown an identical 17-6 lead almost one year to the day earlier at Miami, sending the season into a downward spiral."

-- Jerry Sullivan, Buffalo News

"So they're 4-2, tied for second with the Dolphins in the muddled AFC East behind the 5-2 Patriots. OK, let's not forget that they were also 4-2 a year ago, riding a four-game winning streak that had us believing Rex and Rob Ryan might not be incompetent clowns after all."

-- Sullivan, Buffalo News

"You know what? Maybe these aren't the same old Bills we've come to loath for the way they  have managed, so often, to transform victories into incomprehensible defeats. Here was a game that certain seemed ready to be downloaded into that ever-growing  database of mortifying losses that have defined the Bills for 17 years."

   -- Sal Malorana, Democrat and Chronicle

"With this back-and-forth contest of wills tied and just 2:28 left to play, it was  Tampa Bay's for the taking. Sure the talented Winston, who had already tossed three second-half touchdowns and was on his way to  400 -plus yards passing, sure with all his weapons, including DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and O.J. Howard, would  methodically move into range for the winning field goal. It was sure as suds on a Genny. But this is 2017, right?"

-- Leo  Roth, Democrat and Chronicle

"It wasn’t all great for the Bills. For instance, they made almost a game-losing mistake at the end of the first half by not getting any points with some awful clock management."

-- Joe Buscaglia, WKBW

5 Ways the Bucs' defense has slipped

2016                                                                   2017

10                     Total Defense                         30

11                      Pass Defense                          30

t-9                            Sacks                                32

1                   Third Down Pct.                        31

15                 Opp. QB Ranking                      29

5 Mock Draft Results

Bleacher Report      12      Harold Landry, Boston College     DE-LB

CBSSports.com       14       Ronnie Harrison, Alabama           CB

Draft Tek                    8      Harold Landry, Boston College     DE-LB

SECCountry.com    17       Bradley Chubb, NC State                DE

Walterfootball.com    9     Bradley Chubb, NC State                DE

Game Burns

Offense: In the development of a quarterback, it's important to have him along for the ride on ocassion. Not so with Jameis Winston, who continues to be the Bucs' most reliable weapon as far as points.  Winton was the Best Buc on Sunday; that isn't necessarily bragging.

Defense: Lavonte David had 14 tackles, including 12 solos. He also forced a fumble. Sadly, there isn't nearly enough competition to be the Bucs' best.

Special teams: Patrick Murray made you forget about the Bucs' kicking history for a day.

5 Painful Losses

1.10-6-03: The Bucs lead Indianapolis 28-7, but the Colts rally behind Peyton Manning and win for former Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy.

2. 10-25-15: The Bucs lead Washington 24-0 at one point. But the Redskins rally and win 31-30.

3. 12-6-92: The Bucs lead the Rams 27-3 at one point. However, the Rams come back and win 31-27.

4. 11-9-03:This one may sound familiar. The Bucs led Carolina 24-20 late in the game. But in a 78-yard drive that took 105 seconds, Jake Delhomme led the Panthers to a 27-24 win.

5.  12-24-00: With nine seconds to go, the Bucs seemed to have it all. They were about to beat Green Bay, win the division title and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. Instead, Martin Gramatica missed a 40-yard field goal and the Bucs went on to lose in overtime. That sent them to Philadelphia a week later, and the team lost in an upset.


Quarterback: Winston wasn't perfect. He threw a pick, and he misfired deep again. But he threw for 384 yards, and he led his team from 11 down to the lead. Winston could have led his team to touchdowns earlier, but it's hard to pin this one on Winston. Grade: B+.

Running back: Of Doug Martin's 20 runs, 14 of them were for three yards or fewer.  Martin is 122nd in the NFL with a 3.7 average. Grade: D.

Offensive line: A mixed bag. The Bucs pass protected well, but they did little in the running game. The game will forever be remembered by Donovan Smith's whiff on a sack fumble. Grade: C.

Defensive line: What defensive line?: Grade: F.

Linebackers: Both David and Kwon Alexander showed up. It would be nice if some linemen would make tackles now and again. Grade: C.

Defensive backs: Moving Vernon Hargreaves III inside seemed to help some. But 45 seconds? That's just silly. Grade: F.

Special teams: Bryan Anger couldn't keep the ball out of the end zone, but Patrick Murray was good. Grade: C+.

Coaching: Too many average opponents turn super against the Bucs. Grade: D-.

5 Defensive ends who didn't rush the passer, either

     Player                     Year        Career Sacks

1. Booker Reese              3              2

2. Da'Quan Bowers         5              7

3. Keith McCants            3            12

4. Eric Curry                    5            12.5

5. Regan Upshaw            4            18.5

5 All-Time receiving touchdowns

  1. Jimmie Giles                       34
  2. Mike Evans                          31
  3. Kevin House                        31
  4. Joey Galloway                     28
  5. Mark Carrier                       27

Winston's 5 best yardage games

Opponent, Date           Yards    TDs  Int.  C-A     Rating  Result

1.  Rams   9-25-16           405     3      1     36-58     93.0      L

2. Bills    10-22-17           385    3      1      32-44     85.0      L

3.  Rams  12-17-15         363     2     1       39-58      85.7      L

4. Pats    10-5-17              334    0     0      26-45     86.7      L

5. Chiefs  11-20-16          331     1     0       24-39     97.3      W

2-4 Starts

Year         Coach            Final Record

1980         McKay             5-10-1

1982         McKay             5-4  (Strike year)

1988         Perkins            5-11

1994         Wyche             6-10

2006       Gruden            4-12

2012       Schiano            7-9

2015       Smith             6-10

A look ahead

 5 Great Panthers

1. Julius Peppers

2. Steve Smith Jr.

3. Greg Olsen

4. Cam Newton

5. Luke Kuechly

5 Favorite Panthers

1. Sam Mills

2. Kevin Greene

3. Jake Delhomme

4. John Kasay

5. Hardy Nickerson

Best Game

Wherever Josh Freeman is today, and whatever he is doing, he will probably remember the 2012 game against the Panthers.

As a pro quarterback, that was as good as it got. As a Buccaneer, you might call it Freeman's going out of business special.

Freeman would win only one more game as a Tampa Bay quarterback. But no one knew that when he led his team from an 11-point deficit to beat the Panthers, 27-21. Freeman trailed by eight points with 62 seconds left and no time outs.

After the game, teammates talked about what a competitor Freeman was. Mike Williams called him "elite." But Freeman would soon run out of chances to lead the Bucs.

For one day, however, Freeman was a star.

Imagine he thinks about that day?

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