Looking back at the Bucs’ loss to the Giants

by Gary Shelton on September 24, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Matt Gay walks off after his miss./© Joe Mestas

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Thoughts

1. Hours after the Bucs gift-wrapped a victory for the New York Giants is no time to think about turnarounds. But the Bucs to me seem like a flawed but improved team. Still, if you lost a "defeat," by golly, they'll find it for you.

2. One of the cliches a losing team falls back on without thinking of how dumb it sounds is when it says of its kicker "we shouldn't have put him in that position." What? You should not have put him in position to make a gloried putt to win a game? Isn't that his job? Besides the Bucs never took a shot at the end zone. From the time Mike Evans caught the 43-yard pass, the team played for that missed field goal. They lived to put Matt Gay in that position.

3. I might have been wrong about the alleged improvement of the Bucs' defense.

4. If you think about it, the Bucs are a foot away from being 0-3.

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5. In the history of ever, have the Bucs ever covered a tight end?

Arians saw his team fall to 1-2./© Joe Mestas


(From Bruce Arians' day-after press conference)

(On the defense):  Defensively, I thought our front seven played extremely well. Obviously, Shaq (Barrett) had a big game. Our back end probably had their worst game of the year and it was as simple a plan as it could be, and we lost leverage, didn’t line up properly a couple times and gave them huge plays that should’ve never been made, and we’ll get it corrected."

(On the kicking game): Kicking game-wise, I was very disappointed. We had opportunities for punt returns and just didn’t do a very good job of blocking their gunners, and we’ve got to do a better job getting more physical out there, because we had opportunities to get the ball inside the 50 a couple of times on punt returns and didn’t get it. As far as the kick – when you’re looking at it, we substituted, they substituted late, the umpire’s standing over the ball, I’m not using a timeout at that point in time – the play is not going to get run – so we took the penalty, moved the ball over – he’s got to make the kick, and we don’t get it done. We’re all feeling a whole lot better if we make a kick, and that’s part of it. We’ll bounce back and be ready to go Wednesday.”

(On Daniel Jones five-yard touchdown on fourth and five): "We ran a stunt inside and Vita [Vea] went all the way over the top and Ndamukong Suh doesn’t get across the middle to stop the quarterback.” (Vita Vea] was feeling like he could get around another block – he was making good penetration, so he went one gap wider and [Ndamukong] Suh didn’t get across his face, and we had everybody’s back turned, doubling all the receivers."

(On what he would say to fans who are angry at Matt Gay: "You paid your money, (so say) whatever you want to say. He isn’t going anywhere.”

(On the lesson for the team): "You learn a hell of a lot more by almost losing than you do by losing.”

Six inches to the right -- that's how close Bucs kicker Matt Gay's 34-yard field goal attempt came from sliding through the uprights and sealing a win over the New York Giants.

Alas, Gay pushed the kick with time running out, and Tampa Bay fell, 32-31. It was Gay's third missed kick of the afternoon -- the rookie missed two extra points in the first quarter -- but one that could have possibly been avoided if not for a strange decision from Bucs' coach Bruce Arians.

Two plays prior to the missed kick, Bucs WR Mike Evans hauled in a 44-yard catch at New York's nine-yard line. Tampa Bay rushed to the line of scrimmage on first down and spiked the ball with 13 seconds to go. Then, Tampa Bay took a delay of game penalty, but not because it wasn't ready to snap the ball or because it didn't have any timeouts -- the Bucs had one. Arians said he took the five-yard penalty intentionally. (On Monday, Arians said he took the penalty because the Giants substituted late and an official stood over the ball).

-- Jeremy Burgman, NFL.com

Mike Evans had 190 yards in catches./© Joe Mestas

5 of the Best Takes

Shaquil Barrett looked unblockable at times. He won with both speed and power and picked up a few sacks as well as two forced fumbles.

-- Pro Football Focus

Not to be overshadowed by Barrett, Carl Nassib had a nice pass-rushing day himself, racking up a handful of pressures. Nassib was also a factor in the Bucs shutting down the run. The Bucs as a team did not miss a tackle when defending the run.

-- Pro Football Focus

Mike Evans had his way with the Giants secondary. Evans was Jameis Winston's go-to receiver today and looked virtually unguardable at times. Evans created separation with ease and won nearly all of his contested-catch opportunities.

-- Pro Football Focus

Winston looked like his old self today, both the good and the bad. Winston had several big-time throws as he was able to launch the ball downfield to open targets. However, he also had a couple of head-scratching passes and was lucky that he threw only one interception.

-- Pro Football Focus

Shaquil Barrett readies for the snap for the Bucs ./© Joe Mestas

Game Balls

Offense: If you've paid attention to the Tampa Bay Bucs over the years, you knew it was just a matter of time before Mike Evans broke out. But eight catches for 190 yards, including three scores. And the forgetting of him in the second half was part of the reason the Bucs scored just three points.

Defense: Shaq Barrett has seven sacks in two games, eight for the season. Most seasons, that would lead the Bucs.

Special teams: Bradley Pinion averaged 44.8 yards on his four punts.

Winston threw for 380 yards in the loss./© Joe Mestas


Quarterback: Most weeks, after most losses, Bucs fans grouse about Jameis Winston all day. But Winston put his team in a position to win on a short field goal. Don't blame this one on the quarterback. Grade A-.

Running backs: The Bucs ran for 144 yards, including 80 by Ronald Jones III. Grade:B+.

Wide receiver" The Bucs targeted Mike Evans 15 times, and it should have been more. They were doing the Giants a favor to throw anywhere else.Grade: A+.

Defensive line: Even when Saquon Barkley was in the game, he didn't have room to breathe. The interior of the line, starring Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh, swallowed him whole. Grade: A.

Defensive ends: Shaq Barrett had four sacks. Still, there were too many plays when Daniel Jones was comfortable. Grade: B.

Linebackers: The Bucs' backers sometimes get lost in coverage. Grade: C.

Secondary: A rookie with no running game hit 23 of 36. Two receivers had more than 100 yards, and Arians says that's the two they were trying to double. Not good. Grade: F.

Kicking: Matt Gay has a great leg. Matt Gay has a bad aim. Grade: F.

Ronald Jones had 121 total yards for the Bucs./© Joe Mestas

Unsung Heroes

1. Evans was the star of the day, but O.J. Howard also caught four balls for 86 yards.

2. Safety Mike Edwards was credited with six tackles. I demand a recount.

3. Carl Nassib had four tackles, including his first sack of the year.

4. Breshad Perriman had a 13-yard run. That's the answer. Hand it to him, don't throw it.

5. Ronald Jones III had a nice day. He rushed for 80 yards and he caught a 41-yard pass.

WInston had his team in position to win./© Joe Mestas

5 Random Stats

Passing Yards                          Jameis Winston                       13

Rushing Yards                         Ronald Jones                           19

Receiving Yards                      Mike Evans                               7

Sacks                                         Shaq Barrett                             1

Tackles                                      Lavonte David                        21

Matt Gay had a tough afternoon for the Bucs./© Joe Mestas

5 Famous Curses

1. Curse of the Bambino

2. Curse of the Black Pearl

3. The Superman Curse

4. The Madden Curse

5. The Bucs' kicking game

Could Aguayo have made the winning kick?/CARMEN MANDATO

5 of the Worst Bucs Kickers

1. Mirro Roder

2. Peter Rajecki

3. Bill Capese

4. Roberto Aguayo

5. Kyle Brindza

The Giants couldn't cover Mike Evans./© Joe Mestas

5 Best Bucs Receivers

1. Mike Evans

2. Vincent Jackson

3. Joey Galloway

4. Keyshawn Johnson

5. Mark Carrier

Vincent Jackson had his day, also./CARMEN MANDATO

Most receiving Yardage (game)

1. Vincent Jackson, 10/21/12 vs. NO 216

2. Mark Carrier, 12/6/87 at NO 212

3. Mike Evans, 11/16/14 at WAS 209

4. Antonio Bryant, 12/8/08 at CAR 200

5. Mike Evans, 09/22/19 vs. NYG 190

Ronald Jones has been much better./Photo By:© Joe Mestas

Big Improvement

(Ronald Jones after 16 games in 2018, 2 games in 2010)

2018                                                                2019

22                          Attempts                         31

44                      Rushing yards                  164

1.9                        Average                           5.3

9                          Long                             25

77                           Total Yards                    223

Ronde Barber was inducted into the Ring of Honor.© Joe Mestas

Next 5 for Ring of Honor

1. Hardy Nickerson

2. Simeon Rice

3. James Wilder

4. Batman Wood

5. Tony Mayberry

Kevin Minter tries to corral Sterling Shepard./© Joe Mestas

5 Ex-Bucs

1. Adam Humphries, Tennessee: He caught six passes for 93 yards in his first big game for the Titans.

2. Kwon Alexander, San Francisco: Alexander had seven tackles in the 49ers win.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami: He hit both of his passses, but mostly, he watched.

4. Gerald McCoy, Carolina: Had a Panther-high of two tackles. Still waiting for his first sack.

5. Jon Gruden, Oakland: His team came within 20 points of the Vikings.

Vernon Hargreaves trudges from the field./Photo By:© Joe Mestas

5 Closing Thoughts

1. Does Jason need a pen to sign Shaq Barrett? I'll lend him mine.

2. The Bucs are now gone until Nov. 11. Some prison terms aren't that long.

3. Through three games, Bucs sure have left a lot points unclaimed, haven't they?

4. Are we sure England wants the Bucs? Heck, they gave us the Beatles, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, Shakespeare, King Arthur and Robin Hood. And this is how we repay them? On the other hand, they gave us the Bay City Rollers, who were to rock 'n roll what the Bucs are to the NFL.

5. If Gerald McCoy had come back this season, would he start?

Howard had four catches for the Bucs./© Joe Mestas

Looking Ahead

5 Great Rams

1. Deacon Jones

2. Norm Van Brocklin

3. Merlin Olson

4. Eric Dickerson

5. Kurt Warner

Despite the attention, Barrett had four sacks./JOE MESTAS

5 Favorite Rams

1. Jack Youngblood

2. Deacon Jones

3. Kurt Warner

4. Aaron Donald

5. Fred Dryer

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