The Bucs' latest loss to the Minnesota Vikings has no words to describe it. I predicted a Tampa Bay loss on Sunday anyhow, but the way it played out was worse than anyone could of imagined and for many reasons.
It was yet another loss -- at home -- in which the Bucs had no business winning. The Vikings' pass rush was expected and the offensive line had no answer for it. Quarterback Mike Glennon was dropped five times and flushed out of the pocket often. The running game was, well, the running game we are used to seeing; No lanes to run through and and lots of failed attempts by the backs to just hit the holes hard. Wide receivers weren't getting separation downfield which made the Minnesota secondary look like they were all All-Pros nor were they able to haul hold on to passes.
And where was that defense during Minnesota's final drive to tie it up? People have put a lot of blame on Johnthan Banks not bringing in that interception during the drive, but if the Vikings didn't have Teddy Bridgewater back there struggling to throw the football, this game would have been out of reach by then. After watching the game again, there were lots of throws Minnesota's rookie quarterback missed. They were the same throws Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees made against this same defense. Heck, even Austin Davis and Derek Anderson made those throws.
The defense still had holes in the secondary, running lanes were wide open, and the Bucs front four -- including the team's new $98-million man -- were getting pushed around like they have been all season. Sure, they flushed Bridgewater out a few times so they deserve credit there. But that Minnesota offense has been average at best all season and this was a game the Buccaneers' defense should've dominated if they were good. They are not.
And that is a disappointing truth.
“What I say to the guys is that we’re disappointed in this game and you have to look at the big picture," head coach Lovie Smith said after the game. "Today, it’s not like we’re going to throw a party after today when you lose a game like that. If you look at the big picture, right now we’re in the same position we were before we started the game and as a football team, the last time we played we were blown out. We were competitive this week, but now we have to be able to finish. As a young team, we’re seeing small improvements, but we need to be able to get over that hump. What we told the team is that, ‘Hey guys, keep improving, look at yourself and we’re going to go back to work Monday and start fixing it.’”
How many times have we heard that this team will fix its problems? The bye week came and went and they were the exact same team on Sunday; Slow start on offense and giving up too much on defense. This loss was more than disappointing because good teams come out of their by week and look impressive.
This was not even close to that. This was a flat performance across the board.
It's officially time to write this season off.
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