Self-Inflicted Mistakes Hurt Bucs in 1st Game

The Bucs struggle mightily with penalties and special teams in 1st preseason game.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their first preseason game verses the Philadelphia Eagles 17-6 Thursday night, but it wasn’t so much of what the Eagles did.  The Bucs shot themselves in the foot over and over again.  They had five turnovers, including two fumbles in the first five minutes. 

The first turnover was by the Bucs 2015 fifth-round draft pick Kenny Bell fumbling on the opening kickoff.  This led to Philly running back Ryan Matthews carrying the ball in from five yards out to put the Eagles on the board.

The second turnover was made by Jameis Winston when he was stripped by the Eagles star lineman Fletcher Cox.  The Eagles scored three plays later when Chase Daniel ran into the end zone to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead. 

Winston did make a nice 26-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Russell Shepard which was the lone touchdown for Tampa Bay.

“It’s an opportunity to make a play,” said Shepard.  “With this amazing team that we’ve got, they ask us to do more than one thing, so you have to take pride if they ask you to do [special] teams, if they ask you play receiver.  Whatever they ask you to do, take pride in it and do it the best of your ability.  And that’s all I’m doing.” 

The Buccaneers second-round pick, kicker Roberto Aguayo, missed the extra point after the Winston-Shepard touchdown, with the football hitting the upright. 

“Horrendous start.  Fumbling the opening kickoff, missed extra point, you just can’t do it.  Not what I had in mind for the start, for preseason Game 1.”  Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.

Aguayo later made a 38-yard field goal to bring the total points for Tampa Bay to nine.  On his three kickoffs, he had one touchback and two 35-yard-plus returns.  It was not the best start for the rookie kicker.

One of the other major mistakes the Bucs made all night were penalties.  They had a total of 10 penalties for 92 yards.  In 2015, the Bucs were tied with the Bills for the most penalties in the NFL. 

It is only their first preseason game, but the Bucs have a lot to work on before their next preseason game on August 20 in Jacksonville.  The Bucs will most likely work on the mistakes that cost them in this game like turnovers, special teams and playing smarter to avoid penalties this week in practice.  This will hopefully lead to the Bucs scoring more points, allowing less points and sharping the rough edges to prepare them for a successful regular season. 

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