Talk about your reversal of fortunes Bucs fans.....
A week ago you had every reason to feel optimistic about your football team.
The defense was more than good--they were dominant and opportunistic.
The offense while far from perfect, showed potential where Jameis Winston didn't put up numbers to fire up his fantasy owners yet he made sound decisions and appeared poised to take that next step.
Well..a week later you saw this team take a complete 180.
Sure some may say the Bad News Bears aren't the best litmus test but those Chicago Bears beat one of the more talented teams in the NFL, those Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
This is why I never bet on NFL games----the league is so even where most of the time it comes down to just a handful of plays.
One of the rare exceptions was in Minnesota on Sunday---this was an abomination for the Buccos in almost every way.
Here are my five takeaways from Tampa Bay's first loss of the year where they fail to go 2-0 for the seventh straight year:
(1) INJURIES INJURIES INJURIES: If you're a member of the Bucs defense and you're not on the injury report raise your hand?!
Entering Minneapolis, they were without their best linebacker (Kwon Alexander) best corner (Brent Grimes) and biggest offseason acquisition (Chris Baker) . They now leave the Twin Cities with even more bumps and bruises.
Lavonte David was carted off with a left ankle injury. He said he was fine but remember Alexander said the same thing after the opener? David will have an MRI on Monday so stay tuned.
Noah Spence left the game with a right shoulder injury--the same one he dealt with a year ago. He too will get an MRI but is frustrated he continues to dislocate the same shoulder.
Toss in Gerald McCoy's ankle injury which limited him and you wonder what is going on here? Will be an interesting week of watching the injury report at One Buc.
(2) THE CASE TRIFECTA: Which NFL Quarterback has dominated the Bucs more than any other the past three seasons?
Not Brees, Brady, Newton or Ryan--how about journeyman Case Keenam who is the only QB to have picked up a victory over Tampa Bay in three straight years.
Keenum carved up the Bucs D going 25/33 for 369 yards and three touchdowns. In the last three meetings Keenum has 7 touchdowns against the Bucs and only one interception.
(3) JAMEIS' STRUGGLES: Once again Keenum was everything Jameis Winston wasn't as the Bucs signal caller took a big step back with three interceptions--two in the end zone. He made bad decisions and the communication was off with DeSean Jackson at critical times.
Winston started the game impressively by completing his first five passes but then went 23 of his next 35.
“I make the final decision on where the ball goes, and I’ve got to protect the football at all costs no matter what they do,” Winston said.
(4) SILENT RUNNING GAME: The tempo of this game didn't allow the development of the Bucs running game which I thought may feature more Peyton Barber.
Not only was Barber a non factor---your leading rusher Jacquizz Rodgers only had 15 yards on five carries. It was the worst rushing performance of the Dirk Koetter era--even dating back to when he was the offensive coordinator.
If that wasn't bad enough--the Bucs only rushed for a single first down---that's only been done one other time in the last 17 years?!
(5) LACK OF SPLASH PLAYS: While Desean Jackson picked up his first touchdown as a BUC, the offense struggled in the most important moments. The Bucs only converted six third downs ---its lowest total since a 2000 game against the Vikings.
The offense wasn't the only culprit, the banged up Bucs D failed to force a turnover and didn't collect a sack.