Deja Desert Vu all over again.
The Bucs may want to ask the NFL to move it's next game at Arizona to London as it seems traveling to the desert leaves these Buccos deserted of any chance to win on either side of the ball.
Amazingly, history repeated itself for Tampa Bay.
A year ago, Tampa Bay headed to Arizona coming off a huge season opening win against the Falcons only to get blown out of the building 40-7 . A game which saw Jameis Winston offer up his worst pro performance as a pro with four picks.
Don't ever say things can't get any worse......
This time around the Bucs not only lose again in Arizona but Winston leaves the game with the biggest injury of his young NFL career where there's not a lot of competition in that category---this is his first.
Tampa Bay clearly didn't learn its lesson from a year ago and now finds itself under .500 for the first time this season with many question marks on both sides of the football.
Here are my five takeaways from the Bucs sad sequel in the desert.....
(1) WINSTON'S STATUS: Jameis Winston has played a lot of great football in his 23 years, but tallied a first against Arizona---his first serious football injury.
The Bucs durable young star never missed a start in high school, at FSU and in his two plus years in Tampa. The injury steak ended on Winston's first drive versus Arizona though,where he injured his right shoulder and after gutting it out, left for good in the second quarter. The good news for WInston, X-Rays were negative but Dirk Koetter and the team still want to see what Monday's MRI results reveal.
Winston when asked about his future was consistent that he would be back next week.
“Yep,’’ Winston added. “I’ve come out (of games before). But I don’t think I ever missed a game (because of an injury) and I don’t think I’m going to miss a game (this time) either.’’
According to our own Bucs Insider Roy Cummings--Winston said all this while his right throwing arm hung rather limp at his side, but his right shoulder did not have any ice on it nor did it appear to be wrapped in any way.
(2) SAME OLE SLOW START: A year ago Winston and the Bucs started sluggish against Arizona by trailing 24-0 at the half.
A year later amazingly they again trailed 24-0 at the half again----a hole which proved to be deadly.
Dirk Koetter said afterwards, "That was the worst first half of football I've ever seen in my life."
Hard to argue---the Bucs said all week they need a quick start (especially after a slow start against New England) and they didn't follow through.
The fact it was this ugly is troublesome for this football team where after the game cornerback Brent Grimes, "It's like we weren't ready to play."
Not a good look for this coaching staff or this team.
(3) DEFENSE TAKES A STEP BACK: A week ago the Bucs should have beaten the Pats if they only could have converted a few makeable field goals---but it was the defense which truly kept them in the game by pressuring Tom Brady and holding the Pats to 19 points.
A week later--the Defense regressed where they couldn't contain a pair of aging vets.
First off, the Bucs "D" let Adrian Peterson run wild where he tallied more rushing yards in the first half against Tampa Bay then he accounted for in amazingly four games with the Saints.
While they couldn't stop Peterson, they let veteran and struggling Cards quarterback Carson Palmer pick on corner Vernon Hargreaves who continues to struggle. The pass rush wasn't there either.
Grimes had his first pick of the season, Lavonte David returned with a nice fumble recovery for a touchdown and Gerald McCoy had a sack for the second straight game---but those plays were the exception, hardly the rule.
(4) THE MIGHTY FITZ'S: Both teams got big contributions from their Fitz's---one expected the other rather unexpected.
First off, the ageless 34 year old future Hall of Fame Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 10 catches, a touchdown and tallied 138 receiving yards vs the Bucs. No player that old has ever had that many against Tampa Bay. The closest was 14 years ago when Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith piled up 136 receiving yards back in 2003.
While Arizona had "Fitz"gerald, the Bucs "Fitz"patrick filled in admirably for Winston.
On the day sure the Bucs backup QB had two picks but was a more than respectable 22-for-32 for 290 yards and three TDs where he spread the wealth nicely finding DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and Cam Brate in the endzone.
(5) NO WHITE FLAGS: An ugly loss for the Bucs could have been worse----but to this team's credit they didn't quit on their coach and kept fighting in the second half.
Down 31-0 in the third quarter, the Bucs behind Fitzpatrick countered with 21 unanswered points to shave the lead to 10.
After a second Adrian Peterson touchdown, the Bucs would reach the endzone two more times but it wasn't enough.
Still they didn't quit, which tells you something about this team but fly home knowing its virtually impossible to beat any NFL team putting themselves in such an early hole.
EXTRA POINT: It was hard to learn anything about the Bucs new kicker Patrick Murray, who didn't get to attempt a field goal and after his team played catch up all afternoon, going for two four times---made his only extra point attempt on the last garage score of the afternoon.
UNTIL NEXT BLOG,