Buccaneers vs. Falcons: One winner, four losers for Tampa Bay
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got blown out by the Atlanta Falcons, which means it’s time to talk winners and losers. Mostly losers, after an ugly result like that.
WR Mike Evans
Evans caught 11 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and was basically the only consistently productive player the Bucs put on the field yesterday. He made a spectacular one-handed catch, and his second touchdown catch was a sight to behold as well. Of course, he also had to leave the game as he was evaluated for a concussion, and it’s unclear whether he actually had a concussion and at what point he might return.
And erm, that’s about it for winners. There’s a case to be made for Jameis Winston, who completed 23 of 37 attempts for 261 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, but he did fumble away the ball twice, and much of his production came when the game was already out of reach.
Oh, and Roberto Aguayo hit both of his kicks. Hurray.
Defensive coordinator Mike Smith
The defense is mostly healthy, missing only Jacquies Smith and Clinton McDonald at this point. Despite that, the Bucs defense continues to struggle, and the Falcons just embarrassed their former head coach. The Bucs could not stop the Falcons at all, especially not after Kwon Alexander left with a shoulder stinger (he should be fine for next week’s game).
Matt Ryan racked up 344 passing yards and four touchdowns on just 34 attempts, and that’s just a few days after Derek Carr passed for over 500 yards against the Bucs. This is embarrassing, and it needs to stop — but the Bucs may simply not have the talent at safety to do better than this. Which is pretty pathetic. Louis Riddick continues to argue the main problem is simply the Bucs not playing press at the line of scrimmage with their cornerbacks, and he may have a point — in which case, this looks even worse for Mike Smith.
Tackles Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson
Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson both got beaten by Vic Beasley on several occasions, which does not make them unique in the NFL. Smith, though, looked downright embarrassing at times, and even allowed Adrian Clayborn — who was never more than lackluster pass rusher in Tampa — to beat him repeatedly. Smith has had some good games this season, but performances like this are far too common — and Dotson, the veteran, should be consistently better than this as well.
Head coach Dirk Koetter
The Bucs are now 3-5, which is exactly the record Lovie Smith had last year, a record that ultimately got him fired. Sure, there was more to his firing than that, but the Bucs hired Koetter because they wanted better results. So far, it’s just more of the same old Bucs. Yes: same old Bucs. We’re now using the phrase that everyone uses for the Cleveland Browns. That’s how bad it’s gotten.
Bucs fans who buy tickets
The Bucs are a league-worst 3-17 at home since the start of the 2014 season. The last time they won in Tampa was December of last, when they narrowly beat the Atlanta Falcons, so quite unlike this past game. They’ve been blown out repeatedly. The Bucs can worry and complain about a lack of fan support at home, though I genuinely don’t think they have much reason to, maybe they can start by playing games the fans actually want to watch.
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