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Fennelly: Who needs curses?

By Martin Fennelly
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
Gerald McCoy is seen on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals.

Who needs curses when you playing lousy all by yourselves?

Jameis Winston says he and his aching shoulder will be back soon.

Bucs fans can put their hearts back in their chests.

The Ryan Fitzpatrick Curse in on hold for now. What curse? Winston leaving Sunday’s game does not yet qualify.

Still, I told him to wear garlic around his neck!

If Fitzpatrick starts Sunday at Buffalo, have at it. And check to see that Niagara Falls isn’t running in the opposite direction. Then, I’m telling you, that Fitzpatrick, he has powers.

The Bucs season is already flowing in the wrong direction.

But Winston’s glitch surely sends shivers down spines. Losing a starting quarterback should do that to any NFL team. How do you think it’s going in Green Bay this morning?

Long-term loss of starting quarterbacks is a losing ticket in the NFL.

The Bucs need Winston upright and in games, even with the lousy we he starts out on Sundays. It’s a real issue, but nothing like not having him in there at all, no matter how many points Fitzpatrick and the offense piled up in the second half of that miserable loss at Arizona.

The NFC is crumbling, but the Bucs are crumbling more.

Sunday was inexcusable, nearly as much as not closing the door on the Patriots in that Thursday night game. That’s one thing. But to have 10 days to get ready to bounce back, and then to roll out that first-half nothingness, that’s more inexcusable.

The Bucs weren’t ready to play and coach Dirk Koetter and his staff didn’t have them ready to play. It points to immaturity, still, and a lack of mental toughness. There was no bounce-back. Playoff teams bounce back.

Look at the Steelers on Sunday. Last week, Pittsburgh was run out of its own building by Jacksonville. The Steelers bounced back. They went to Kansas City on Sunday and topped the undefeated Chiefs. That's how you bounce back.

Maybe that day is out there for the Bucs. But it wasn’t really there at the end of last season. Down the stretch, with a playoff berth in sight, they weren’t ready for it, and fell apart when it mattered.

Now they’re 2-3 and it already matters. Yes, the NFL is an up-down league, euphoria and panic nearly being fellow travelers. But that repeat performance in the desert is a deep concern. So is that run defense, Adrian Peterson or no. So is that complete lack of intensity and focus to start out against a mediocre Arizona team.

And now there is Winston’s shoulder.

He said he’ll be back soon.

He better bring some game with him.

If he’s out, The Curse is on.

Like the Bucs need any help at the moment.