Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Bucs instant analysis: Could Tampa Bay actually be as bad as a 40-7 loss to Arizona?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Well, that was depressing.

The Bucs ran into a buzz saw — a team that looked ticked off from losing a game it should've won in week one against the Patriots. And that buzz saw — the Cardinals — took out their frustrations on Tampa Bay with a 40-7 drubbing Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. Here are some initial thoughts immediately following the Bucs loss:

Are the Bucs this bad? Well, they certainly played lousy enough that you start to wonder about that opening-game victory against the Falcons. Maybe Atlanta isn't all that good?

Then again, Arizona is a good football team and it did seem like every bad break and unlucky bounce went against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Combine a good opponent and some sloppy play and you end with a blowout. Quarterback Jameis Winston was awful. The defense was awful. Everything was awful.

Even Roberto Aguayo missed a field goal. (Oh no, here we go again.)

We'll get a better indication about where the Bucs are next weekend in the home opener against the Rams, but through two weeks, we're still not sure what to make of Tampa Bay. It looked good against a bad team and bad against a good team.

It took about three minutes for this one to get away from Tampa Bay.gt;

This was still a ballgame late in the first half. Just over three minutes left in the second quarter and the Bucs trailed only 10-0. They had the Cardinals pinned in their own zone facing a third-and-long. But Arizona ended up converting the first down and that set forth a series of events that, essentially, buried the Bucs. Arizona put together a 68-yard drive, all through the air, that ended with a 1-yard TD pass from Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer to Michael Floyd.

Tampa Bay got the ball back with 1:30 left in the first half and needed one of two things to happen. Either the Bucs needed to put together a scoring drive or, at least, kill some time on the clock. It did neither. The Bucs went three-and-out, eating up all of 17 seconds. Did you get that? Seventeen!

Arizona had plenty of time to go down and score another touchdown, this one on a 51-yard pass from Palmer to Jaron Brown.

So to review: The Bucs went from trailing just 10-0 to 24-0 in less than three minutes. Ouch, babe.

Jameis Winston's slow starts are starting to become troublesome for Tampa Bay: He got away with it last week in the opening-game victory against Atlanta. But he wasn't playing the pitiful Falcons on Sunday. Winston turned the ball over three times in the first half Sunday with two interceptions and a fumble. Although, you probably could make a case that none were his fault.

Mike Evans didn't fight hard enough on a deep ball that resulted in Arizona's first pick of the day and there was clearly miscommunication between Winston and Vincent Jackson on the second interception. Jackson wasn't even looking as the ball whizzed past him.

On the fumble, Winston was bumped by running back Charles Sims, leading to the ball slipping out of his hands. Still, an awful first half by Winston.

Overall, not a great week for FSU quarterbacks against teams named Cardinals: Wish I could take credit for that, but that's actually a line from a Twitter follower. Oh, not a great weekend for Gene Deckerhoff either, calling both the FSU and Bucs games.

Speaking of Winston and Jackson, those two just can't find the chemistry this season: Remember last week when Winston was picked off because he thought Jackson was turning one way and Jackson broke the other? Then on Sunday, the two just couldn't seem to get on the same page. That will need to change if the Bucs offense hopes to become more effective moving forward.

Random thought: that Larry Fitzgerald fellow is pretty good: The veteran Cardinals receiver torched the Bucs for five catches and 68 yards ... in the first half. And he's talking about retiring? Looks like his tank has lots of gas left in it.

Another random thought: Why was Jameis Winston in the game with 3:49 left and the Bucs trailing 40-7? This game was over, but the season is not. Still 14 games left. Why risk injury down 33 points in the fourth quarter? That was playing with fire.

Hey, glass half full? The Bucs are two games into the season, haven't played a home game yet and are tied for first place in the NFC South.

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