Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Lions: Grading Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss to Detroit

TAMPA — It was football weather, cool, crisp, a day for the Bucs and their fans. That explains the crowd. Stow the zinc oxide. Where’s my muff?

Oh, and break out the record book.

For the 28th time in their 42-year history, the Bucs are losers. They secured their ninth loss of 2017 by dropping one to the Lions, 24-21. Hard Knocks was long ago replaced by harder reality, and the ninth loss clinched it, despite a roaring comeback, despite Leonard Wester, touchdown machine, plus five turnovers and rumors of a troubled relationship between quarterback Jameis Winston and head coach Dirk Koetter.

Welcome to Ice Station Glazer.

STOCKING STUFFER

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on GameDay Morning that the relationship between quarterback Winston and Koetter is "not in a good place." Who knows where this one came from, but the guess is that it has legs, only we don’t know whose legs.

It’s par for the course in disaster seasons. Is someone trying to save his job? Wouldn’t it be great if they were all angry at the offense, which has been awful most of the season? Winston led a tying drive, but also threw two picks and fumbled. Koetter constructed a two-minute offense, only there were two minutes left when he was done. Can we just forget the final three games and just have rumors the rest of the way? Grade: F

YOU CAN’T STOP LEONARD WESTER. YOU CAN ONLY HOPE TO CONTAIN HIM.

Here’s to Bucs offensive tackle (eligible) Leonard Wester, who made his first NFL catch and touchdown to help tie the game at 21-21. Winston found Wester alone in the end zone. Wester looked every bit the hero. The Bucs defense, motivated beyond belief, then gave up the winning Detroit drive. Grade: A

ILLEGAL USE OF 10 MINUTES OUT OF ALL OUR LIVES

Really? It took all that time to figure out that O.J. Howard caught the ball and was not defenseless when he fumbled after being hit by Detroit’s Quandre Diggs? People at home saw the replay 106 more times than anyone in the stands at Raymond James, which was an abomination. Those rascal zebras eventually corrected themselves and gave Detroit the ball. Meanwhile, you finished your Christmas shopping. And I know who gets the binoculars. Grade: F

YOU’RE OUT, JAMEIS

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David, not Winston, delivered the pregame speech. Fingers never touched his mouth. Well done. Grade: B

IMAGINE IF HE’D REALLY BEEN HURT

Lions quarterback Matt Stafford came into Sunday’s game with a bruised hand from last week’s game at Baltimore. Stafford threw two interceptions and was limited to 36-44 passing for 381 yards. Never overestimate the world’s most overwhelmed secondary, even with Brent Grimes and Robert McClain picking off passes. Grade: F.

NO. 80

Howard is a silver lining for this Bucs season. He caught another touchdown Sunday. I don’t know who’ll be here next season, except for him. He’s a keeper. Grade: A

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY SEWER

Here, back together on stage for the first time, let’s have a big hand for all the other losing Bucs seasons: 0-14, 2-12, 5-11, 5-10-1, 2-14, 6-10, 2-14, 2-14, 4-11, 5-11, 5-11, 6-10, 3-13, 5-11, 5-11, 6-10, 7-9, 6-10, 7-9, 5-11, 4-12, 3-13, 4-12, 7-9, 4-12, 2-14, 6-10. Grade: F

FACE OF A SEASON

That roughing the passer the passer penalty, for no good reason, shows just how undisciplined these Bucs are. It’s just the kind of clown move that reflects on coaching. No discipline on the field. Grade: F

FACE OF A SEASON, II

You couldn’t miss the emotions on the face of Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy when he left the game in the second quarter because of a shoulder/biceps injury. McCoy has done all he could this season, and might yet make another Pro Bowl. He will miss the playoffs again. It has been eight seasons. That might McCoy’s ultimate legacy in the game: Didn’t make playoffs. But watching him being consoled by teammates and coaches, with him nearly in tears, made you realize that no matter what, the man cares. A lot of these men do. Grade: A

Sign up for our daily Bucs Red Zone email newsletter here

Comments
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Published: 05/26/18
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Published: 05/25/18
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Published: 05/25/18
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Published: 05/25/18
Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

TAMPA — If the first few days of OTAs are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"A lot of interceptions,'' coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday' afte...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Published: 05/24/18
Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

The dust has settled from another NFL draft, and Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made three promotions in his scouting department as a new year of player evaluation begins.Byron Kiefer, entering his 14th season with the Bucs and fourth as a nati...
Published: 05/24/18