Saturday, August 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Instant analysis: Woeful Rams offense takes game from Bucs, 37-32

How in the world did this happen?

The Bucs took on a Rams team that had scored nine points all season, a team that hadn't even scored a touchdown. And yet they — the Bucs, that is — found a way to lose. In the home opener.

Ugh.

Final score: Rams 37, Bucs 32.

Uh, did you get that? Thirty-seven.

So how did it happen? Let us count the ways. Mostly it was because Tampa Bay let the Rams hang around and hang around until the Rams finally decided to say, "Okay, you don't want it? We'll take it."

And that's what they did. They took it.

Now the Bucs are 1-2 with the defending Super Bowl champs coming to town. Here's a look back at Sunday's head-shaker.

• The Bucs had a chance in the waning moments, but couldn't punch it in for the go-ahead score. Part of the blame goes on poor clock management. The Bucs went into the locker room with a timeout in their pockets. (And, actually, they used one when the clock was already stopped with four seconds left.) Poor job there by the Bucs.

• Play of the day? When the Rams converted a third-and-17 with 7:26 left in the fourth quarter and clinging to a 31-26 lead. They converted when Alterraun Verner was flagged for interference. On the same play, Vernon Hargreaves was flagged for holding, but that penalty was declined. A few players later, the Rams connected on a long TD pass from Case Keenum to Tavon Austin, and that was all she wrote. Fans in the stadium complained about the call, but it did look like the right call.

• Can't totally pin this loss on kicker Roberto Aguayo, but the rookie kicker didn't help. Here we ago with the questions about his reliability. He missed an extra-point and a 41-yard field goal attempt. Those have to be automatic kicks in this league. Now the Bucs have to be nervous every time he goes out for a kick, and the bad part is he still hasn't lined up for a truly critical kick yet. His misses Sunday had the Bucs chasing points the rest of the day.

• How was Jameis Winston? Overall, the Bucs quarterback was pretty good. The interception he threw in the first half wasn't really his fault. It was a ball that should've been caught by running back Charles Sims. But Sims bobbled the ball and it was picked off by former Bucs safety Mark Barron. The other turnover, however, was his fault. With a third down deep in L.A. territory in the fourth quarter and the Bucs trailing by only four, Winston was hit and fumbled. The Rams returned it 77 yards for a touchdown that, at the time, seemed to seal the game for Los Angeles.

• Finally, a takeaway. The Bucs went the first two weeks of the season without causing a turnover. When they finally did cause one Sunday, it was huge. Midway through the first quarter, Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander intercepted Rams quarterback Case Keenum and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. Alexander's pick-six would have tied the game, but Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo — close your eyes, GM Jason Licht — missed the extra point. In the second quarter, the Bucs got their second takeaway when linebacker Lavonte David punched the ball out of the arms of Rams receiver Kenny Britt. Bucs safety Chris Conte recovered and that, ultimately, led to another Bucs touchdown.

• The Bucs miss Doug Martin. That's not surprising. Nor is it an indictment of Charles Sims, who was the one chosen to pick up the bulk of Martin's touches. Sims is a solid pass catcher and ran hard, but he's no Martin. Few are. The Bucs offense managed to move the ball at times without much of a ground game, but the sooner Martin returns, the sooner the Bucs offense will look like the way Dirk Koetter draws it up.

• Is that Adam Humprhies or Julian Edelman? The Bucs have themselves quite a third-down, slot-guy in Humphries. Precise routes, great hands, toughness, speed. The little guy has it all. He has become the passing game's most dangerous weapon behind Mike Evans.

• Biggest concern for Tampa Bay going forward? Well, besides the kicker? Easy: the defense. The Bucs gave up 37 to a Rams team that had scored only nine all season. One touchdown was on a fumble return and another TD drive was the result of a short field set up by an interception. Still. Not a good day for a Bucs defense that gave up way too much to a woeful Rams offense.

Comments
Bucs defensive line had good days against Titans, but not good enough if it aims to be great

Bucs defensive line had good days against Titans, but not good enough if it aims to be great

NASHVILLE — The Bucs' new and improved defensive line has Pro Bowl players, Super Bowl winners and some high draft picks. But right now, they're more famous individually than collectively.For two practices, that's also how they played against t...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Yeah, but …Every Jameis Winston-Marcus Mariota debate is full of them.Winston has completed more passes (939), gained more passing yards (11,636) and thrown more passing touchdowns (69) before his age 24 season than any quarterback in NFL histo...
Published: 08/17/18
Updated: 08/18/18
From Hawaii to the honky-tonk: Nashville’s in love with Marcus Mariota

From Hawaii to the honky-tonk: Nashville’s in love with Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE — Ten thousand blue leis were distributed to Titans fans for the NFL draft on the day their team picked Marcus Mariota.The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner wasn't even at Nissan Stadium for the party, which drew a crowd of 20,000. But the w...
Published: 08/17/18
Updated: 08/18/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Rick Stroud sits down with Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who served as the Bucs' Director of Player Development under Jason Licht and was in Tampa Bay when the team scouted Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota prior to the 2015 NFL Draf...
Published: 08/17/18
Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Jon Robinson was in Tampa Bay when he and Bucs and general manager Jason Licht began assembling the team that came to practice with the Titans this week.The Titans GM still thinks highly of the players he helped the Bucs acquire, such as Kwon Alexand...
Published: 08/17/18
Catching up with the guy who’s been on both sides of Winston-Mariota

Catching up with the guy who’s been on both sides of Winston-Mariota

NASHVILLE — Jon Robinson knew being the general manager of the Titans meant almost every decision would pass by his desk."I got into this for football,'' Robinson said. "And now I'm trying to buy vacuum cleaners.''The Titans' kicker is Ryan Suc...
Published: 08/16/18
Bucs sign former Panthers DT Drew Iddings, waived Stevie Tu’ikolovatu injured

Bucs sign former Panthers DT Drew Iddings, waived Stevie Tu’ikolovatu injured

One Bucs player will be departing Nashville before the team does.Defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, a seventh-round pick from Southern Cal in 2017, was waived injured Thursday. Tu'ikolovatu suffered what is believed to be a triceps injury.The Bucs...
Published: 08/16/18
Titans cornerback flips after two interceptions against Bucs

Titans cornerback flips after two interceptions against Bucs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee cornerback Adoree Jackson was flipping for joy after a couple of interceptions defending Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 18th pick overall in 2017 by the Titans, Jackson celebrated...
Published: 08/16/18
The best answer to the Winston-Mariota debate

The best answer to the Winston-Mariota debate

Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota? The great debate of Tampa Bay football.Who would you rather have? That is and always will be the burning question of Tampa Bay football fans.Winston and Mariota will be forever linked. For as long as they play, we wi...
Published: 08/16/18
How the Bucs did Luke Stocker a real favor

How the Bucs did Luke Stocker a real favor

NASHVILLE — Tight end Luke Stocker got to see how the other half lives.After being released by the Bucs last Nov. 28, Stocker signed a two-year contract with the Titans and enjoyed one of his best months in pro football.Stocker played in t...
Published: 08/16/18