Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Numbers say it's already a lost season for Bucs

Most depressing numbers

Since the NFL expanded the postseason in 1990 to include six teams per conference, only three have started 0-3 and made the playoffs — and none in the past 13 seasons. Meantime, this is the 12th time the Bucs have started 0-3, and the only time they rallied to finish with a winning record was the strike-shortened 1982 season when they went 5-4 and made the playoffs.

The most victories they ever had after starting 0-3 was 6-10 in 1996. Six times, they haven't won more than three games.

So, at what point do you decide it's time to tear this thing up and start over? And, yes, I'm talking about benching the quarterback.

In today's pass-happy NFL, do you know how easy it is to throw for 250 yards in a game? Yet through three games, Bucs QB Josh Freeman has yet to even do that. Sunday was his most productive day of the season and he threw for 236 yards. That's a half for Drew Brees.

Best say-what comment

After the Bucs' loss, Fox studio analyst Michael Strahan said, "Tampa Bay is a good team. They've just had some misfortune.''

That's like saying the Hindenburg was a good blimp, it just got a little overheated.

Classiest move

Who ever thought we would use the words "Bill Belichick'' and "nice guy'' in the same sentence? But he eased off the gas pedal. He could have tacked on more points late but chose to run the ball on fourth and 6 from the Bucs 11-yard line with three minutes left. That was the Pats' sixth consecutive run on that drive. This game easily could've finished a much uglier 30-3 instead of a homely 23-3.

Biggest question

The Bucs were down by 20 with less than three minutes left. Why in the world was RB Doug Martin still in the game and running the football? The Bucs had already lost WR Vincent Jackson. WR Mike Williams wasn't 100 percent. DT Gerald McCoy was last seen limping badly off the field. So, was Martin in there just to see how many of the Bucs' best players could get injured?

Three things that popped into my head

1. If you happen to drive by One Buc Place on Tuesday, don't be surprised to see a bunch of footballs flying through the air. I'm guessing there will be a long line of unemployed kickers trying out for Rian Lindell's job after Lindell, a week after missing a key 47-yard attempt, missed a 38-yarder Sunday. In the NFL, you can't miss those or you end up begging for a job on Tuesday afternoons.

2. I'm all for trying to score points, but throwing the ball from your 31-yard line with 16 seconds left in the first half? With that quarterback? The Bucs were asking for trouble and they got it. A 14-3 score turned into 17-3.

3. The defense doesn't look all that bad. It cut way down on penalties (only four Sunday). And the Bucs still lost by 20. So what's the problem? Maybe it's an offense that has produced points on just five of 32 possessions, not counting drives that ran out the half or game. In the past two games, they've had 20 drives and scored all of 10 points.

Final thought

Next up, Arizona at Raymond James. If the Bucs can't win that one, they might have to schedule Bethune-Cookman.

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