Friday, January 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New Orleans Saints: Tom Jones' Two Cents

Reality check

The Bucs are 2-4 but easily could be 5-1 or even 6-0 with a few plays here or there. Don't get excited. That's not a compliment. Most NFL games come down to a couple of plays.

Good teams find ways to win. Not-so-good teams? Well, they are 2-4 after six games.

"We are sitting here at 2-4, and we're saying this old song and dance," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "That's the way it is until we get it changed: close but no cigar."

Worst penalty

Some would suggest Schiano doesn't know the NFL's unwritten rules. You could argue he doesn't know some of the written ones, too. The Bucs were a little too cute for their own good and lost partly because of a rare penalty during the fourth quarter.

As the Saints lined up for a 51-yard field goal, middle linebacker Mason Foster yelled something and the defensive line shifted simultaneously.

The Bucs were called for unsportsmanlike conduct for attempting to "disconcert" the opponent at the snap. The 15-yard penalty gave the Saints a first down, and they eventually scored a touchdown — the difference in the game.

"I'm never going to get into the officiating other than I believe I know that rule and I'll leave it at that," Schiano said.

For the record, Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 states the Bucs' move was illegal.

Numbers of the day

Five carries. Minus-2 yards. That was the day for the Bucs' LeGarrette Blount. And he's your goal-line guy?

Biggest missing piece

The biggest goat for the Bucs on Sunday? How about cornerback Aqib Talib. Think the team's best cover man might have been able to lend a helping hand against Saints quarterback Drew Brees?

The guy is unreliable, and he let his teammates down Sunday. If he really is brought back after his four-game suspension, he will let them down again someday.

Three things that popped into my head

1. The game drew nearly 59,000 as the Bucs avoided a blackout for the first time this season. Some were Bucs fans, and some were Saints fans. Apparently, some also were Cowboys fans because the stadium was half-empty on the last play. Explain that one.

2. Reasons to keep on believing: Josh Freeman's 420 passing yards, Doug Martin's 85 rushing yards and Vincent Jackson's 216 receiving yards.

3. Three days seems like hardly enough time for the Bucs to wash the bitter taste of this one out of their mouths. This thing could be 2-5 before the weekend.

Final thought

The really depressing part? The Saints don't have their coach, they don't have a defense and they don't have their mojo. Man, they were ripe to be beaten.

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