Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
The ugly truth: Even though it was a vast improvement over the previous game, it was further confirmation that Tampa Bay is not ready to hang with the big boys. The Bucs went 1-5 against teams with winning records last season and are 2-6 this season.
The (somewhat) optimistic version: The Bucs are not making the playoffs. (Yes, I remember saying that about the Rays once, too.) The Bucs are certainly not winning 10 games, and they probably won't win nine. But the schedule is about to get easier, and 8-8 is not out of the question.
Oh those crazy kids: Too bad the onside kicks didn't work. The Bucs were going to follow up with a fumblerooski.
Hit the hole running: The Bucs may need to look into more one-back sets with LeGarrette Blount. He seems to hit holes with less hesitation when he doesn't have a blocking back in front of him. In various I-formations, he gained 6 yards on six carries Sunday. Out of the deep, one-back set, he had 12 carries for 101 yards.
It could be worse: Ten games in, the Bucs are giving up 26.8 points per game. The last Tampa Bay defense to give up more was the 1986 Bucs — with Jim Stanley in his one, and only, season as an NFL defensive coordinator.
A list of five
Five signs the Bucs are in trouble.
5. Ownership described as "Al Davis without the warmth."
4. Lockout voted the second best memory of 2011.
3. Yup, Ashton Kutcher was in their hot tub, too.
2. Occupy Tampa has gained more yardage.
1. Fans are too apathetic to wear paper bags.
Five issues on defense
Big plays: The Bucs have surrendered nine pass plays of 40 yards or more. That already matches last season's entire total. The number of 20-yard pass plays is also similar. Safety may be the new offseason priority.
No fear: Why do opponents have so many receivers running free? One reason is they have so many receivers. Teams are not afraid of blitzes from Tampa Bay's linebackers and rarely use max protection in the passing game.
No fear, Part II: Is there a nasty streak anywhere on this defense? The biggest hit Sunday was by a guy who is 36 and weighs 180 pounds.
Draft disappointment: Myron Lewis is not yet a bust, but he is under suspicion. A third-round pick in 2010, he has had nagging injuries and has sat behind far less expensive players. When we finally saw him Sunday, he had a key penalty and got burned on a 40-yard TD.
Brain freeze: Three linebackers, four DBs, and Tom Crabtree was standing alone in the end zone.
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
1. Packers: Is it time to start talking about the longest winning streak in NFL history?
2. Steelers: Might be the only bowl-eligible team in the AFC.
3. 49ers: The only defense with a shot at stopping Green Bay.
4. Saints: The only offense with a shot at outscoring Green Bay.
19. Bucs: No postseason, but Blount could win an ESPY.
Final five words
Expectations were the biggest problem.