Looking back at Sunday's Bucs-Giants game.
It's hard to blame the offense for a loss when a team gives up more than 500 passing yards and 41 points. Dropping 27 offensive points on the defending champs on the road isn't too shabby. But for the second straight week, it looked as if the Bucs were trying to win by bleeding out the clock instead of tacking on more points. You can get away with that against the Panthers. Against Eli Manning? Not the best idea.
Two possessions stood out Sunday. After the Giants cut the Bucs' lead to 27-19 in the fourth quarter, the Bucs' next possession went like this: run, run, pass for a first down, run, run, short pass, punt.
The Giants got the ball, tied the score, and the Bucs' next possession was a three-and-out that lasted 59 seconds and started with a run up the middle.
Why did the Bucs abandon a passing style that was working, and a passing style that worked later in the game, when they needed it most?
Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, clear out a rubber room today for the Bucs. They never made an adjustment as Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks beat cornerback Aqib Talib as badly as some guys beat cab drivers. It's not like Nicks caught five passes. He caught 10 (!) for 199 yards, most of them with Talib hung out to dry on one-on-one coverage. Talib is an outstanding lockdown cover man, but at some point, someone wearing a Bucs collared shirt and a headset had to realize he needed help.
Saying your kicker is your best player is kind of like saying the nicest room in your house is your bathroom. But isn't it nice to know you have one that works? A kicker, that is. Connor Barth hit two more field goals to stretch his franchise-record string to 20 makes. And they weren't chip shots either — 45 and 52 yards. The last time he missed a field goal was Oct. 16 of last year, and that was a 55-yarder.
The Giants ran for a respectable 3.8 yards per carry and still figured the best way to attack the Bucs was to throw 51 times. Know what that says? The Bucs might be in trouble with a schedule that features Drew Brees and Matt Ryan twice each, as well as Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Sam Bradford.
Three things that popped into my head
1. It's amazing the Bucs nearly won though they allowed 25 points in the fourth quarter.
2. Can we all agree the replacement officials are just awful? At least Sunday's brutal officiating — missed holding calls, a key missed face mask, botched pass interferences and a controversial no-catch call at the end — was bad for both teams. Don't blame the officials for this. Blame the NFL.
3. Let me get this straight. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was irritated that one of his guys was knocked to the ground. In a football game. A tackle football game. He's kidding, right?
Fox NFL analyst Jimmy Johnson says, "(The Bucs) are a good football team.'' He was missing one word: almost. The Bucs are almost a good football team.