Somehow there was a notion among some Bucs followers that losing Sunday at Denver wouldn't be all that devastating to the team, that maybe it could afford a loss.
For starters, it's a ridiculous suggestion that any team hanging out in the neighborhood of .500 this late in the season can afford to give away games. But Sunday's loss turned out to be especially damaging after the Seahawks pulled off an upset in Chicago. Bet you didn't see that coming.
The Seahawks are 7-5 and lead the Bucs by a game for the last playoff spot in the NFC. With three home games left and a relatively soft schedule, the Seahawks can easily reach 10 victories. If that happens, the Bucs would have to win their last four to reach 10, and even then tiebreakers might go Seattle's way. Plus, we haven't even started talking about other teams that could get in the Bucs' way, such as the Redskins.
Sunday was a bad day. The playoff hopes are not completely toast, but the Bucs really couldn't afford Sunday's loss and likely can't afford even one more.
The Bucs have faced five mediocre quarterbacks: Cam Newton (twice), Brady Quinn, Carson Palmer, Christian Ponder and Philip Rivers. They went 6-0 against those guys.
They have faced six good to great quarterbacks: Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and now Peyton Manning. They went 0-6 in those games.
Is there any question that pass defense, especially cornerback, is the No. 1 priority in the offseason?
Grim fact of the day
With the Vikings losing Sunday to drop to 6-6, the Bucs have not beaten a team that currently has a winning record.
Three things that popped into my head
1. The Bucs ran out of time, but give coach Greg Schiano credit for managing the scoreboard, reading the clock, kicking field goals, using his timeouts wisely and doing everything within his power to give the Bucs a chance in the final minutes. This game turned out much closer than it really should have been.
2. Is Bucs RB Doug Martin wearing down? In the past two games, he carried the ball 39 times, and his average per carry was a mere 2.7 yards. In his first 10 games, the rookie was averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
3. When it comes to the victory formation, maybe the Bucs just like to go after Mannings.
It would be easy to jump all over the Bucs, but come on, did anyone outside of those who have their checks signed by a Glazer really think Tampa Bay could win in Denver?