Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Jones' Two Cents: Tampa Bay Bucs vs. St. Louis Rams

Biggest drop

Have you ever seen a player whose game has dropped as far and as fast as Bucs QB Josh Freeman? After 10 games, he was a Pro Bowl candidate. These days, his game is suited for another type of bowl, if you catch my drift.

Lately, he looks lost and confused. Quite frankly, he looks like the position is a little too much for him. He looks like a rookie, rattled on the field and even a bit unsure of himself off the field.

"I'm comfortable going into games," Freeman said. "I try to relax and just play. But things haven't been going great and it has been … frustrating."

Frustrating is one way to put it. Another way would be lousy.

In the past two weeks, Freeman has thrown eight interceptions. Talk all you want about miscommunication, deflections, bad routes, receivers slipping, receivers not fighting for balls and crummy protection; this is on him.

Worst play

As much as the four interceptions hurt, there was another play that was just as troubling from a QB as experienced as Freeman. The Bucs trailed 28-13 with still more than 12 minutes left. Facing fourth and goal from the 7 and under no duress, Freeman opted to throw a little check-down pass to Doug Martin, who was stopped 3 yards short of the goal line.

Doesn't a QB who has his act together keep looking for a receiver in the end zone instead of dumping it off to a guy who had virtually no chance of scoring?

Worst line

While it's admirable that the Bucs didn't mail in their performance despite playing for nothing but pride, one line repeated over and over after the game quickly got old. It was about how hard the Bucs practiced all week.

Coach Greg Schiano talked about it. So did many of his players.

Practice? What are we talking about, practice?

Hey, would you rather have a bad week of practice and win on Sunday or practice well all week and lose?

Three things that popped into my head

1. Here's how bad the breakdown was on the Rams' 80-yard TD pass to start the second half: So bad that you couldn't even find someone close enough to blame.

2. The Bucs can talk all they want about finishing strong at Atlanta. But how much stock are you putting into a game knowing that the Falcons are playing for absolutely nothing?

3. Here's to the argument that Freeman struggles throwing the medium-to-long passes. He completed 15 of 19 passes to his backs and tight ends. He completed 15 of 34 passes to his wide receivers.

Final thought

This might surprise you if you haven't been paying attention, but if the Bucs lose at Atlanta in the season finale and the Panthers win at New Orleans, the Bucs will finish last in the NFC South.

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