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WORST LOSS

Maybe instead of passing out playbooks in training camp, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith should pass out a rules book.

The Saints and QB Drew Brees were ripe to be taken out Sunday, and the Bucs let them wriggle off the hook because they have no concept of what you are and are not allowed to do in a football game. Grabbing facemasks, hands to the face, holding, lining up wrong, not paying attention to the play clock. If it was illegal, the Bucs did it Sunday. They were flagged 15 times for 113 yards.

This isn't a new thing. In the past three games, the Bucs have been called for 35 penalties totalling 273 yards. No team is good enough to overcome that lack of discipline, but especially this so-so Bucs team.

Penalties happen. That's football. But 35 in three weeks? It's a wonder the Bucs won one of those games and got to overtime of another.

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Biggest questions

Another good day for Bucs QB Mike Glennon. He was 19-for-32 for 249 yards, two touchdowns and one interception that WR Louis Murphy could have fought a little harder to catch or, at least, break up. That's two good games in two tough places to play - Pittsburgh and New Orleans. Someone tell me again why he wasn't given a chance to compete with Josh McCown for the starting job in training camp? And is there any question that he should now be the starter regardless of McCown's injury status?

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Worst penalties

There is never a good penalty, but of the 15 times the Bucs were flagged, here were the three that absolutely killed the day.

1. Demar Dotson's holding call that backed the Bucs up deep in their own territory midway through the fourth quarter with the Bucs up by five. Two plays and two penalties later, Glennon was sacked for a safety.

2. Johnthan Banks' illegal hands to the face that kept New Orleans' overtime drive alive. Instead of being forced to punt, the Saints scored nine plays later.

3. Logan Mankins' WWE-style holding call that ended the Bucs' chance for a winning drive at the end of regulation.

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Three things that popped into my head

1. Not a good day for rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He had one catch for 11 yards to go with two drops and a facemask that erased a 21-yard pass play.

2. Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy are scary good. David had 14 tackles, including two for losses, while McCoy had four tackles and four hits on Brees. The Bucs didn't have a sack, but they put enough pressure on Brees to be effective and cause three interceptions.

3.Where is the running game? The Bucs rushed for 66 yards on 21 carries, and 16 yards came on a Doug Martin carry meant to run out the fourth-quarter clock. So it was more like 50 yards on 20 attempts for a woeful 2.3 average.

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Final thought

What a different feel this week now has. Instead of a two-game win streak and a promising 2-3 record, the Bucs are 1-4. Sigh.

- tjones@tampabay.com

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