Bucs turn bye week into bye-bye week

Jameis Winston (3) gets up after getting sacked by Bears linebacker Aaron Lynch Sunday during the Bucs' 48-10 loss in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Jameis Winston (3) gets up after getting sacked by Bears linebacker Aaron Lynch Sunday during the Bucs' 48-10 loss in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Published Oct. 1, 2018|Updated Oct. 1, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — Let the moaning begin.

The Bucs are officially in their bye week and it's already bye-bye. That 2-0 start has disappeared, along with the proposed Ryan Fitzpatrick Ring of Honor night.

The Bucs are 2-2 and suddenly it's hard to find wins in the remaining 12 games. That's not overreaction Monday talking. It's the truth.

A bye week. This is like having a bad toothache and it's two weeks until you see the dentist. And the dentist is Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who'll drill holes everywhere.

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The Bucs rewrote their season Sunday in Chicago and they did it in crayon. Genghis Khan never beat anyone this bad, and he put the subs in after two quarters At least Jameis Winston returned in the second half. He overthrew DeSean Jackson. It was as if he never left. For the next trick, Todd Monken will saw the playbook in half.

The new Bucs are back at being the same old Bucs. Fitzpatrick, king of the 400-yard games, now seems but a dream. This is reality, covered with razor wire, the kind that will bring another regime change. Start with the defensive coordinator, soon, and go from there.

We have two weeks to stand by the grave. Lucky us.

Next, the Bucs will face a desperate Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and all those receivers who won't be able to believe how wide open they are as the rest of us wonder why how defensive coordinator Mike Smith has kept his job other than as sheer loyalty test for Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, who was hired by Smith in Atlanta. Birds of a feather get fired together.

Remember when we were talking about Fitz and the high-scoring offense?

Ah, the good old weeks.

It took just seven days, from Monday night against Pittsburgh until Sunday in Chicago, and Bucs fans have gone from a love-in to standing outside the burgomaster's house to go get the monster. If I could sell pitch forks, I'd make a fortune.

At least we've  entered the due diligence portion of the program, with Winston back as starter unless Koetter flips his lid. True, Winston didn't look very good in Chicago, but it was garbage time, like preseason almost.

Key word: garbage.

Suddenly the Bucs are trapped like rats again.

Welcome back, Jameis.

Now, go out there and outscore everybody.

What choice do the Bucs have? They were doing just fine when they were 2-0, but we knew that was bound to end. And it has. With a thud.

I don't know how the Bucs get out of this, even with their receivers and their improved defensive line. Overlooked in the spreading debacle: still no run game.

All you need to know is that second-year Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky had nine touchdown passes in his NFL career heading into Sunday's game. Now Trubisky has 15.

I don't know how Smith keeps his job at this point. He is a very nice man, but there have been far too many 30-point, 400-yard games from the other guys. Too many tired ideas. Did you see all those wide open Bears? Think Atlanta won't try that? They can go four wideouts. Think everyone won't try that?

I'd maybe try a 4-2-5 and lose a linebacker. They can't cover fast runners out of the backfield anyway. Load up on the secondary. A brilliant idea, right up until you look at the Bucs secondary. They're either too young or too awful. Brent Grimes was the only one I believed in, and I'm not even sure about that anymore.

Trapped. Trapped like rats.

You better put the points up, Jameis. Don't stop.

It is never too early for Bucs fans to panic. The team has re-entered the atmosphere. It is burning up, along with the defensive coordinator, the head coach, everyone.

Try to enjoy the bye week, moaning as you go, but be ready to meet at the burgomaster's house. Don't forget the torches. Not that you'll need them. You know the way by now. We all do.

Contact Martin Fennelly at or (813) 731-8029