Fourth quarter of the season hasn’t been successful for the Bucs

Since 2011, Tampa Bay is 5-24 in the final four games of the season and will look to improve that mark Sunday at Baltimore.
With Sunday's loss to the Saints, the Bucs are 5-24 since 2011 in the final four games of the season. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
With Sunday's loss to the Saints, the Bucs are 5-24 since 2011 in the final four games of the season. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published December 14 2018

TAMPA — It may not be another December to remember.

The Bucs haven't finished very strong in the last quarter of the season.

With Sunday's loss to the Saints, the Bucs are 5-24 since 2011 in the final four games of the season.

Under coach Dirk Koetter, the Bucs are 3-6 in the final quarter of the season.

Why?

Well, depending on where the games are played, weather can be a factor. The forecast for Sunday's game at Baltimore is a 90-percent chance of rain and temperatures in the mid-40s.

That usually means a team may have to run the football to minimize turnovers, although there have been some big passing games in wintry weather.

So what's the key to winning in the National Football League in December?

"Well, I think if you look at last week around the league, boy, defenses made a resurgence,'' Koetter said. "And there was some cold weather games where that was the case. But you know, the old adage is you run to win and you've got to run and stop the run in December. I think that's been true in the past in some of the northern cities in bad weather.

"But I've also seen games where teams have thrown for 500 (yards) in bad weather. So, you know, I just think the key to winning is still playing good football. Not turning it over. Blocking and tackling. If it was a day like today where footing is an issue, be the team that can stay on their feet and take care of the football.''

A week ago, the Bucs did not prepare for Sunday's game against the Saints by practicing with wet footballs, even though the forecast accurately called for rain somewhere around kickoff.

On Friday, Koetter took advantage of the rainy weather conditions during practice at Tampa and remained outdoors.

"I love it. I mean, it was great for us,'' Koetter said. "I mean, if we could just order the 30 degrees warmer in Baltimore, it might be like this. You know? It's supposed to be a little rainy and high 40s, so good work.

"It could be much worse. I'd consider us lucky for what they're forecasting.''

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