BALTIMORE — The Bucs' second straight losing season came into view through heavy raindrops Sunday afternoon in Baltimore with a Tampa Bay defense spending most of the day chasing Ravens' quarterback Lamar Jackson around a muddy track at M&T Bank Stadium.
Facing a Ravens team playing for its playoff fortune, the Bucs came to Baltimore playing for their futures.
And in a 20-12 loss to the Ravens, the Bucs were handed their ninth loss of the season, sealing back-to-back losing campaigns and further putting head coack Dirk Koetter, his staff and the front office's future in Tampa Bay into question.
Playing through constant rain, the Ravens took control of the game on the ground. The Bucs allowed 242 rushing yards, their most since permitting 251 against the Falcons in the final game of the 2011 season.
Going into the week, the Bucs' focus was on containing the ground game of Jackson and a Ravens offense that has run for 910 yards over its past four games — most by a NFL team in a four-game span since the Broncos in 2011.
And even though Jackson started the game slowly, he ended the day with a 95-yard rushing game, anchoring a Ravens rushing attack that compiled 242 yards, most since the final game of the 2011 season, when Atlanta ran for 251.
The Bucs' top-ranked pass offense stalled in the rain, as quarterback Jameis Winston struggled for the second straight week. He failed to throw a touchdown pass and had just 157 passing yards, 64 on a deep completion to wide receiver Mike Evans on a busted play.
Tampa Bay had the ball inside the Baltimore 10-yard line on three possessions, but managed just one touchdown on Peyton Barber's three-yard run in the second quarter, a drive that began after outside linebacker Lavonte David recovered a fumbled snap by Jackson near midfield.
The Ravens extended drives with remarkable success on third down. And not only did Jackson do damage with his feet, he also converted third-down plays with his arm.
Three of the Ravens' scoring drives contained 10 or more plays, including an 8-minute, 10-second drive for their first score in the second quarter and a seven-minute, 11-second field-goal drive in the third that gave Baltimore a 20-12 lead.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at [email protected] Follow @EddieInTheYard.