Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
1. DOOM OR GLOOM, TAKE YOUR PICK: The early-season schedule was already looking shaky for the Bucs. Now, considering everything that happened Sunday, it’s plausible they could be 2-6 by early November.
2. WE SPELL UGLY B-U-C-S: There was a span of more than 15 minutes between the second and third quarters where the Bucs offense ran only six plays. And that’s not the bad news. The six plays were a touchdown called back due to a penalty, two fumbles (including one lost) and two interceptions (including one returned for a TD). Their best play was a one-yard loss when Jameis Winston took a knee. If a high school team did that, they’d be running the bleachers the rest of the week.
3. DO YOU THINK JAMEIS WAS WATCHING: DeSean Jackson wanted to send his love, but he was too busy ringing up 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles.
4. THAT WASN’T INTERFERENCE, IT WAS A MAULING: Just to be clear about this, the Bucs did not lose the game due to officiating. However, if replay officials allow 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman to molest Mike Evans while never attempting to look for the ball as he did on Tampa Bay’s final offensive play, then the rulebook is a joke.
5. NOT SURE IF THIS IS ENCOURAGING OR NOT: Although he missed his only three deep passes of the game, Winston was effective on mid-range routes. He completed 5-of-8 passes that traveled between 11 and 20 yards. All three interceptions were on shorter passes, including one that bounced off the hands of tight end O.J. Howard. More than half his attempts were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, which suggests he checked down often.
A list of five
Five things you don’t want to hear from Bruce Arians.
5. “I told you not to steal Koetter’s playbook.’’
4. “Do we have to use the guy making $21 million?’’
3. “That Tim McGraw looked stout!’’
2. “Hmm, that play worked in 1977.’’
1. “Tell the valet to get my golf cart.’’
Five reasons for optimism
1. Ronald Jones’ training camp hype was no joke. He hits holes quickly, and defenses will have to account for his speed. His 75 yards rushing on Sunday already surpassed his entire rookie season total.
2. The defensive line did not get much pressure on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but it did a nice job of shutting down San Francisco’s running game.
3. Winston was officially sacked three times, but generally had enough time to throw. The concerns about Arians’ offense leaving quarterbacks vulnerable to punishment were not evident on Sunday.
4. The defense held the 49ers to 256 yards of total offense. That’s better than Bucs did in 15 of their 16 games in 2018.
5. The Rays could distract us in October.
Five Buc coaches who lost their debuts
1. Leeman Bennett, 1985: Took a 28-17 halftime lead against the Bears but failed to score in the second half and lost 38-28. Chicago went on to win the Super Bowl, and the Bucs went 2-14.
2. Tony Dungy, 1996: Trent Dilfer threw four interceptions and the Bucs were outgained 406-176 in total yards by the Packers in a 34-3 loss. Tampa Bay would lose five in a row before Dungy got his first victory. It was the only losing season of his coaching career.
3. Jon Gruden, 2002: Martin Gramatica kicked a 40 yard field goal with time expiring to send the game to overtime, but a botched punt attempt in the endzone led to a New Orleans touchdown and 26-20 win.
4. Raheem Morris, 2009: If Arians was wondering about this game, he could ask Byron Leftwich about it. The Bucs current offensive coordinator was the quarterback in 2009 when Tampa Bay lost 34-21 in the season opener against Dallas.
5. Lovie Smith, 2014: One of the most forgettable rosters in Tampa Bay history, the Bucs lost 2014 to Carolina on the way to a 2-14 season.
Final five words
London asking about exchange policy.
John Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @romano_tbtimes.
A look ahead at Bruce Arians’ first year in Tampa Bay and a critical season for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.