TAMPA — Takeaways from the Tampa Bay Times’ Bucs coverage team following the Bucs’ 32-31 loss to the Giants Sunday at Raymond James Stadium:
Optimism has left the building
John Romano, columnist: For Tampa Bay, the heartache was expected later this fall. Maybe against better teams. Certainly, against older quarterbacks.
But it seems like misery owns this place. No matter how many times the Buccaneers change coaches, no matter how many placekickers they seem to find. No matter how well Jameis Winston plays, no matter how many sacks the defense delivers.
Tampa Bay cannot seem to figure out how to play a complete game. There is always one moment, one kick, one blown coverage that dooms an otherwise commendable effort.
The waste of some outstanding efforts
Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs beat/sports enterprise writer: The Bucs wasted some exemplary individual efforts on Sunday.
Shaq Barrett’s four sacks? Mike Evans’ three first-half touchdowns. But you can’t give away a 28-10 halftime lead. It’s as simple as that.
Matt Gay’s miss from 34 yards out will get the blame, but what about the delay of game call that pushed the ball back five yards? Granted the special teams wasn’t its best. Gay misses an extra point and another was blocked.
But the Bucs have beaten themselves in both of their losses this season.
This one’s on Arians
Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: Don’t the Bucs have a game management coach? If they don’t, they should hire one. Pronto. If they do, they should listen to him. Pronto. In back-to-back games, they have made critical mistakes in the final quarter. Against Carolina, Bruce Arians called two timeouts in a row — which resulted in a penalty — but Vernon Hargreaves’ tackle of Christian McCaffrey saved the day. Late in the fourth quarter against the Giants on Sunday, Arians decided to not risk it and it cost him his biscuit. On fourth and 2 from the 5-yard line, the Bucs kicked a field goal instead of going for the first down or touchdown. That decision opened the door for the Giants, who took a 32-31 lead five minutes later.