TAMPA — Are we trapped in a time loop?New coach. New defense. New kicker. Same results.This much is clear after three weeks: The Bucs are still the Bucs. Everything they have done or will do, they will do over and over and over again. We are but mere specks of dust in the eternal hourglass of existence.Hard to believe, but the controversial delay-of-game penalty at the end of Sunday’s 32-31 loss to the Giants wasn’t even Bruce Arians’ worst decision. Let’s unpack the debacle that was:During the first half, the Bucs did exactly what a good team should do to a bad team. They moved up and down the field on the Giants, scoring on each of their first six possessions. After two quarters, they had an 18-point lead and a win probability of 98 percent, according to Pro Football Reference data . RELATED: Tampa Bay wastes a historic effort by Mike Evans The Bucs went on to prove they are, in fact, not a good team and did exactly what bad teams do: blow double-digit leads.That defense you thought they fixed? Nope. Still broken, so broken that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, who was lambasted for drafting quarterback Daniel Jones sixth overall in April, now looks like a genius. In his debut as the starter, Jones completed 64 percent of his passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns (he also had two rushing touchdowns). His 112.7 passer rating is the ninth-highest ever by a rookie in his first career start.Most of Jones’ production came in the second half as he rallied the Giants. The comeback started on the first play of the third quarter, a short pass from Jones to tight end Evan Engram, who dodged a Mike Edwards tackle and ran 60 yards for a touchdown. Through the first two weeks, it seemed as if the Bucs had solved their tackling issues. As it turns out, they have not.They haven’t fixed their pass coverage issues, either. After the 75-yard completion to Engram, Tampa Bay allowed deep completions to Darius Slayton (46 yards), to Slayton again (21 yards) and to Sterling Shepard (36 yards). The completion to Shepard was especially galling. The Bucs, who were in quarters coverage (a zone coverage in which four defensive backs are each responsible for a deep quarter of the field), left him wide open, just like a Mike Smith defense used to do .Four plays later, Jones, on a fourth and 5, ran 7 yards up the middle for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. Again, no one was anywhere near him.It was ugly. But it never should have come to that.We could talk about how Matt Gay missed a last-second field goal that would have won the game, and we could go on and on dissecting Arians’ senseless explanation for the delay-of-game penalty that preceded it. But the Bucs didn’t lose because of the kick they missed. No, they lost because of the kick they made .With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay had a chance to put the game away. Instead, on fourth and 2 from the 5-yard line, Arians chose to settle for a field goal. That decision changed everything. It extended the Bucs’ lead to 31-25, but it also gave the Giants life. Playing for overtime was no longer an option. They had no choice but to go for the win.In that scenario, the correct decision, backed by math, is to go for it on fourth down. A touchdown virtually ends the game.Before the field goal, the Bucs had a win probability of 94 percent. The field goal actually decreased their chances of winning. When the Giants began their next drive, their win probability had risen to 8 percent. Had Tampa Bay gone for the touchdown and succeeded, New York would have had a 1 percent chance of winning. RELATED: What’s worse: Bucs’ kicking, secondary or coaching decisions? Yes, Gay missed three kicks (one of which was blocked). That can’t happen.Here’s the thing: Arians chose to leave the game up to his kicker. This loss is on the head coach, and it reveals a startling lack of preparation and exposes irrational decision-making. A team should know before the game how it is going to approach fourth downs. Didn’t Arians hand over play-calling to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich so that he could focus on better managing game situations? And what happened to the man who lives by the mantra of “no risk it, no biscuit"?Look around the NFL. You can’t play afraid. In Kansas City on Sunday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh knew that field goals weren’t going to be enough to beat the Chiefs and decided to go for it on fourth down four times. Baltimore converted three times, and two of those conversions led to touchdowns. Though the Ravens lost 33-28, the game would not have been nearly as close had Harbaugh ignored the math.Go back to the Eagles-Falcons game a week ago. In the third quarter, Philadelphia went for it on fourth and 4 and scored a touchdown. Had the Eagles not gone for it, they never would have been in position to win. The reason why they lost? The Falcons later scored a 54-yard touchdown ... on fourth down.And that is why the Bucs are still the Bucs. The question is, do they want to be anything else? How many more soul-crushing losses do they want to experience?If they want to break the cycle, the solution is simple: You have four downs. Use them. Contact Thomas Bassinger at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow @tometrics .