Bucs' good vibes are gone

Published Dec. 16, 2013

Good vibes gone

Bucs coach Greg Schiano was in a sour mood Sunday, more irritated than normal after a loss. He called the 33-14 thumping by the 49ers "disappointing." A better word, perhaps: discouraging. All the good vibes built up over the recent 4-1 streak were erased in the three hours it took for the 49ers to manhandle the Bucs.

The offense was abysmal again. The defense couldn't stop the 49ers when it mattered most. Even the special teams goofed up and cost the Bucs a touchdown.

And I don't want to hear how the Bucs were playing a good team. We're not grading on a curve. This is life in the NFL. The 49ers are the type of team you have to play and beat when you're a good team.

After Sunday, it's hard to say this team is making progress, especially on offense and especially at quarterback.

Biggest play

Down only 20-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Bucs forced the 49ers into third and 12 from the San Francisco 29-yard line. QB Colin Kaepernick scrambled around, found receiver Michael Crabtree for a 14-yard gain, and the 49ers went on to ice the game with a gut-punching 17-play drive that chewed up more than 10 minutes and ended with a Phil Dawson field goal to make it 23-14.

Number of the day

22 Ten-loss seasons the Bucs now have after dropping to 4-10 on Sunday. Forget moral victories. Forget injuries. Forget opponents. Forget how they got here. Bottom line: a double-digit loss season. Again. Those don't do much for job security, whether it be for players, coaches or executives.

Not the worst call

If there was a lowlight that epitomized the loss — and just maybe the Bucs' season — it was the bumbling fumble that turned into a 49ers touchdown when the Bucs botched a reverse on a kickoff return late in the fourth quarter. The execution was horrible, but the call was not a bad idea. With the Bucs down nine points with fewer than five minutes left and needing two scores, trying a little razzle-dazzle is worth the risk, particularly when an offense is struggling to score.

Three things that popped into my head

1. An ominous tone was set when the Bucs' Brian Leonard dropped what would have been a first-down catch on the first series of the day. When an offense is struggling, you can't just gift a three-and-out on the first series.

2. If you paid to see Kaepernick, you got your money's worth. He threw for 203 yards, ran for 39 and generally looked like what an elite NFL quarterback is supposed to look.

3. Bucs LB Lavonte David is the best player on the team right now.

Final thought

Does this not feel like the longest season in the history of the NFL? And two games are still left.