Change to nothing
Coach Lovie Smith walked into the postgame news conference frustrated and depressed. QB Josh McCown was in tears. WR Mike Evans kept repeating, "This stinks."
Hey, love the passion. Great to see some fire in the belly and some genuine hurt over another loss. Know what else would have been nice to see? How about a victory?
Smith can talk all he wants about having fourth-quarter leads and McCown can talk about overcoming adversity and everyone associated with the Bucs can talk about signs of improvement. But this was another bad loss. Not 56-14 bad like the last time these teams met. But it was still ugly.
The Falcons are lousy. They've won three games all season, and two have come against the Bucs.
McCown played okay. He threw for more than 300 yards with two touchdowns. And his two interceptions came late in the game , when he was looking for miracles.
But the Bucs scored 17 or fewer for the seventh time in nine games, and this against a team that, coming in, had allowed at least 22 points in every game but one. That one game? Yeah, the 56-14 victory against the Bucs.
Rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is going to be a solid NFL player, but he has got to knock off the knucklehead moments. He caught a 1-yard touchdown pass Sunday, then used the football for a Captain Morgan pose. The Bucs were penalized 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff, which ended up giving the Falcons good field position on what turned out to be the go-ahead scoring drive.
Seferian-Jenkins plays for a team that has won one game. Earlier Sunday, he was called for holding and illegal procedure, and he had a drop. And you're going to hot dog it after a score where you lined up, ran a couple of steps, turned around and caught a pass that most 5-year-olds would have caught? Grow up.
Sports Illustrated already has a mock draft out, and it has the Bucs taking Florida State QB Jameis Winston with the No. 4 overall pick. That's a tad surprising. Not that the Bucs would take Winston, but that they wouldn't be picking higher than fourth.
Three things that popped into my head
1. What's up with the Bucs' Michael Koenen? He had three punts for a 30.3 average. Statistically, he is the worst punter in the NFL. And Smith blamed Koenen for booting a kickoff to all-world returner Devin Hester when he wasn't supposed to. Hester returned the kick 48 yards that helped set up a late first-half field goal.
2. The officials didn't cost the Bucs the game, but, yeesh, were the men in stripes awful. Just pull out video of this game if there's ever an argument to eliminate instant replay.
3. Troubling facts: Gerald McCoy had one tackle. McCown led the team in rushing with 39 yards. The Bucs did not create one turnover against a team that had 14 turnovers in its first eight games.
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Now that they are 1-8, the Bucs cannot possibly finish with a winning record. Then again, when you glance at this roster, you realized long ago that the Bucs could not possibly finish with a winning record.