Tonight’s game started bad, got worse, and then just became flat-out embarrassing. All in the span of about 15 minutes and 7 seconds.
That’s all the time Atlanta needed to jump ahead 28-0 and demoralize an already reeling Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that fell to 0-3 with Thursday night’s 56-14 prime-time loss. The Falcons’ 42-point margin of victory is the largest ever in the 42-game series between the teams. The previous high came in 1987 when Tampa Bay beat Atlanta by 38 in old Tampa Stadium, 48-10.
“We’re embarrassed by our play, it’s as simple as that,” head coach Lovie Smith said after the game. “It was in front of a national TV audience, and we wanted to show them improvements from our ball club and we didn’t get that. In all three phases, of course it starts with me as the head coach, I didn’t get the team ready to play. We have a lot of improvements to make.”
The Buccaneers couldn’t move the ball against an Atlanta defense that entered the game ranked near the bottom of the NFL barrel, turned the ball over far too often, offered little resistance in slowing down quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ potent offense, and continued to dare dangerous return man Devin Hester with disastrous results.
Speaking to that last failure, Hester put the Falcons ahead 35-0 with 7:06 still to play in the first half on a 62-yard punt return that made him the NFL’s all-time leader in combined returns for touchdowns. He pushed his number to 20, breaking a tie with former Falcon, Deion Sanders.
Also going from bad to worse was Tampa Bay’s injury situation. The Bucs began the night without starters at running back (Doug Martin), defensive end (Adrian Clayborn), defensive tackle (Gerald McCoy) and linebacker (Mason Foster). Dinged up defensive end Michael Johnson played sparingly and didn’t appear on the stat sheet. And then quarterback was added to that growing list late in the second quarter when ineffective starter Josh McCown left with a thumb injury.
McCown completed just 5 of 12 pass attempts for 58 yards and threw his fourth interception in three games before departing. Safety Kemal Ishmael snagged McCown’s errant pass intended for receiver Vincent Jackson and took it 23 yards to the house, putting Atlanta up 21-0 late in the first quarter.
But the play that officially knocked the Bucs’ 35-year-old starter out came with about 6 minutes left in the first half when McCown took a helmet-to-helmet hit from defensive end Osi Umenyiora while trying to find Jackson deep on third down. That play came directly after Atlanta’s Jonathan Massaquoi recorded the Falcons’ first team sack of the season and two plays after the Bucs managed to notch their first 1st down of the night.
“He of course couldn’t play the second half,” Smith said of McCown’s injury. “We’ll continue to evaluate him. Whenever you don’t finish the game, of course there’s a lot of concern, and we have concern right now.”
Mike Glennon came in to take his first snaps of the season facing a 35-0 deficit. For what it’s worth, the second-year signal caller managed to sustain a few drives and led the Bucs to their lone offensive touchdown. Glennon delivered a nice ball to Jackson on the left side of the end zone that allowed Tampa Bay to escape being shut out for the first time since its Week 15 41-0 loss to New Orleans in 2012.
Glennon finished his night 17 of 24 for 121 yards, the touchdown and no interceptions. He also picked up 19 yards on three scrambles, making him the Bucs’ second-leading rusher behind Bobby Rainey (11 carries for 41 yards).
“I just wanted to go out there — and not to say that the game was 0-0, because it wasn’t — but go out there with my best foot forward and try do something with the offense,” Glennon said of getting his number called. “Try to get points, or get something going. They whooped our butts and that’s the bottom line, in all three phases.”
Even though the quick, large deficit forced Tampa Bay into abandoning any thoughts of establishing the run, Rainey had an exceptionally forgettable night. Coming off last week’s 144-yard performance against St. Louis, Rainey lost a pair of fumbles that overshadowed his team-high seven receptions for 64 yards and the 41 more he picked up on the ground.
In terms of turnovers, they played a prominent role in Thursday night’s debacle once again. Tampa Bay gave away five possessions, including one on defense when safety Mark Barron grabbed tight end Levine Toilolo’s fumble only to have it stripped back by Hester.
The Bucs defense did manage to force four turnovers, including the aforementioned one that went right back to Atlanta, but did little else to feel optimistic about. Linebacker Danny Lansanah’s 27-yard pick-6 of backup Falcons quarterback TJ Yates in the fourth quarter provided Tampa Bay with its second and final score of the night.
Tampa Bay’s patchwork defensive line was virtually nonexistent, applying little pressure as Ryan picked apart the Bucs’ secondary for 286 yards and three touchdowns on 21 of 24 passing in just 2 1/2 quarters of work. With plenty of time, Ryan exposed soft spots in the Bucs’ Tampa 2 scheme over top of the linebackers and underneath defensive backs all night. It was much of the same in the red zone, as well, exemplified by first-quarter touchdown passes to wide open wide receivers Harry Douglas and Julio Jones (nine catches for 161 yards, 2 TDs) in the end zone.
“He’s a great player, and of course we knew that coming in,” Smith said of Ryan. “He’s really tough here at home. He was on target throughout the night. Of course they have a lot of skill guys, but you need a quarterback to be able to get them the ball, and he got it to them tonight.”
Overall, Thursday night’s game stats looked to be pulled from a video game. Atlanta held advantages of 488-217 in total yards and 26-10 in first downs. The Falcons converted 73 percent of their third downs (8 of 11) compared to the Bucs’ 23 percent success rate (3 of 13).
The Buccaneers now find themselves in the NFC South cellar at 0-3 heading into next Sunday’s road trip to Pittsburgh. That game is the second of three straight road contests, ending in New Orleans on Oct. 5.
Thursday’s announced paid attendance at the Georgia Dome was 70,318.
Buccaneers reported defensive starters: LE William Gholston, DT Da’Quan Bowers, DT Clinton McDonald, RE Larry English, SLB Jonathan Casillas, MLB Dane Fletcher, WLB Lavonte David, CB Alterraun Verner, CB Johnthan Banks, FS Dashon Goldson and SS Mark Barron.
Buccaneers reported offensive starters: WR Vincent Jackson, LT Anthony Collins, LG Logan Mankins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, RG Patrick Omameh, RT Demar Dotson, TE Brandon Myers, WR Mike Evans, QB Josh McCown, RB Bobby Rainey and TE Luke Stocker.
Every Buccaneer that dressed entered the game at some point.
Tampa Bay’s inactives were RB Doug Martin, LB Mason Foster, T Kemin Pamphile, G Rishaw Johnson, G Kadeem Edwards, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and DT Gerald McCoy.
It was a complete collaspe of everything, It was embarrassing and they whipped us really bad. The only good news for me was Glennon is now playing and we will see if he is worth keep. If we win 2 games it will be a miracle. Time to trade as many players as possible and start over. Lovie can do it, but it’s going to take awhile two seasons. When will we ever learn not to trade our draft picks. We are the Yuccs once again,
I for one have lost all faith in Lovie after this debacle.
If Lovie is that good he would still be in Chicago.
I think it is time for a change. I think the Bucs are the worst team in the NFL. The Raiders and the Jags seem to be getting better, but not the Bucs. I am sure you all have noticed that good teams have good QBs. I am sure that McCown cannot lead us to the Super Bowl. I am pretty sure Glennon cannot. We need to draft a QB. Coach Smith and the other coaches are not doing their jobs. If they were players, they would be cut.
John McKay once said after a particularly bad night on Monday Night Football, “We set Monday Night Football back 50 years”. Well we just set Thursday Night Football back 100 years. We will all be dust before the Bucs are on TNF again.
Im not one to over-react to things and let emotion rule my thought process; but that was the worst showing I’ve seen since the 0-26 days. This team has absolutely no confidence in itself. It was totally intimidated by a Falcon team that also only won 4 games a season ago. Granted, there are a lot of injuries, but the players in the game, for the most part were cowering to the Falcons. We might have a few leaders like McCoy but what we need is someone with swagger.
Scubog is right. We are not that bad, We were intimidated! The only thing worse that could have happened last night was to have brought Jameis Winston out during halftime and stand him on a table top. Troubled young man right there, but somehow his message keeps ringing in my head! lol.
WE all know now how bad our Bucs are. We can kid around about next year’s draft but for me, there may be something much bigger growing. Can Lovie keep the locker room? Fellas, this team is mentally cowardly and weak. We still have Bowers on our team so that says it all. Perhaps he is playing his guitar this morning singing lullabies. I like keeping Glennon in as he at least has a much stronger and I mean MUCH stronger arm. Intelligence wise and emotional wise Glennon is also better. This is the only potential promising thing I see right now…how bad is that? We could Have Tom Brady in there and still lose with that girlie defense. You are right Horse keep the 2 stars on defense and trade everyone else.
This is who we are. After all the coach speak, the high production quality Scott Smith videos, the experts prognostication; the late afternoon practices in the lightning; this is who we are. Your film tells your story. In the long term I hope Josh is OK, but I hope he needs a few games to heal. I want to see Glennon–Not because I think he can do better–No. I want to see him so that everyone can see him; warts & all. I want all to know what we have in the cupboard. I’m not trying to be negative or kick a man when he’s down…I’m just tired of dressing this junk up with false promises of “potential” or “adjustments.” We play bad undisciplined football, and we aren’t going to stop anytime soon. We aren’t rebuilding? Why Not? Seriously, if you’re GMC, and you love to win, what football reason would you resign with this team? It’s so much more fun to play defense with a lead and better for your body to play 60 snaps as opposed to 120.
So many issues with this team. One I didn’t expect was an inability to cover a receiver. There were so many blown coverages in zone defences that I stopped counting. I really makes one wonder if they actually know what they’re doing. Poor coaching. Backup player talent. No fire. I agree with all sentiments for change. Get that #1 pick and pick a real QB of the future.
Where is Jason Licht? I thought Dominik had the record for disappearing when things went bad, but Licht is now in the witness protection program somewhere in a secure bunker!
Agree with Horse it’s time for a fire sale. Trade as many players as you can. Even release Mankins. Not that he isn’t good, but by the time the team is he’ll have died of old age! See if one of the other guards can develope enough to avoid having to draft one. Same with Glennon. Is he, or isn’t he good enough to be a starter in the NFL. McCown has had 12 years to prove he’s not! It’s not about winning games anymore this year. It’s about who can help us win games in the future. Yes, time to rebuild once again. There are no quick fixes. Even K.C.’s feel good story last year has crashed, and burned. They gave A Smith a journeymen franchise money. Can’t afford to make mistakes like that.
Thanks 76Buc, I needed the laugh this morning. I’m glad there are enough Bucs fans left on this planet that there are any comments to read. I expected to see virtual tumbleweeds rolling across the screen when I logged in to Pewter Report. Worst Bucs loss in franchise history, especially since it occurred in front of a national audience. I’m so glad the NFL network partnered up with CBS this year so EVERYONE had a chance to see that last night.
I am the luckiest Bucs fan of all. Last night I decided to record the game, so I couod go back over anything that I missed. When I hit the record, the cablebox freaked out and the screen went dark. When I finally got it to work again and turned on the game it was 28 to zip. I immediately changed channels, deciding that if they came back an won, then I would be surprised an happy in the morning and if not, then I avoided a lot of pain. I feel pretty good about that decision. My mom thinks Lovie is a crappy coach and should go. All I know is now that we have had three games it is offical, we are a very bad team. Time to revise the prediction from 8-8, to 2 and 14. Sad.
If you have Buc fever, one quarter of Atlanta cured you.
I don’t think its the players…..yeah we have some major holes…but this one is on the coaches and the lack of an offensive coach. PERIOD.
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