Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is famous for saying that teams with great leadership don’t lose two games in a row.
But it happens – even to great teams. The Bucs lost two in a row last year – both by the score of 27-24 – at home to the Rams and the Chiefs before their bye in Week 12. Then Tampa Bay rattled off eight straight victories to win Super Bowl LV.
This year the Bucs are 6-3 heading into their Monday Night Football game against the Giants (3-6) after losing two games in a row. Tampa Bay lost at New Orleans before this year’s bye week and then lost at Washington, 29-19, last Sunday.
To old veteran coaches like Arians and players like quarterback Tom Brady, losing hurts more than winning feels great.
“The expectations are so high,” Brady said. “I think when you win it’s a relief. And when you lose it’s a real disappointment. Sometimes you are missing the joy in this, and I have to be reminded of the joy of playing. That takes a little perspective.”
Arians agreed with Brady’s sentiment.
“It’s been that way for a long time when you are a good team,” Arians said. “There’s no big-time joy in winning. It’s just, ‘Whew! Okay, let’s get the next one.’ When you lose it’s double. Any team that I’ve been on that has high expectations, that’s pretty much the case.”
When reminded of Brady’s comments that there sometimes isn’t the joy in winning because it’s simply a relief, Arians smiled and said, “There is a lot of joy in relief.”
The Bucs were one of several favorites to be upset by teams with lesser records for the second week in a row.
For the 2nd consecutive week, four teams – Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Washington – entered week with a .500-or-below win % and defeated a team that began the week in first place or tied for first. There have been 8 of these wins the past two weeks, most in weeks 9-10 since 1970.
The NFL has always had a sense of parity, with the “any given Sunday” mantra applied throughout the years. But Arians noted that the amount of upsets seems up this year.
“I think especially in division games where there is a little bit of a rivalry,” Arians said. “But yeah, there has been some major upsets this year. But everybody is good. Everybody is good. It usually depends on how good their quarterback plays.”
Arians’ quarterback, Brady, has only lost three games in a row once in his life. That came in 2002, which was his first year as a starter. The Patriots lost four in a row that year to finish 9-7, failing to make the playoffs. The Bucs will try to avoid that sinkhole when the Giants come to town on Monday night.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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