After a nice home-opening win in Tampa Bay, the Bucs’ first road trip didn’t go as well, falling to the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 34-17. The game really didn’t even feel as close as the final score suggests. It felt like Minnesota was in control from the opening drive.

These are a few of our culprits as to why that was the case.

Jameis Winston

You can not turn the ball over at the rate Winston did an expect to win football games in the NFL – and the way he turned them over hurts, too.

Winston’s first interception came by just not having the right touch on a deep pass to DeSean Jackson. His second interception was a miss-read on an option route to Jackson over the middle (which he was bumped). His third interception was a forced throw into triple coverage to Mike Evans.

Winston had some nice throws, but guess what, every starting quarterback in the NFL does. What the top half of quarterbacks in the league do is not turn the ball over, or at least start making their mistakes less repetitive. All three (or at the very least two) of the interceptions Winston threw can be put on him, and not in the “my bad” way, in the, “you have to be better,” way.

The Bucs were embarrassed – as was Winston – in Week 2 last year against the Arizona Cardinals. Winston being high variance is a gift and curse. It allows for games like this to happen, but it also gives him way to bounce back, and bounce back fast.

He needs to. It’s his team.

Pass Rush

What pass rush?

Leading up to the game, the main point of emphasis was the Bucs’ defensive line needing to get some kind of finishing plays outside of the pressure Gerald McCoy would create – McCoy is a constant. However, it didn’t come. Early in the game, McCoy was able to get some disruption, but it didn’t end in plays behind the line of scrimmage like it needed to.

Injuries to Kwon Alexander and Chris Baker didn’t help, but even then, William Gholston, Robert Ayers and Noah Spence couldn’t do much against a Vikings line that is suppose to be in the bottom half of the league.

Something has to change with the production of the defensive line.

Secondary

Bucs QB Vernon Hargreaves - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves – Photo by: Getty Images

With no defensive line to pressure the ball, either in the running back’s hand or the quarterback’s, the Buccaneers secondary was left out to dry and was cooked early and often. Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith looked lost in off coverage and gave up too many yards because of it. Though they were in position at times, the lack of pressure on the pocket led to too many good throws that they simply could not defend.

As the game went on, the confidence among the two was shot, and when a cornerback doesn’t have confidence, that’s bad news.

The Bucs are hoping to have Brent Grimes back in the lineup next week, but even beyond him, the front seven and the secondary have to step up together.

Ali Marpet

Marpet had a rough game.

There were at least three or four snaps that were on the ground or disrupted the timing of the play because Winston was adjusting to an off snap. The chemistry between the two is somewhat new, but has to be much better than it was today.

Run Game

The Bucs losing the time of possession battle 22 to 37 had something to do with their inability to run the ball. Starting running back Jacquizz Rodgers led the Bucs in touches and yards with five carries and 15 rushing yards.

That won’t win you many games in the NFL.

Head coach Dirk Koetter said after the game that the things Minnesota was doing and the way they threw the offense off resulted in the lack of run success and even run attempts, but did note that it has to be different. A failure to run the ball means a one-dimensional offense and a tired defense.

This team needs Doug Martin back.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Bucnut2
3 years ago

Agree- Winston was well, Winston. He is far from elite and at this point is struggling to be average. I sincerely hope we have our franchise QB, but there is little evidence at this point to suggest JW is.

Daba
3 years ago

Could have just saved time and said everyone except Folk and Anger

EastEndBoy
Reply to  John Dock
3 years ago

Anger is consistently one of our best players….too often, the best player.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
3 years ago

Total disaster of a game. Same crap as last year in Arizona. Winston was ok until he started to press & try to do too much in the 4th. Obviously that under throw to DJax was horrible, but besides that, 1st half was ok. Simply can’t throw those two 4th quarter INT’s when team is trying to come back. Still trying to do too much. Sick of these types of games. Not acceptable. Defense was a joke. Gave up 31 points & 5 scoring drives of 65+ yards! Bottled up Cook well enough for 3 quarters, but couldn’t cover a… Read more »

Bucwatcher
3 years ago

#28 is an Achilles heel in that defense. Weak link….

If you need a first down…. just throw his way.

pinkstob
3 years ago

One the biggest problems around here is the secondary never gets criticized without mentioning the pass rush. Yet poor pass rush is mentioned on a regular basis without mentioning poor secondary play. We give the secondary a pass all the time by mentioning the pass rush. The secondary needs to be able to play man coverage even without a pass rush. If we’re in zone that’s one thing for the QB to find a hole with no pass rush, but in man coverage you’re paid to cover no matter how long the QB has to throw. You’re professionals, beat your… Read more »

Jlog
Jlog
3 years ago

Winston is not a franchise QB, sorry he’s a bust. Not an over reaction just a reality most TB fans don’t want to acknowledge. Small handed QB are never accurate none of them. Winston has small hands are smaller than 5’10 Russel Wilson. You can’t train accuracy, just doesn’t happen. In a classroom he’s off the charts but on the field he consistent make very bad decisions.

Mike Smith, kept key starter on the field when we had no chance to come back, grade F

Mike.Seven
Reply to  Jlog
3 years ago

Bucs fans think denial is a river in Egypt, they going to hammer you for dare tell truth about Jamies, he has never had high ratings leads the league in INT and fumbles, brings the defence back on the field with turnovers after they just stop the other team. Truth is Bucs all in on Jamies does not matter how bad they lose. He will be a starter for a while, Bucs do not have any QB better to put in.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Jlog
3 years ago

“Small handed QB’s are never accurate” This is such an crap statement. Decision making and accuracy have zero to do with each other.

Aaron Rodgers hand size? 9.38
Alex Smith? 9.38
Derek Carr? 9.13
Philip Rivers? 9.25
Tony Romo? 8.86
Jameis? 9.38

drdneast
3 years ago

Where were you last week jlog. Funny how you little cretins emerge only after he has had a bad game. Winston has small hands. LOL, Where did you get that information. Winston had no run game and yes, he has yet developed into Tom Brady who is about the only QB in the league who can play without one. Not even Aaron Rogers can win without a running attack. Sorry, but as much as I like Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith, they deserve to be at the top of the list. I saw very few blitzes and our four man… Read more »

Mike.Seven
Reply to  drdneast
3 years ago

Winston was 18 -30 204 yards 1 TD last week, the touchdown came with the ball given to them on 15-yard line CHI was last place defence in the league last year not very good ! the defence and the turnovers by Glennon gave the game to Bucs. CHI was 3-13 last year Vikings are a better team and we saw what happened today! Winston Ratings since coming to the league are not good. He has averaged in the 80s first 2 seasons right now they have him 84.9. The franchise I think not!

WiltheBrewer
Reply to  drdneast
3 years ago

With you drdneast on what should have been 2 PFouls with the head shots.

So much for having led the league in 3rd down D last year- rough to watch this year!
A stop on their 1st drive of the 3rd could have been huge

SDBucfan
3 years ago

Abandon ship everyone. Season’s over! Time to draft a new QB and change FO & coaching staffs.

macabee
3 years ago

I have read several posts that imply that Jameis Winston’s 3 INTs were the major reason we lost the Vikings game. It was certainly a factor, but not the primary reason we lost. Yes! It is true Winston should not stare down receivers, throw into double or triple coverage, and in his third year should be much better at managing a game. But let’s look at points scored off of turnovers. Vikings scored 10 points off Winston’s three interceptions. The score was 34-17. Take away 10 points scored from the INTs, Vikings still win 24-17. To be fair if I… Read more »

EastEndBoy
Reply to  macabee
3 years ago

@macabee, the problem with saying “it was team loss primarily due to injuries of key defensive personnel”, is that they had their starting QB hurt (by far the most important position on an NFL team) and their journeyman, before this game sub-80 QBR, QB looked like he belonged in the probowl. Keenum didn’t muddle through with a great game from Cook…he destroyed our defense…yes mostly backups, but that should have been mano-a-mano, not Keenum victory laps. If it had been Bradford that destroyed our defense, then i would agree, we just throw the video tape away and forget this one.… Read more »

Horse
3 years ago

Let’s do this by priority of concern starting with #1 being highest priority: 1. What worked for Mike Smith last year with his scheme isn’t so great against good teams. His scheme today didn’t make adjustments fast enough. 2. Not sure why Koetter didn’t adjust to what they were giving us from Viking Defense. 3. Pass Rush has been a problem for a few years now and why? Cornerbacks were way to timid and just didn’t seem aggressive today; maybe that goes with the scheme? 4. It’s one thing to have confidence thinking you are going to win; didn’t anybody… Read more »

fredster
3 years ago

That was one pathetic piece of shit game. Injuries were nuts too. Don’t know what to say really. Even with the injuries that was just horrible. We still had chance after all that garbage play until Winston blew it with the picks. Could argue way defense was playing he had to take chances but the throws were garbage. Love the guy but he needs to get lot better. We have to fix the D line too. Pass rush has not been good so many years now it’s mind boggling. There is no secondary that can play well with that much… Read more »

TALLEYBAN BUC
3 years ago

Some of y’all so called Bucs fan are ridiculous and Trevor u are no better…i rarely hear you speak on coaching which is a major key of success in football…but so quick to jump on Jameis.. the reason we lost was not Jameis! Does he need to play better obviously but the defense should be at the top of this list we started off from behind and never got going..And for all y’all saying he is not a franchise QB please let him go when his contract is up so he can get real fans behind him guarantee 15 plus… Read more »

bucballer
3 years ago

Ok…just re-watched pivotal plays again. Three things…ok maybe four things!!
1. Number 28
2. Number 29
3. A. Market and the constant ugly snaps
4. Jamesis horrible touch on the long ball
I mean really…wow! Just awful! What say u…

stlbucsfan
3 years ago

Anybody that suggests Jameis is a bust or not our QB is a complete and utter fool. We had no balance on offense and put the ball in his hands way too many times with an evolving offense. Desean Jackson roasting VHIII in practice everyday is a lot different than playing quality oppponents so the timing needs work. Did Jameis make some bad throws absolutely but he also completed 70 percent of his passes with a few deep passes that need some work. The defense was without our top CB, MLB, NT and a compromised McCoy/Spence so I’d be crazy… Read more »

bucballer
3 years ago

That is 4 things that jumped out at me!

bucballer
3 years ago

That should be Marpet… too much alcohol today! Sorry!

TallyBuc
3 years ago

Hargreaves was the worst CB in the NFL last year and has continued that this year

jongruden
3 years ago

Is this a good time to re surface the Mariota vs Winston Debate? ha kidding guys don’t get all bent out of shape in responding…..Winston is who I thought he was coming out of college he has a huge arm wildly inaccurate at times great leader tons of heart, if you didn’t see these same exact traits in college than you were so blinded by fan loyalty you can’t see straight. He forces balls into coverage and sails the ball high at times just like Hard Knocks showed in their episodes Winston has a ton of heart and passion for… Read more »

owlykat
3 years ago

What wins are teams with excellent offensive lines and defensive lines. Jameis was under way too much pressure with LT Smith his typical turnstile and Dotson committing penalties because he was being bested too. We had to use our TEs to max protect. Don’t blame Jameis; blame our GM. He could have moved up and gotten us a great RB like Cook instead of wasting another 2d round pick on Justin who was barely worth the sixth pick he got for him. He made a big splash landing Baker, but he came in out of shape and avoiding practice which… Read more »