With the season on the line and perhaps jobs also on the line, the Buccaneers fell to the Falcons by a score of 34-20 on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. Below is a list of the most disappointing from the loss. There were certainly individual players that could have been on the list, but ultimately this loss falls on the ones in charge.
Third-and-2 with a chance to convert and possibly tie the game in the fourth quarter. Coming out of a time out, with your full playbook at your disposal, and you run a pass play where the primary receiver doesn’t get the depth for the two yards needed? Adam Humphries was stopped after a one-yard gain and you face fourth-and-1 and you throw the ball down the field? After not taking the pretty much guaranteed three points with a field goal? Or even attempting to run it?
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said after the game, since it didn’t work, he called the wrong play. Understatement of the season.
And how does the Bucs offensive coaching staff forget they even have tight ends on the field? And it isn’t like they are mediocre ones. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard are proven playmakers when utilized, yet somehow neither were even targeted once in the entire first half. When the Bucs reached the end zone just before halftime, you would think most certainly Howard and Brate would get involved in the action. Nope. Three straight pass attempts without one even headed in the direction of a tight end. In the second half the Bucs finally went to their tight ends, and had success. But it was too little, too late.
Two field goals in first half knowing you need touchdowns. All these “weapons” and six whole points in the first half.
I jokingly tweeted after Julio Jones’ second touchdown of the first half that it was unfortunate defensive coordinator Mike Smith wasn’t familiar with Jones and didn’t know he was one of the best receivers in the game. But seriously, how can Jones be running free the entire first half when he had 137 yards and two touchdowns through just two quarters? It is just mind-boggling to most. Probably even to Jones himself.
And after a monster first half certainly the defense will make adjustments to keep the ball out of No. 11’s hands, right? Well, not exactly. CB Ryan Smith, and really the whole secondary continued to play soft coverage, allowing Jones to once again impose his will against the Bucs defense. Jones finished with 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns. If Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel beat you, so be it. But how do you leave Jones so open so often and allow him to single-handily beat a team essentially by himself?
Then finally, after your offense rallies in the second half and gets back in the game, down seven points, the defense is given the opportunity to be the hero. To erase all of the bad tastes from all season long. But Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense is able to drive 82 yards on 11 plays and chew up 5:12 of clock to score the game-clinching touchdown.
Falcons offense: 34 points. 516 yards. 11-of-14 on third down. Zero sacks by the Bucs defense.