Once again the Bucs managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, losing in the last minute to the Panthers on Sunday. Below is our list of most disappointing Bucs in the loss.
It’s hard to beat up the offensive line that is missing three starters, but the backups are paid well to fill in and perform. This was a terrible performance by every single offensive lineman who played on Sunday.
It started early, on the Bucs first drive Evan Smith was beaten badly and then tackle Caleb Benenoch gave up a sack which turned into a fumble on the Bucs first drive. Later in the first half Smith was beaten again and Winston was sacked on third down. Late in the second half, with the Bucs poised to go up 10-6, the line couldn’t stop the Panthers who just rushed four and Winston was sacked once again.
And finally, with a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless inside a minute to go, Kevin Pamphile and Caleb Benenoch did their best Spanish bullfighter impressions and allowed Winston to be sacked for the seventh time on the afternoon, and the ball popped loose. Carolina recovered (allegedly) and it was game over.
The Bucs linemen took turns getting beat on the day and helped contribute to the loss.
K Pat Murray
Two weeks in a row Murray has been called upon for a fourth quarter attempt of 50-plus yards, and both times missed them. Sure Murray made four others on Sunday, but in both games the misses were the difference in knotting up the score. Murray’s kickoff distance also has been average to below average all season long. While Murray has been much better than Folk, the six points left on the field the last two weeks were costly. We debated a lot about whether Murray deserve to be on the list as he was 80 percent on the day, however the Bucs defense played great for 98 percent of the day on Sunday, yet couldn’t get the job done in the end. Murray also failed to perform in the clutch.
Bucs Three-Minute Defense
I credit Mike Smith and his defense for playing one heck of a game. For 57 minutes. Unfortunately the game lasts 60 minutes, and for at least the fourth time this season, the Bucs defense folded late and allowed their opponents to move down the field with relative ease and win the game. How does this continually happen? It most likely doesn’t matter trying to figure it out as this staff – and a few of these players – won’t be around next season to try and come up with a remedy.
The 2017 Bucs special teams have been a disaster.
From poor field goal kicking, to shoddy coverage, to blocked kicks, there is no other way to describe it. On Sunday the Bucs managed to find another way to be bad, allowing a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. And not to be outdone, the punt coverage team allowed the Panthers to convert a fake punt opportunity. Although it looked to be schemed correctly, Josh Robinson mugged the intended pass receiver and that gave the Panthers an automatic first down.
DT Chris Baker
While the loss is hardly on Baker, his neutral zone infraction late in the fourth quarter gave the Panthers the ball on the two-yard line and the Panthers scored two plays later to win the game. Baker’s gaffe is just a microcosm of the Bucs 2017 season. Self-inflicted, unforced errors that tell the story of why this team is 4-11.