The Bucs dug themselves a huge first half hole, only to see their second half rally come up three points short, losing to the Steelers 30-27 in front of a packed Raymond James Stadium and a national television audience.

Here is our list of most disappointing Bucs players from Monday night. Take a look and see if you agree and add your thoughts in the comment section.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
The magic escaped the bottle. Kind of. Fitzpatrick still threw for 411 yards and three touchdowns, but was really bad in the first half, at one point throwing three straight pass – to the Steelers. And one of those was for a touchdown to the guys in yellow and black. The dilemma for the Bucs now is, do you turn to Jameis Winston at Chicago next Sunday? It is decisions like this that make me glad I’m not an NFL coach.

CB Brent Grimes
Having Grimes back in starting lineup was supposed to be a boost for the Bucs secondary. Instead you could see the rust from Grimes who missed much of the preseason and the first two games. In the first quarter Grimes was beaten, and then mistimed his leap on a 43-yard pass completion. Then in the second quarter he whiffed on an open field tackle of Antonio Brown that resulted in a Steelers touchdown. While he did end up with six tackles, he also missed a handful of other tackles in run support.

S Chris Conte
Ouch. Conte was embarrassed after taking a stiff arm to the face and was planted on his back by Steelers tight end Vance McDonald. To add insult to injury(literally) Conte lasted one more play before leaving the game after he appeared to reaggravate a knee injury suffered last week. Conte didn’t return to action on Monday night.

WR Chris Godwin
This one was a tough call. While Godwin made some outstanding plays in the game, he also had some crucial mistakes that cost the team an opportunity to win. As Trevor Sikkema told me immediately following the game, if Godwin doesn’t have the mistakes, the Bucs win. Godwin had a drop early in the game, though he was tagged pretty hard on the play, still it is a ball he should have probably hauled in. Later in the first half he fumbled after fighting for a few extra yards, and in the second half had a touchdown pass in the end zone slip through his hands. Even though the defender made a good play on the ball, Godwin would most likely tell you he has to make that catch.

G Caleb Benenoch
As a whole the Bucs offensive line played subpar giving up three sacks and tons of pressure to the Steelers. Granted the Steelers blitzed often. Benenoch struggled on consecutive plays in the second half giving up two sacks, although one didn’t count as the Bucs had committed a false start. Young players will have growing pains and Benenoch is most certainly feeling that early this year. Benenoch and Co. will need to get things together quickly as the Bears are better than the Steelers defensively.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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BucWild02
BucWild02
3 years ago

Nailed it.

Maybe CB #39 I. Johnson for the penalty that negated Jackson’s TD plus he ran into the wall like he was the outfielder in “The Natural”. SMH

mike10
mike10
3 years ago

I feel like playing Conte over Whitehead is similar to keeping Fitz as the starter, they’re not your future and are just taking snaps away from younger, budding talent.

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
Reply to  mike10
3 years ago

You can question the coaching decision of playing Conte with a PCL. But, you cannot question Conte’s guts. Playing with the torn PCL may have been why he gave such a big cushion, and it seems likely it was the reason that he could not anchor to make the tackle.

mike10
mike10
Reply to  Freeman Strickland
3 years ago

lol which tackle?

surferdudes
3 years ago

A while back Koetter said Conte isn’t as bad as fans think he is. Actually coach, Conte isn’t as good as you think he is. I was hoping the refs would throw a flag for roughing the safety! That wasn’t rust we saw from Grimes, that was old age. I said the Bucs were wasting money bringing back a 125lb corner who can’t, or won’t tackle anymore, believe me now? The tackles he did make he was dragged extra yards making them. If Grimes lines up any further away from the receiver he’ll be in the press box with Smith!… Read more »

martinii
martinii
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

If Conte would have face masked McDonald like McDonald face masked Conte there would have been a flag.Additionally roughing the passer rules have all but ruined game.

martinii
martinii
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

Yea, it’s really logical to play 20yards off the best receiver in football plus is there any reason why you would bump him at the line and maybe double team him

dfwbuc
dfwbuc
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

Jimmy Johnson would always cut an insignificant player after an unexpected tough loss. Conte, even though he is a starter, would be a prime candidate. TIf there is no let down when he leaves the field it is time to move on coach.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

And what’s tougher to swallow is that ryan smith had a great game last week, only to sit thus week for old man Grimes. Grimes looks every bit his age and is a massive liability at this point.

scubog
scubog
3 years ago

Me, as usual I’m disappointed that our “home” field has become a vacation destination for out of towners and locals who gather to cheer for the opponent. Guess it’s a pet peeve.

As for the team; I’m disappointed that, in spite of the “passing” fancy, we seem incapable of running the ball at all, even when both safeties are deep. Fitz passed the ball a whopping 50 times. Can we get even a semblance of a running game? If our RB’s main role is to pass block, stick a back-up O-lineman in the backfield.

martinii
martinii
Reply to  scubog
3 years ago

Buc fan participation was really obvious on TV, of course on ESPN Steelers got all the air time. Alan Cross with few exceptions should been lead running back. (blocker)

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
3 years ago

I would alter the QB to “first half Fitz”. “Second half Fitz” belongs on the other list.

I also think you missed Shaun Wilson. For a guy who supposedly is dressing because he’s so great at kick returns, he was outplayed by “literally having no kick returner”. Taking 5 touchback instead of his 5 efforts would have yielded something around 60 more return yards.

Buc10
Buc10
Reply to  EastEndBoy
3 years ago

+1

Brandonges
Brandonges
3 years ago

You guys remember when the Bucs has a chance to replace Conte with Derwin James, but instead took an injured run stuffer?

The Real Naples fan
The Real Naples fan
Reply to  Brandonges
3 years ago

I feel like Derwin James doesn’t get stiff armed through the ground. I get the feeling, after watching what he’s been doing in LA, that he makes that tackle or isn’t even put in a position to have to make that tackle. Conte was out of position and then couldn’t make the tackle. I like Chris Conte and all, but that play was the beginning of the end last night and I don’t think it happens if James is on our team.

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
3 years ago

I was no fan of Monken putting the ball in Fitz hand so much early when he was struggling vs running the ball and slowing the game down a bit. Also not sure why we didn’t call more screens when the Steelers were obviously focused on getting to Fitz on 3rd down. Quiz is a statue the man runs like he’s on Tecmo bowl with no wiggle or juice not sure why we haven’t found a more elusive 3rd down back yet. Conte was awful no other way to slice it. We are still rotating guards and neither played well,… Read more »

Bucsfan1983
Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

We should have stuck with Sweezy(went back to Seattle) instead of Benenoch.

martinii
martinii
Reply to  Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

Yea, I watched last 2 Seattle games and Sweezy looked fine to me.

Bucsfan1983
Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

Also Mike Smith should be on this list.

surferdudes
3 years ago

Want to add Mike Smith to this list. For 3 weeks in a row we continually get beat by the shallow cross over the middle whether it’s a tight end, or receiver. It’s a go to play against us whenever a team needs a first down. That’s on the coaching staff, teams will continue using that play until we can stop it, and Smith hasn’t come up with a coverage that can.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

I think you have typo @surferdudes…”For 3 xxxweeksxxx YEARS in a row…”

The Real Naples fan
The Real Naples fan
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

Agreed. His “bend but don’t break” defense gave up a free touchdown before the half last night and they did the same thing in New Orleans. It will cost us more games before this season is over.

Jlog
Jlog
3 years ago

Whoever made the call to punt at the end of the game should be on the list. They should have gone for it. If we don’t make it so be it, but putting on the defense was as good as saying we give up.

Dman
Dman
3 years ago

Fitz being #1 on this list is about right. The pick 6 was a killer. But the D giving up the TD at the end of the half crushed us. And then we couldn’t stop their running attack at the end of the game. Grimes in the line-up reinforces the weakest aspect of Smitty’s scheme. He was rusty and playing 10+ yards off the line didn’t work last night any better than last year. And we couldn’t bring down Big Ben when we needed to, but give the guy credit, he’s a horse. We had lots of breakdowns in a… Read more »

Buc-n-Philly Fan
Buc-n-Philly Fan
3 years ago

Conte was embarrassing, AGAIN. I don’t care about his politics or stance, I think we should look at Eric Reid. We can afford him and he is a good player. LeVeon is not the answer as he would only be a rental and we need more help on defense than we do on offense. I think we start Fitz in Chicago BUT with a short leash. If he falters we insert Winston. Fitz has a pattern of play. He has done very well for us but I truly believe, no matter how he plays against Chicago, Winston will start after… Read more »

Andy Ely
Andy Ely
3 years ago

I hope now the front office and the coaching staff see how bad Chris Conte really is. Not having Vea and Beau Allen hurt, because we had to test our depth and Will Gholston who didnt play bad, he was just forced to play out of position. A couple plays that bounce our way and we are sitting at 3-0. The NFL needs to do something about these roughing the passer calls, because that JPP roughing the passer was the weakest call I have ever seen. Then the refs miss a blatant holding call by the Steelers at the end… Read more »

kram0789
kram0789
3 years ago

Jameis is one of the better QB’s against the blitz. If Fitzpatrick struggles, bring in Winston or even start Winston.

Buc10
Buc10
3 years ago

Mark, come on man? 2 of those Ints were not Fitz’s fault at all. The first one was tipped and the 2nd was actually b/c Evans didn’t finish his route on a play action which is his mistake. Yes, the 3rd one was bad, and on Fitz, but if you look closely the defender got an arm in the way of completing his throw. Grimes was AWFUL!!!! Conte should stay on the bench b/c Whitehead is clearly the better player and he needs his reps now to be ready for the games that really really matter towards the end when… Read more »

Andy Ely
Andy Ely
Reply to  Buc10
3 years ago

I like how everyone is so quick to blame that pick on Evans, If you watch he was breaking off his route and then Fitz just sailed it. Fitz has played well, but it is ok to blame interceptions on him. He is the same guy that through 6 interceptions in one game.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Andy Ely
3 years ago

Agreed Andy, fitz not only had those two bad throws, on our final drive, all three of his passes should’ve been picked. Hes played outstanding, but he doesn’t get the luxury of excuses, Jameis certainly doesnt.

Buc10
Buc10
Reply to  Andy Ely
3 years ago

Not trying to give excuses or put blame erroneously on anyone, but just looking at the tape, clearly Mike stopped his run. Whether it was miscommunication or not, on play action, you finish your run down field and do not stop. Simply put Mike stopped his run and he’s a big dude that can go up and grab it….could he have made that catch 10 yards deeper where the ball was thrown? We’ll never know…either way Evans is such a stud and I love him. Just pointing out what I thought was his mistake on that play. Fitz definitely had… Read more »

Buc10
Buc10
Reply to  Buc10
3 years ago

**some of the blame (probably more than some) but also gets most of the credit for the first 2 wins).

owlykat
owlykat
3 years ago

I hold Smitty responsible for I. Johnson (an undrafted rookie) being on the field ahead of Whitehead who was drafted and is a much smarter and faster Safety. I. Johnson cost us seven points when DJax’s sensational runback TD was called back because of Johnson’s blatant hold. Johnson should be cut! Those seven points would have won the game.

Gulfstrings
Gulfstrings
3 years ago

Officials definitely showed up on MNF.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
3 years ago

On a side note, can we add the refs? This personal foul qb hit crap is going to ruin the game. And as much as I love McCoy, apologizing as you hit a qb is soft as hell.

Dman
Dman
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

I know right! Who does Gerald McCoy scare????? Did Sapp or Simeon or Brooks ever apologize to Kurt Warner or Michael Vick for knocking the crap out of them!!!!! And if we ever needed a statement sack by our D to end a game, last night would have been it.

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

Bucs should draft a big DT to play with some fire and smash people on the way to the QB. Oh, wait, they did that. They took the top rated DT in the draft this year.

Horse
Horse
3 years ago

Surprised no one didn’t mention Steelers Kickoff intentions were to let the Bucs receive the ball between the1-10 yard lines and not make it to the 25 yard line.
Never saw our Special Teams this k to do the same as it is becoming the norm with good coaches.

Billy
Billy
3 years ago

Saying 3 interceptions wasn’t all Fitzpatrick’s fault is like trying to say it wasn’t your fault you rear-ended someone. I mean you were driving right? Yes, 2 balls were tipped, but did you see Fitz try to side arm the pass between a 290lb man’s arms. bearing down on him? You gotta move outside the pocket and extend a freakin play. You could see they made THAT adjustment at half time, but did NOTHING to combat the Blitz. You mean to tell me we can’t come up with a Hot Read for when they do blitz? Maybe a screen more… Read more »

Andy Ely
Andy Ely
Reply to  Billy
3 years ago

Yea erase the pick six, Godwin fumble, or Godwin comes down with the touchdown instead of us having to kick a field goal and we come away with the W in this one. Or the holding on the punt return, because that would have given us a ton of momentum to carry over on defense

WinstonMVP
WinstonMVP
3 years ago

In Conte’s defense almost any successful stiff arm to the face knocks the defender to the ground. The TE for Steelers ( Vance McDonald) is 6’4′ 267 lbs. Conte is 6’2″ 203 lbs. There’s only so much you can do against a TE like that when he outweighs you by over 60 lbs. It looked bad, it was bad but come on people, what do you expect. That was a great call by the Steelers who got a great match-up of a small S on a huge TE. GO BUCS!!!

seany thots
seany thots
3 years ago

don’t understand why we can’t even try out Ronald Jones. Is he really that bad? Our run game is nonexistent and maybe he can put a block on someone. Conte and Grimes should have to hand in their jerseys after their play last night. It was honestly embarrassing. Our young DB’s did pretty well given the match ups they had. D-line didn’t do horrible but definitely need to get more pressure on the statue big ben. Fitz had 2 really bad picks and Godwin’s mistakes cost us the game. Lastly we need Humpfreys returning our kicks!!!! Wilson is a bum… Read more »

Bob Will
Bob Will
3 years ago

How is Mike Smiths name not over all of this. With less then 2 minutes left in the half the Steelers drove the length of the field and scored a touchdown. When they first got the ball I was sitting in the stands hoping we could keep them out of field goal range but we went into what Smith must call a prevent. I called it let them complete 15 to 20 yard passes while running across the field and getting to the side line. They took yardage in large chunks as our defensive back quite obviously were allowing them… Read more »

Madman
Madman
3 years ago

Godwin actually dropped TWO touchdowns on top of his fumble. Terrible game by him.

McCoy, Conte, and Grimes are some of the softest players in the league. I don’t want to ever see Conte play again. Same thing happened to him in Chicago btw. Fred Jackson rag dolled him. Yeah, he’s better than we think. Please.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-cant-miss-plays/0ap3000000966382/Can-t-Miss-Play-Evans-grabs-51-yard-dime-amid-two-Steelers