There’s no question that this was the Bucs’ least stressful game of the season, as they defeated an injury-plagued Denver Broncos team 28-10 to improve to 2-1 on the year. The Bucs started out early with a blocked punt followed by a score three plays later, and never let up the rest of the way.
A lot of positives can be taken from this game, including a six-sack, three-turnover game by the defense. And while it’s difficult to focus on what went wrong in an 18-point victory, the Bucs weren’t perfect. These were the most disappointing players from the game.
RG Alex Cappa
If there was any part of the Bucs’ game that was struggling, it was the offensive line. Cappa got beat on a handful of plays, including one in the first half that happened to get captured on the FOX replay that was highlighted to all viewers. It wasn’t a sack, but the defender moved past Cappa within seconds and blew up the play in the backfield to force a Tom Brady incompletion. Cappa also had a hold in the second half that wiped out a 14-yard gain by Ronald Jones.
RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette’s seven carry, 15-yard game was one to forget, and the offensive line deserves as much of the blame as he does. But there was one play in particular, that lands Fournette on this list, and that was a botched handoff exchange between he and Tom Brady in the first quarter. The Bucs did recover the ball and went on to kick a field goal, but you can’t help but Fournette’s gaffe could have been disastrous.
Bruce Arians’ Challenge Call
You don’t normally see a specific coaching decision making the most disappointing list, however the timing of Arians throwing the red flag was head-scratching. Late in the first quarter, the Bucs had a fourth-and-one around Denver’s 40-yard line. Tom Brady tried to draw the defense offside with a hard count before calling a timeout when the play clock was winding down. But instead of going for it after the timeout, Arians decided to challenge the spot on the field where LeSean McCoy was tackled on the previous play.
The call on the field was upheld after a quick review and the Bucs lost their second timeout in a matter of seconds. You can’t knock Arians for challenging a play like that, but you can knock him for throwing the flag after calling the timeout rather than just throwing it beforehand and still getting a stoppage of play. The lack of timeouts didn’t come back to hurt them this week, but it was still a big mistake by the Bucs’ head coach.