Sunday was difficult. Players, coaches, fans – anyone with a stake in the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers felt it.
A loss is one thing, but watching the doors get blown off takes the reaction to another level. It’s not like Bucs fans haven’t experienced the frustration that comes with 30-plus point carnage in recent years, but these over-at-halftime debacles are supposed to be getting phased out. Allegedly.
Just because it’s only Week 2 doesn’t mean it’s foolish to be concerned after a bad loss. It’s going to be Week 10 before we know it.
But the Bucs need to get over it quick. In the words of a curmudgeonly coach up north and all imitators since, it’s on to Los Angeles.
“We got humbled today,” Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said after Sunday’s loss in Arizona. “We got beat up all over the field. Hats off to the Cardinals for a job well done. I did not do a good enough job of getting these guys ready to go. Turned it over way, way, way too many times. We can’t get beat like that in turnovers and expect to win. We got a reality check today. We’ll put it to bed tomorrow and get back to work Wednesday getting ready for the Rams.”
And getting ready for the Rams looks a little more challenging than it did a few days ago. The same Los Angeles team that got embarrassed 28-0 last Monday night in San Francisco managed to eke out a 9-3 win over Seattle yesterday.
It’s also a similar Rams team that dropped Tampa Bay 31-23 in St. Louis during a Thursday night Color Rush game that was 28-6 at one point.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy acknowledged the need for the team to get over Arizona and correct its focus on Los Angeles.
“After we watch the film [Monday], it is over,” said McCoy, who finished with three tackles and a quarterback hit. “Off day Tuesday, come in Wednesday to get ready for the Rams. The Rams just beat a very good Seattle team. They are going to try and build off their momentum going on the road to play us. We just have to be ready.”
Those Monday film sessions couldn’t have been fun to sit through in any position room at One Buc Place. The defense couldn’t pressure Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and contain much of anything on the back end. The offense and Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston simply turned the ball over too much to beat anybody, let alone a championship caliber team.
And then there were the unsettling injuries.
But Sunday’s over and what’s done is done. Dwelling on the bad loss does as much as overhyping last week’s win at Atlanta. More than anything else, the Bucs need Winston to bounce back. He’s only 22 but he’s shown that’s one of his most impressive intangible qualities.
“I had a game like this last year,” Winston said. “The biggest learning lesson I can take away from this, like I said last week, this is a week-to- week thing. We can’t sit and praise people because we won a game. We have to be consistent week in and week out. If there’s something I need to do, I need to be more consistent.”