It wasn’t perfect and there were some nerve-wracking moments to get through, but the Bucs got out of Arrowhead with a massive 19-17 win. The Bucs were forced to weather a couple more injuries on both sides of the ball and depth was tested once again. When push came to shove, however, the Bucs stepped up to the challenge more often than they failed.
So what’s to be disappointed about? Not much, really. Big win, back to .500, game behind Atlanta. But let’s give it a go, anyway. Here’s PewterReport.com’s weekly Most Disappointed list after the Bucs’ win over Kansas City.
RED ZONE OFFENSE
Winning in the NFL is no easy task. Doing it with field goals instead of touchdowns amplifies that challenge.
The Bucs’ performance in the red zone was the most disappointing element of an otherwise great result. The Jameis Winston-to-Alan Cross touchdown connection in the final quarter represented the team’s lone touchdown of the day.
Included in the struggle was the sack-fumble of Winston that ended Tampa Bay’s first offensive series. The Bucs had first downs inside the Chiefs 20 on three occasions and the Cross touchdown was the only success. The roughest effort came midway through the second quarter after Winston hit receiver Mike Evans with a 31-yard pass that brought the Bucs down to the Chiefs 4. Running back Doug Martin picked up a yard up the middle on the first play and then passes to Adam Humphries and Evans fell incomplete.
Overall, Tampa Bay’s improved in this area from last year and entered Sunday with a 61.3 percent success rate. Fine-tuning the effort and play calling with a short field against playoff-contending opponents is a necessity if the Bucs want to make a run at this thing.
BUCS PASS RUSH
Tampa Bay’s improving pass rush took a little step back Sunday.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hung his head walking back to the locker room because of a 19-17 loss, but at least he might not have to wash his jersey. The Bucs defense was shut out in the sack department for only the second time this season. Oddly enough the other occasion also came during another victory – the Week 5 Monday Night Football triumph at Carolina.
No one inside One Buc Place is going to start saying zero sacks is a crucial key to victory, though. Part of the problem stemmed from Kansas City’s offense. On the year, and average completion for quarterback Alex Smith goes for less than seven yards. Against the Bucs that stat was 10.9 yards, but the point is that head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs want to get the ball out of Smith’s hands as quick as possible. That can make getting him to the ground difficult.
The most disconcerting component of the Bucs’ inability to pressure Smith may be Gerald McCoy’s lack of disruptiveness. The defensive tackle faced some double teams throughout the game and got Smith off his mark a couple times but still didn’t get in on a single tackle Sunday.
Enjoy the win, Bucs fans. Victory Monday.