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The Bucs showed fight Sunday night in Dallas, but a few too many flaws made for a somber flight back to Tampa Bay.

There were issues along the offensive line once again, quarterback Jameis Winston would back up a phenomenal play with a head-scratcher, and scoring touchdowns in the red zone continues to be a challenge. Challenges with the ball resulted in the Bucs defense being on the field for more than 36 minutes and going up against 71 Cowboys plays.

Tampa Bay showed it can hang with or beat some of the NFL’s top teams throughout its five-game winning streak and that didn’t change in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. Below are a few things PewterReport.com believes kept that run of victories from extending to six.

T GOSDER CHERILUS
The big fella from Haiti had been performing well in his role as the team’s swing tackle and coming in for a handful of jumbo package plays.

That same level of success hasn’t followed Cherilus as he’s taken over full-time right tackle duties for injured starter Demar Dotson. Things got so bad Sunday night that Cherilus’ replacement at swing tackle, Leonard Wester, subbed in for some late snaps at right tackle.

One of the roughest moments of the night came as the entire offense unraveled in the fourth quarter. Dallas had just tied the game 20-20 early in the fourth and Cherilus got worked twice in three plays. The first, which coincided with right guard Ali Marpet also getting beat, resulted in Winston getting sacked for a 6-yard loss by Cowboys defensive end David Irving. The second resulted in pressure on Winston and a sailed pass that got intercepted by safety Jeff Heath.

RUSHING ATTACK
Cherilus wasn’t the only Buccaneer to look overmatched against Dallas’ front four.

In addition to Winston taking nine hits and four sacks, Tampa Bay got next to nothing on the ground. Sunday’s 52 net rushing yards is the Bucs’ lowest output of the season. Running back Doug Martin logged 16 of the team’s 20 attempts and gained just 42 yards. Charles Sims ran three times for four yards. No running play went for longer than eight yards.

RED-ZONE OFFENSE
Early in the year it was kicker Roberto Aguayo making weekly appearances on this list. Now it’s the Bucs’ inability to put a bow on nice, long drives. At least Aguayo is making more of his kicks.

A golden opportunity to assert themselves as serious challengers and go up 7-0 was squandered when the Bucs’ first drive died at the Cowboys 7.

Then when Dallas was on its 17-point, first-half run, Winston sabotaged another march inside the Cowboys 10 with his inexcusable head-butt of linebacker Justin Durant. The Bucs were at the Cowboys 8 before Martin got stuffed for a five-yard loss. Clearly fired up, Winston committed the unnecessary roughness infraction that pushed the offense back to the 28.

Two drives that need to end in six points each combined to score six points total. The Bucs are now 22nd in the NFL in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on 52.1 percent of trips inside the 20. That number is at 40 percent the last three games.

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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Horse
4 years ago

Well I know some will disagree but most disappointing for me was the offensive and defensive scheme not adjusting as to why they were getting beat on the OL & DL and slow to make those corrections. That would be Coach Ketter & Coach Smith.

scubog
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

You can only put so much make-up on Rosanne and that offensive line was putrid.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Coaching is certainly a factor any time we lose a game. “Most disappointing?” Maybe, but it’s very hard to put coaching at the top of the list.

SappAttack
4 years ago

How Jameis Winston not on this list? 4 turnovers?! One unforced fumble early in Dallas territory? Three potential big plays where the ball sailed on him? I love the guy, but he played bad last night. The TD to Humph was all Humph, that pass should have been picked off. Throwing for the home run when all you need to do is pick up one yard and it’s almost picked? We all love the gunslinger mentality, but that play was as stupid as it gets, again, all credit to Humph. His TD toss to Brate was pretty, but he blew… Read more »

PeterL
Reply to  SappAttack
4 years ago

the unforced fumble was forced even if his hand wasn’t hit he was nailed around the waist as he brought the ball back which knocked it up. AND two of the three interceptions were from a Hail Mary and a forced 4th down last play of the game.

artpac
4 years ago

Look….their offensive line was alot better than our defensive line. Jameis fought and he forced some things, but he didn’t quit. It was a valiant effort by our team on a night where we were severely outplayed.

fredster
4 years ago

First I’m glad Bucs are turning it around and on the right track. They aren’t there yet but I am still happy. I said I would be happy win or lose against Dallas and I am. Did they piss away a very winnable game? yes. Heading right direction with some needs still to contend? Yep. I would tend to agree with Horse and add coaching for Bucs. Defense was lame and vanilla. I really thought would blitz and attack more with press coverage. Nope just bunch of rush four cover two and zone. Smith goes to Sorry Jags again so… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  fredster
4 years ago

I’m not even sure that the Cowboys result was a matter of “pissing away” a winnable game. That phrase seems to suggests nonchalance, not caring enough, or willful neglect. I don’t think any of those the case. We got beat by a better team, for a variety of reasons. No matter how good a team is in this parity-driven league, it’s almost impossible to go undefeated. After all, nobody has gone undefeatedsince 1972 – 44 years ago – and nobody has gone undefeated since the 16 game regular season started. The team that most fans/media dub “best team in the… Read more »

AZ_BUC_FAN4LIFE
4 years ago

I do not think JW played well. But I do not think he should be on this list. He took us in and got us the lead. So he did ok. I would say the Red Zone play calling sucked. I have yet to see them put a receiver in motion in the Red Zone. If you watch the Giants tape, it tells you that they should have been in press coverage most of the game. Thats why Dak was killing them with short passes. But they were up pressing our guys on the line. Also, we missed one early… Read more »

reade neumiller
4 years ago

I wonder why we didnt move the pocket and have more roll out passes where Jamesis could threaten with his legs also. It showed stat that Jamesis was the top rated passer in the league when he got out of the pocket. Does Dirk not know this or pay attention to them stats or what? Very frustrating loss because it was so winable despite our crappy first half. I agree with above posters. Some of this has to fall on the coaches as well. Didnt adjust very well to the constant pressure. Kept calling pass plays that took too long… Read more »

surferdudes
4 years ago

Jason Garrett use to be the H.C., O.C., Jones made sure he only where’s the H.C. headphones now. I’m beginning to believe the two should be separate. Lovie took over play calling last year, and the defense took a dive. It’s gotta be hard wearing both hats. Koetter’s play calling has left a lot to be desired this season, and I think that has to do with the two voices in his head. The one saying balls to the wall, and the one that has to take the whole picture into consideration. The best O.C.’s get awfully conservative when they… Read more »

matador
4 years ago

JW was under extreme duress but ex the third quarter his questionable decision making and accuracy were on display. He has to be on this list. The entire OL should be as well for its holiday party impersonation of Swiss cheese. That’s Licht’s fault for apparently not understanding the basic idea of building teams from the inside out. If we’re being realistic, this team has overacchieved its overall talent level. If we fail to make the playoffs that’s okay because we have a leader and a head coach that we and the players can believe in and are heading in… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  matador
4 years ago

I disagree with your statement that Licht made mistakes with Aguayo, Smith and Sims. “Mistakes” in terms of draft picks means busts. The only one of Smith’s draft picks in the third round and above that were busts was ASJ. Aguayo is kicking well after a slow start (14 of his last 16 field goal attempts, leading scorer a week ago, 100% this week). Smith is a capable offensive lineman who is unfairly picked on .. he’s learning and getting better in only his second year in the league facing the cream of the crop in opposing defensive linemen week… Read more »

matador
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

I respect your opinion and posts but there’s a difference between drafting a bust and getting a poor return on the investment that a pick represents. Using a 2nd on Aguayo who has not improved the team instead of bringing in a starting caliber OL is a huge mistake. Drafting what has been shown to be an embarrassingly one dimensional running back in the 3rd round was a smaller mistake but a mistake nonetheless. As you mention ASJ was a complete bust. As far as Smith, I watch him very carefully and simply disagree, he doesn’t stay engaged with his… Read more »

a-bomb
4 years ago

The reason the Bucs lost this game is simple: the Cowboys played to their strengths and the Bucs did not force the Cowboys to play to our strengths. On offense, we continue to try and run Martin up the middle. It just isn’t working. Whether there needs to be a change at RB or the runs need to be designed differently, something has to give. The pass protection was bad all night. JW’s fumble and the last interception were both the result of him being hit on the arm while he was throwing the ball. Knowing the the pass protection… Read more »

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