After playing five quarters and 92 snaps on Sunday in a 30-24 overtime loss to Oakland, the Bucs’ defense struggled again Thursday in a divisional loss to the Falcons with just four days off.

But that quick turnaround isn’t being used as an excuse for a defense that allowed 461 yards, even against one of the NFL’s most potent offenses.

“Whether it’s a factor or not, we can’t use it as an excuse … it’s football,” Bucs cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah said. “Whether we went into double overtime or whatever it was, we need to come out and play when the ball is snapped and today we just didn’t click.”

In their last two games combined, spanning five days, the Tampa Bay defense has given up 1,087 yards and 73 points.

Despite holding a one-point lead with 8:35 remaining in the first half, the Bucs allowed 27 unanswered points, putting them in a hole once again that they couldn’t get out of.

“The third quarter got out of hand,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “We let it get away from us. We can’t have those moments. We have to learn to finish games.

“We finished the first half off well and let them score the first drive of the second half and it just kind of got out of hand from there.”

McCoy attributes some of the struggles to members of the defense trying to do too much rather than playing their assignments.

“It’s guys just trying to do too much trying to make a play instead of just doing what you’re asked to do on that particular call and let the plays come to you,” McCoy said. “This isn’t the kind of defense where you can go make a play. You gotta be in your gap. This defense is set up for everyone to make plays, but when you go try and make a play, that’s when we get gashed.”

For McCoy, tough losses like these have become somewhat of a trend over his six-year career. Since being drafted third overall by the Bucs in 2010, Tampa Bay has gone 36-60 with just one winning season.

And it’s not getting any easier for the All-Pro tackle.

“It’s just another rough time for me,” McCoy said. “Just gotta fight through it, keep pushing. The first half of the season, we didn’t finish it the way we wanted to, but that’s why there’s two halves.”

With a short week comes an extended break following it up. It’s a break that McCoy feels needs to be spent with self-reflection rather than placing blame.

“We have to take these three days off and evaluate ourselves and do some soul searching, individually,” McCoy said. “Not by pointing fingers like ‘it’s this or it’s that.’ Everybody has to look at themselves and see what they can do better. The next few days need to just really be a break.

“We don’t need to rest we need to reload.”

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About the Author: Jacob Hoag

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surferdudes (@surferdudes)
5 years ago

Yes Gerald, some soul searching. Take the D this weekend to the mountion top to seek answers from the wise ones. Dig deep into your souls, why is this so, so, shitty? Couple of hints,can’t pressure, can’t cover, can’t tackle, probably can’t dance. Add at least three of these up it basically means you guys suck. Don’t like to say it, but it’s ture.

JerEazy (@napleskrewe)
5 years ago

Soul searching? He needs to do soul searching? No McCoy. You need to work on your technique. You need to work on your conditioning. You need to study film. The Defense needs to figure out their assignments. Learn how to disguise coverage. Shoot, they need to learn how to cover PERIOD.

Quit being too cool for school Mr. McCoy.

Horse (@horse)
5 years ago

It all starts with the DL and OL. Besides this issue we need Safeties. We are one slow team on both sides. Time to start as many young players as possible. The ship has sunk; lets see if anyone knows how to row.

pinkstob (@pinkstob)
5 years ago

It comes down to talent and preparation. Soul searching to me suggests that preparation is a problem with these guys. I didn’t think preparation was a problem, I was attributing most of the problems to the Bucs having less talent than our opponents. Maybe it’s both because talent is definitely a problem. It’s easier to blame preparation than talent for fans, coaches and players because talent takes a lot longer to fix than preparation. You can only fix talent by getting new players.