Another slow start really hurt the Bucs as they scratched and clawed their way back into a one-possession game. The defense got carved up at times by Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady did not look like he was on the same page with some of his receivers, but the Bucs still found themselves just a field goal away from tying the game up if they could get the ball back.
Even with momentum at home, they couldn’t stop Mahomes one last time, dropping this one the Chiefs 27-24. These were the most disappointing players from the game.
CB Carlton Davis III
Davis normally has the responsibility of defending the other team’s best receiver, and while he’s played well against some of the league’s best, it was a rough day for him against Tyreek Hill. Davis struggled heavily dealing with Hill’s speed, as he was beaten deep for a 75-yard touchdown. In fact, Hill had 203 yards and two touchdown in the first quarter alone. Hill went on to terrorize the Bucs for the rest of the game, to the tune of 13 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns, including making the catch on the final drive to covert the third down and seal the game. Davis finished with five tackles and two pass breakups.
The Rest Of The Bucs’ Secondary
While Davis was the main one responsible for lackluster play, the rest of the secondary didn’t help him either. Sean Murphy-Bunting was part of the many players that were jumping offsides early on, and missed an important tackle in the run game. Meanwhile, safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. and Mike Edwards were not in the right position when they were supposed to help Davis on a deep passes to Hill. Edwards even whiffed on a tackle during one of Hill’s three touchdowns. We all know how talented of a player Patrick Mahomes is, but when he throws for 462 yards and the pass rush was able to provided some pressure, that means there was an issue in the secondary.
LG Ali Marpet
It was good to see Marpet back after missing the last three games with a concussion as he’s critical to the Bucs’ offensive line. He did have two holding penalties, though, and each time it negated a play of 10+ yards for the offense. One was a 10-yard run on first down by Ronald Jones, while the other was a third down conversion on third-and-five that made it a third-and-15. You don’t often see Marpet get penalized that much and it’s not a trend that you need to worry about, it just two bad plays in important moments.
OC Byron Leftwich
For the second week in a row Leftwich makes most disappointing. The Bucs continue to have slow starts at the beginning of games, instantly putting them behind the eight ball. Following a five-play opening drive that led to a punt, the Bucs then had three straight frustrating three-and-outs. Despite all the talent, this offense at times looks archaic and predictable that calls for plays that need perfect execution with high degrees of difficulty. The offense constantly continues to look for the deep ball when there are options open underneath, and when teams bring the blitz on third down, there isn’t anyone running a hot route or a running back available as a safety outlet to avoid the rush.
There was no better example than in the first quarter when Antonio Brown was in the backfield and just ran straight down the field, where Tom Brady overthrew him by at least 10 yards because the blitz was coming and Brown was covered. There’s not much in this offense that surprises their opponent. You would think that since the Chiefs struggle against the run, allowing 133 yards per game, that Ronald Jones would get plenty of carries, but he ended up with just nine. Tampa Bay did turn it on in the second half, but it was too little, too late. It also included some head scratching play calls near the goal line to open the third quarter. There’s too many times that this team looks completely out of rhythm after 12 games together. Leftwich constantly repeats himself each week saying that he’ll put the players in the best position to succeed, but we’ve only seen the contrary.
Bruce Arians’ Clock Management
Arians elected not to call any timeouts near the end of the second quarter with the Chiefs in the red zone. The Bucs held them to a field goal, but with 11 seconds remaining, Tampa Bay took a knee even with two timeouts in their pocket instead of using them earlier and having more time to try and score before the half. Then with four minutes left in the game, the Bucs used their second timeout after a seven-yard run on first down that Kansas City then converted on the next play. I don’t necessarily blame Arians for believing in his defense to make the stop on the next two downs with short yardage, but if you held onto the two timeouts after the opening first down conversion, you’d still be able to kill the clock before the two-minute warning with a chance to get the ball back needing just a field goal. The Chiefs never gave the ball back anyway so it’s a moot point, but it was some situational football that could’ve been handled differently.