Have you exhaled yet? The drama was at an all-time high, as the Bucs pulled out a 19-17 win in a sloppy, rainy game. Millions were watching with anxious anticipation, as Nick Folk lined up to kick a 56-yard go-ahead field goal. The long boot hit off the left upright and bounced away – no good.

The Bucs prevailed in a back-and-forth game over the Patriots on Sunday Night Football to increase their record to 3-1 on the season and get in a tie for first place in the NFC South. It was not all pretty, though, as Tampa Bay once again committed many mistakes. Had it not been for a strong drive with four minutes to go by Brady and the offense to take the lead, Tampa Bay would be holding a loss.

Here were the most disappointing players from the game.

P Bradley Pinion

You really can’t start much worse in a game then kicking the ball out of bounds before the end zone on the opening kickoff. Pinion isn’t on the field that often, so when he makes a mistake, it’s more noticeable than others. With the power he has in his leg, I’m curious why he didn’t just kick it out of the end zone. We’ve seen Pinion do that multiple times this season, so it was surprising to not see him do it there. Pinion averaged 42.5 yards per punt on four attempts, with none landing inside the 20. There’s been a decline in his punting since a great first week.

CB Richard Sherman

It was clear that the Patriots were picking on Sherman to start the game. You can’t really blame them, considering Sherman only began practicing with the Bucs on Wednesday. I’ll back Sherman up that his pass interference penalty on third down was a bad call, but he also got beat multiple times by Kendrick Bourne and company on a Patriots scoring drive. The Patriots later attacked Sherman, as they once again took the lead in the fourth quarter after another touchdown. I wouldn’t be too concerned about Sherman moving forward. Once he’s more familiar with the defensive scheme and in playing shape, he’ll be fine. He finished the game with seven tackles and a fumble recovery.

RG Alex Cappa

Cappa and Ronald Jones were responsible for allowing a sack to Matthew Judon during a play where they were supposed to double team him as Cappa pulled on a play-action pass. It’s inexcusable that a sack should occur that quickly when you have two men blocking a pass rusher. Cappa later got dismantled by Lawrence Guy on a second-and-1 play that stopped Leonard Fournette at the line of scrimmage, with the following play being an incomplete pass to force a punt. This came right after the Bucs got a big turnover. You can’t have poor blocking like that and not convert on a first down when you have second-and-short.

LT Donovan Smith

Judon appeared to be trouble for the whole offensive line. Smith had an extremely costly illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty while negating what was a 45-yard completion from Brady to Antonio Brown down the field. It pushed the Bucs too far back to regain the first down, ending with a punt. It’s costly penalties in big moments such as this that have hurt the Bucs all season long despite their 3-1 record.

TE O.J. Howard 

With Rob Gronkowski out for the game, one would think there would be a bigger role for Howard. This was not the case, as Howard has been relegated to the third string (now backup) tight end. His lone contribution to this game was a false start penalty that moved the Bucs back and eventually forced them to punt. We’ll see if he’ll get more opportunities depending on how long Gronkowski is out for.

TE Cam Brate

Brate was the go-to tight end with Gronkowski out, but didn’t bring a ton to the table. He had an egregious drop on a pass that hit him right on the hands over the middle. It would have went for a first down and kept the Bucs drive going down 7-6, but they had to punt instead. He made up for it later with a big third down catch in the red zone, but he was wide open. Earlier in the game, Brate was bodied by Kyle Dugger in man coverage, giving Brady no window for a throw on 3rd down. He caught two passes for 29 yards on Sunday night.

KR Jaydon Mickens 

Mickens has been solid in the return game this season, though it was not the case on Sunday night. His lone kick return attempt got him a 13-yard gain and put the Bucs way back in field position. He fumbled on a punt as well, which he was bailed out on because the Patriots committed a penalty. A fumble at that point could have prevented the Bucs from coming away with the win.

Bucs Red Zone Offense

The Bucs didn’t have too many issues moving down the field, it was in the red zone where their drives stopped. They failed to score on all but one of their trips to the red zone, which came on a touchdown run by Ronald Jones II. Credit the Patriots defense for tightening things up when it mattered most, but there were dropped passes, missed throws and poor execution that kept this game closer than it should have been.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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BucFan circa76
3 months ago

I’m still catching my breath, yes, but agree with your list Matt. As a lifelong Bucs’ fan, I am accustomed to feeling numb & emotionally drained afterwards. This one was par for the course, but a game we had to win – and thankfully did. Agree with you on Sherman, not an ideal performance but 7 tackles and a fumble recovery for his first action in 2 seasons is not a bad start. Miami will test him and the secondary again until we prove it’s not in their best interest. I was hoping O.J. Howard and/or Brate would shine in… Read more »

fredster
Reply to  BucFan circa76
3 months ago

Howard is starting to look like a bust imo. Brate wasn’t great last night but he has been solid last few years.

Dman
3 months ago

Judon made a bunch of our guys look bad. Give the guy credit, heck of a player.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Dman
3 months ago

Yup – great player.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Dman
3 months ago

Barmore was abusing the Guards too

fredster
Reply to  eaustinyoung
3 months ago

Our O line isn’t playing terrible but they sure have not been real good through 4 games either. On a night when we finally ran ball well we should been able to protect better imo. Yes Pats have some really good pass rushers but we were a really good O line last year.

Last edited 3 months ago by fredster
DT25
Reply to  Dman
3 months ago

Agree. I don’t really even blame Cappa/RoJo for the sack he got on them. The play call/design there was highly suspect. Why are we running a play action and pulling a guard to block Judon with a free release? He’s too good to allow him to jump off the line unblocked and by the time Jones faked the handoff and Cappa pulled across the line, Judon already had the angle to Brady closed.

Eddie
Reply to  Dman
3 months ago

I think he will be much less effective if Gronk was available to help block him. Especially to help Donovan Smith.

Pete Wood
3 months ago

I’d add Antonio Brown and the officiating crew to this list. Brown dropped several very catchable passes and how he missed that lob to him in the end zone is baffling. And the officiating killed several drives with phantom calls and reversed a clear fumble by New England.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Pete Wood
3 months ago

You weren’t watching the same game I did – none of those two attempts to the end zone to Brown were catchable balls. Brady’s accuracy sucked all night, consistently overthrowing his receivers. Brown made a bunch of clutch catches when the ball was decently placed.

Benjamin
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

Those two passes to AB were not catchable? Bullshit they were not, one hit him in the goddamn hands, not the tips of his fingers but right in his hands and the first one was a easy back shoulder throw of he had been able to track it at all. AB is one of the best Wrs to ever play football and both of those throws were right where they needed to be especially the second one that HIT HIM RIGHT IN HIS GODDAMN HANDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Captain Sly
Reply to  Pete Wood
3 months ago

I don’t know! Sometimes I wonder if I watched a different game/team than most because Antonio Brown looked like the Best player on the field last night. And this is not hyperbole, he’s become our Best Receiver.

Pete Wood
Reply to  Captain Sly
3 months ago

That’s really interesting. Watched the game with another lifelong Bucs fan last night and the two most disappointing players to us were Mickens and Brown. No debate as to either one.
I could be the Bucs return man if the plan is to stand there and watch the ball land and bounce and make no attempt to grab it.

chefboho
3 months ago

Can we put the refs on here too? The calls against the Bucs this year have been blatantly terrible. Like, really bad. The first drive was a clear fumble that was reversed and the holding on Carlton Davis was suspect as hell to keep drives alive. The Bucs can’t catch a break from these damn officials and I hate to use those as excuses.

warren
Reply to  chefboho
3 months ago

And the ghost pass interference call against Whitehead (#33) was horrific.

Buc on the Move
3 months ago

While I agree with most of the list, I struggle to blame Sherman for the teams struggles against the short to intermediate passing game. He gave up plenty of completions, but for only being with the team for a couple practices, I thought he held his own very well. When he did give up the catch, he was making sure tackles. The scheme we use has been giving up these kinds of plays with regularity. Personally, I’m more disappointed with Devin White dropping an INT and continuing to play out of control. As a matter of fact, it’s fortunate for… Read more »

Naplesfan
3 months ago

Matera may as well have put pretty much the entire team on his “most disappointing player” list. I dunno – anytime you can get a win on the road there can’t be very many on this list. Pretty dumb to put Sherman on the list. How can a guy who just signed midway in the season, with a grand total of three practices with the team, and who was NOT supposed to even play, let alone start, make the “most disappointing player list”? HUH!!!! Especially when the guy led the entire team in tackles on a night where our defense… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Naplesfan
Captain Sly
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

The defense only allowed 17 points! And Tom Brady led Another 4th qtr comeback! Why does that Disappoint You? Wait, never mind

Naplesfan
Reply to  Captain Sly
3 months ago

The total defense was not bad, mainly because of completely stopping the run in the rain, and a couple of turnovers. But the pass defense was atrocious.

By definition, if you are allowing 79% completion, two TDs, and 320 yards in the air to a rookie quarterback, that is just some bad pass defense. We’ve had the worst pass defense, or almost worst in the league all season to date. Literally the entire NFL world has taken note of how bad our pass defense has been so far.

Wait, you don’t get that, do you?

SMH

Last edited 3 months ago by Naplesfan
Horse
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

Totally agree.

Joseph
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 months ago

What exactly is the expectation with literal backups and Sherman just signed days ago they survived which was all that was expected didn’t give up huge plays they didn’t look elite by any means but considering the circumstances could of been a whole hell of a lot worse

fredster
3 months ago

I agree on Sherman, give the guy a break. Here less than week and hadn’t played since early last season. Don’t think he was that disappointing and actually probably fared better than Dean would have! Donovan Smith never disappoints with at least one or two terrible penalties or sacks in games where we really just need consistency. Go ahead Smith apologists and tell me how stupid I am for saying what’s obvious.

Bradley Smith
3 months ago

I think all Bucs fans agree that Sherman is a major upgrade from every corner on the team and thankful he played last night. Hopefully the Davis injury is not serious otherwise the team is again stuck with Dean starting.

DT25
Reply to  Bradley Smith
3 months ago

eh I don’t think he’ll be a major upgrade from every corner (Davis is easily better at this point in their careers) but I also don’t think he was disappointing given the circumstances. I think he’ll likely be picked on quite often while he’s getting his feet wet in this defense and his top end speed may never be what it once was…but I think he’ll provide some relief while the rest of the secondary gets healthy again.

bucbradstill
3 months ago

Can’t agree with Sherman on the list. I didn’t see him get burned for any big completions like we saw last week. If they caught it, he tackled them right there. He kept everything in front of him. On 3 days of practice after sitting out for 10 months?! Heck you can’t count on Dean for keeping stuff in front of him and making tackles. Cappa was having to pull out from the opposite side and get past a bumbling Rojo, on Matt Judon with an already full head of steam. That was just a bad scheme. No ONE makes… Read more »

Spitfire
3 months ago

Honestly, for Sherman to walk off the street and start like that he did about as good as one could. What’s promising is once Davis and Dean are healthy, I can see him locking down the Nickel role for us moving forward and being a leader in the middle. He got burned towards the end but Bowles should have schemed better once all his starting CBs were out. For him to know nothing about what was going on out there except his natural instincts, I felt like he did pretty darn good. Excited to see how he plays once he… Read more »

MojoU
3 months ago

No way Sherman belongs on this list. I thought he played well considering the situation. I was actually impressed to see one of our DBs (Sherman) actually make tackles to keep a 5-yard play from becoming a 25-yard play. He also made some nice tackles in the run game. The fumble recovery was huge.

Spitfire
3 months ago

It’s hard to judge the Offense with how sloppy the weather was, but Brate not catching more balls was severely disappointing. He’s historically had surprisingly solid hands and should be able to be relied on more. Brown had some great catches but those 2 miscues in the End Zone on the last drive were hard to stomach. Evans exactly the same, which had to be the wet ball that hurt them with Brady throwing wet bullets. Good teams win despite mistakes and injuries so it was good to see, but they got a lot of work to do to get… Read more »

Horse
3 months ago

No question Offense was effected by rain and questionable penalties calls, but this is football. I don’t see how Sherman was on this list? I thought he played okay considering his situation and hadn’t played football for a while. Of course he was rusty. A lot of dropped passes and Brady was off too.

surferdudes
3 months ago

At least Sherman was in the same zip code as the guy he was covering, and was able to make a quick stop. Since none of our corners seem to be able to cover the short middle, maybe Bowles should be on the list? The hands to the face was questionable by Smith, but what wasn’t flagged on the same play was a defender diving for Brady’s knees that wasn’t called. When I first saw the flag come out I thought that was going to be the call. At the very least penalties should’ve been offset. That brings me to… Read more »

Charlie
3 months ago

Swap out Cam Brate for Devin White and the list is at it should be honestly. Devin White’s miscues in coverage and poor tackling are way more egregious than a dropped pass from your 2nd string TE.

Buc-Up
3 months ago

Smith’s Illegal Hands to the Face calls was BS! It was the inside of his forearm and was incidental. He didn’t use his hands or forearms to strike a blow to the facemask or helmet. I saw JC Jackson hit Evans in the facemask in the open right after the snap and the refs didn’t call it. Sherman was left with little help because Bowles kept blitzing. Bowles and Leftwitch should be on this list for poor play calling and schemes. Bowles needs to stop blitzing our DB’s so much because it leaves holes in coverage. Blitz our LB’s because… Read more »

bucballer
3 months ago

WTH is going on with OJ?! He is just not producing like most of us thought he would. What gives? Can he not pick up the playbook? Is he in the BA doghouse? I’m shocked by his lack of production, especially with Gronk out. If u were to draw up a pic of what the prototype TE would be, he would look like OJ. All that speed, size, and potential ability? Yet nothing. It’s a head scratcher for sure. If OJ goes to another team, I bet they find a way to make him more productive than he is in… Read more »

eaustinyoung
Reply to  bucballer
3 months ago

OJ has had bust written all over him for years.

warren
Reply to  bucballer
3 months ago

I’m not sure if Howard is fully recovered from his Achilles injury, or whether he’s not studying the playbook, or whether he’s just not that good! Whichever way you cut it, he looks lost on every play,

Benjamin
3 months ago

I am sorry but the hands to face call on Smith was horse shit. He didn’t grab, punch, flick, or anything to his face mask. That’s was as garbage a call as I have seen.

Eddie
3 months ago

For me, OJ Howard was the most disappointing of them all. Maybe Brady saw something in Howard last year that prompted him to lobby for Gronk to join him. He is not the one