The Buccaneers lost on a late field goal – by a former Bucs kicker to make matters worse – and fell to 3-2 on the season with a 20-19 loss to the Chicago Bears. There was plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the ball, and also by the coaching staff.

Here is our weekly list of the most disappointing Bucs from Thursday night.

QB Tom Brady

This selection undoubtably will cause a lot of debate, as it did with our staff following the game, but at the end of the night Brady failed to deliver a win against a team that the Bucs should have beaten.

First of all, his coaches did him no favors. Byron Leftwich called possibly his worst game in his 21-game career as offensive coordinator. The last two drives were as bad of a series of play calls as we have seen since former Lovie Smith O.C. Marcus Arroyo was on the headset. His offensive line looked discombobulated for almost the entire second half, and head coach Bruce Arians couldn’t decide if he wanted to risk it, or forgo the biscuit for a slice of plain Wonder Bread.

But as far as Brady’s responsibility in the loss, his decision making on the last drive was that of a rookie and not a 20-year veteran quarterback. His first pass of the last drive was a first down completion to Mike Evans, but his next pass for Evans was wildly off target. On third down, his pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski was off target and could have been picked off, and his fourth down pass to Cameron Brate was just a poor decision when needing only five yards.

There was zero reason for a desperation throw in that situation. There was still 38 seconds left and the Bucs only needed about 25 yards to get in Ryan Succop’s range to win the game. And despite what Arians and other players said, Brady was absolutely confused on the down after the last play. Whether it was Brady’s fault or Leftwich in his ear saying it was third down, there are scoreboards all over Soldier Field that say what down it is, and also the sideline marker on the chains.

The bottom line is – Tom Brady was brought to Tampa Bay to win games like this. Games where things go poorly, the officials are terrible and his offensive line struggles. As the old saying goes, a quarterback gets too much credit after a win and too much blame after loss. But there is a reason they are usually the highest-paid player on the team and criticism is part of playing the position.

Bucs Offensive Line

It was an awful, dreadful night by the Bucs offensive line. Penalties, poor blocking, miscommunication – as good as the Bucs line played last Sunday, it was just as bad on Thursday night. Left tackle Donovan Smith had two false starts and a holding call, while surrendering at least one sack. Tristan Wirfs for the first time this season played like the rookie he is, giving up a sack to Khalil Mack and also had a penalty. Ryan Jensen joined his teammates in making a bonehead mistake, picking up a personal foul for head-butting a Bears player. Brady was under siege all night, particularly in the second half, and was officially hit eight times and sacked three times.

The line did help Ronald Jones average 6.2 yards per carry and pick up 106 yards on 17 carries but at the end of the day, they won’t win many – if any – games with a performance like that again.

Bucs Coaching Staff

The entire coaching staff shares some blame in this loss. From head-scratching play calls by Leftwich, to questionable decisions by Arians, to a puzzling game plan at times by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, this wasn’t a well-coached game. Even special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong’s kickoff return unit was poor giving up an average of 39.7 yards on three kickoff returns.

And we can’t list unit deficiencies without mentioning offensive line coaches Harold Godwin and Joe Gilbert who didn’t have their guys prepared to handle the Bears pass rush.

The Bucs have one of, if not the largest coaching staff in the NFL, and the Glazers pay a lot of money to see better results from their employees.

OLB Shaq Barrett

Barrett ended the night with three tackles and one QB pressure, but when his team needed a sack the most, he wasn’t able to come through. Barrett was also flagged for a roughing-the-passer call that was questionable at the very least, but the penalty came on third down, giving the Bears another set of downs. Barrett had a ton of one-on-one looks on Thursday night, but was just a step late all night long.

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn 

Vaughn’s fumble after a vicious hit right before the half, helped spark the Bears’ comeback after they were down 13-0 through the first 25 minutes of the game. On the play prior Vaughn dropped a pass on the sideline. The Bears took advantage of the short field and ended up scoring a touchdown to put them ahead 14-13 going into the half. Vaughn finished the nigh with two catches for just five yards.

 

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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DerLutz
1 year ago

The game was once again bucs beat bucs. Yes, the referees were bad and against the bucs but the playcalling and the decisions were worse.
Why didn’t they play Press Coverage but help Foles to find their rhythm with many simple completions.
Why do you go on your own 20 at 4&1 and at the end of the game not but shoot the FG? With more than 4 minutes on the clock you have to stop the offense anyway. Spread formation and if the A Gaps are open QB Sneak otherwise there will be some 1-on-1s

compewterpirate
1 year ago

I think it is fair to put Brady on the list, purely for his handling of that last drive. As mentioned, to lose track of which down it was, was a rookie error and inexcusable for a veteran QB of Brady’s stature. Donovan Smith stunk the joint up and there were boneheaded plays from Jensen and other missteps from the O line all night. Wirfs, for the first time, did look a bit like a rookie, but there is no disgrace in that. The Barrett roughing the passer call was a bunch of BS and cost the Bucs critical field… Read more »

PatrioticChief
Reply to  compewterpirate
1 year ago

Except BA explicitly said he he didn’t lose track of downs. Let’s not regurgitate a false narrative please.

Last edited 1 year ago by PatrioticChief
BucNnole
Reply to  PatrioticChief
1 year ago

I don’t give a shit what BA said… anyone with common sense can clearly see Brady didn’t know what down it was. Let’s not be a dumbass please.

Toucan
Reply to  BucNnole
1 year ago

Bruce is careful not to throw players under the bus. I saw Brady hold up 4 fingers more than once. He did lose track of downs for a reason only he can answer about.Brady made some bad throws and decisions.It happens.

compewterpirate
Reply to  PatrioticChief
1 year ago

Hardly a false narrative … you evidently didn’t read TB’s lips where he can be quite explicitly shown to be querying that it was 4th down!

bucballer
Reply to  PatrioticChief
1 year ago

He did lose track of the downs… unless he was concussed by the battering he took! U could read his lips and see the confusion in his eyes. Admit it and move on Tom. It happens.

BigSombrero
Reply to  PatrioticChief
1 year ago

Brady apologist always have hearts on their eyes. 😍

Dave
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

The same as Brady haters will come up with any excuse they can think of to minimize Brady playing good when he has a good game. Which you’re the king of. Who the hell are you kidding dude. You should look in the mirror before you make a stupid comment like that

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
matador
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

…it’s that you are in fact an asshat

hamilton
1 year ago

Don’t blame leftwich,be real, Brady had a bad game.

Dave
Reply to  hamilton
1 year ago

If you’re going to seriously sit here and say don’t blame Leftwhich, blame Brady, you lose all credibility as a knowledgeable football fan. Because that was easily, without a doubt, the worst called game I’ve ever watched in my life from an OC. With a clearly hobbled Evans and Miller(neither of which should have played), with no Godwin and OJ, and in a game where 1)Rojo averaged as many yards per carry as Brady did per pass, 2) the Bucs were either winning or within a FG for almost the entire game, and 3)the line couldn’t protect Brady for shit,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
Ted in Tampa
1 year ago

There were problems all across the OLine, but GM Jason Licht and the Coaches who won’t replace OLT Donovan Smith own the greatest part of this loss. For over three years, Smith has not had the speed necessary to get his big a## into our backfield in order to protect our Quarterbacks. That’s why he tries to anticipate the snap and that’s why he jumps offsides so often. Then if he has slept through the snap, he just reaches out and grabs the edge rushers flying past him For the last 5 years he has led the Bucs OLine in… Read more »

DT25
Reply to  Ted in Tampa
1 year ago

Last night was more than a Donovan issue. Entire OL fell apart at different times. Think Marpet is the only guy I can’t think of specifically screwing up and leading to a loss of yardage…either due to a sack or a boneheaded penalty. Bears have a solid DL and Mack is almost certainly the best pass rusher they see all season…but this game was a wake up call for all 5 of them.

Ted in Tampa
Reply to  DT25
1 year ago

DT25, like I said there were problems across the OLine, but Donovan Smith personally allowed two sacks, jumped offsides twice, and was finally caught holding once. If the rest of the OLine had made just a few mistakes, you’re not going to win with Donovan Smith. He has no foot speed; we’re fortunate TB12 hasn’t been taken out yet due to Smith’s ineptitude. He should have been replaced three years ago, but instead, GM Jason Licht extended his contract. As long as Smith is in there you will only see an exceptionally poor effort. TB12 should demand better talent/effort at… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  Ted in Tampa
1 year ago

Yea Ted! I agree! It’s kind of an important position too. Right? The look on Brady’s face as he was sitting on the turf and looking up at Smith… priceless!

Dman
1 year ago

Take Vaughn off this list. Kid got crushed and came back. Agree with most rest of this list and yeah, refs in the second half were ridiculous. It got to the point where you scratch your head wondering if they got a call from the Commish on the outcome of the game. at half time.

Spruce
1 year ago

Oh my. The old man has a senior moment forgetting what down it is and does not produce at exactly the time he was hired to in the first place. It’s a set back but not a deal killer.
This was not some kind of trap game the Bucs were expected to win. It was a tough one. Didn’t happen. Missed opportunity.
On to Green Bay with extra time to rest and prepare.

Bradley Smith
1 year ago

Seemed like everyone had an off night except Succop. Although I like Thursday night games, I think only teams come off byes should be scheduled. The players and coaches must dislike playing them with only 4-days rest.

surferdudes
1 year ago

Agree with all of the above. For me the biggest blunder was not going for it on 4th and 1 from the Bears 9 yard line. Going up by 2 with so much time left had to be a boost for Chic knowing they only had to get into FG range to win. Which is what happened. If we would’ve gone for it, and not got it the Bears would’ve been backed up, and chances are we would’ve stopped them got the ball back, and had a chance to still kick that FG for the win. I blame Arians for… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  surferdudes
1 year ago

Yep! Clearly! 4th and 1 u go for it and put the game out of reach. U play to win not play not to lose! U did it deep in ur own side of the field??? Where’s the jumbo package with Vea or Roche at FB? U blow them up at the line of scrimmage.

BigSombrero
Reply to  surferdudes
1 year ago

Bucs went for it on 4th and inches from their own 20 in the first half and almost didn’t get it. Replay showed Brady was stuffed. That likely was a factor into the decision to take the points and the lead.

Knightrider79
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Ok, please stop talking. Your obvious bias is now showing in full effect. His initial surge he got the first down then was pushed back

BigSombrero
Reply to  Knightrider79
1 year ago

Reading is fundamental.

It’s clear he got the first down. He needed 4 inches and got 6 inches. It was close as shit was the point.

Coaches AND Brady had to be concerned about going for it again. That is the factor as to WHY they didn’t go for it on 4th down late in the game.

You take the points and the lead.

surferdudes
1 year ago

Oh and Mark how is JPP not on this list?

rrsrq
Reply to  surferdudes
1 year ago

JPP playing hurt, didn’t practice all week

eaustinyoung
Reply to  surferdudes
1 year ago

He was getting held like his dog has cancer. He caused a sack and FF that the Bucs couldn’t do anything with. Not his fault.

BigSombrero
Reply to  eaustinyoung
1 year ago

“Getting held like his dog had cancer.” That was pretty funny.

MichaelMyersIsABucsFan
1 year ago

Shaq Barrett and Devin White are both dreadful in coverage and Shaq Barrett has made zero impact this season. Devin White should have been on this list.

Buc stops here
1 year ago

The turning point was at the end of the first half when the Bucs gave up back to back Touchdowns in a period of 1 minute 34 seconds. The sustained drive at the end of the half was disappointing, but seeing the somewhat questionable call on the fumble in the replay (where there was not clear evidence that there was a fumble by Ke’Shawn Vaughn when hit by Kyle Murry) and the immediate second touchdown, that was a killer. Tom Brady did everything he could but when the offensive line literally commits three penalties in a row and pushes a… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  Buc stops here
1 year ago

Perfectly said! Couldn’t agree more. The penalties were absolutely ridiculous. Brady was put in a no win situation. He’s not without blame, and if he has the ball at the end, with a chance to win, I expect him to lead them in FG range for the win. So he’s got blame too. But by and large, this game was lost because of completely inept coaching, and stupid penalties. Only poorly coached teams commit 8-10 penalties EVERY single game like the Bucs do. Belichick would NEVER EVER allow his team to commit that many penalties per game. He’d cut The… Read more »

BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Belichick? STFU and GTFOH.

Remember when you picked Houston to win the AFC South And I said they’ll start 0-4?

Lol.

rrsrq
1 year ago

Don’t see how Shaq made this list, as fast as Foles got the ball out because the DBs were playing 10 yards off. When Foles went down because of pressure, it was from up the middle.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  rrsrq
1 year ago

Yeah Todd Bowles was playing horrible soft zone shit. Looked like Mike Smith was back. We don’t have fast enough safeties to play soft zone.

Chris
1 year ago

There is a lot of blame to go around but this line about Wirfs is silly… “played like the rookie he is, giving up a sack to Khalil Mack and also had a penalty”

On the sack he gave up it was a good pass pro rep. Brady should’ve stepped up into the pocket instead he just stood in both DEs path. Also, he’s played great but are our expectations really “you have to be perfect” or else finally he’s playing like a rookie? Khalil Mack is good.

Armchairquarterback
1 year ago

I don’t understand why we have Shaq back into coverage. He is not a cover linebacker, every time he is in coverage it’s a big play for the other team. I really hope Godwin is good to go next week we need him. And Smith is soooooooo bad it’s not even funny, it hasn’t changed since he’s came into the league.

fredster
1 year ago

That was possibly single worst O line performance I’ve ever seen. Undisciplined garbage and Brady won’t last the season if it’s not fixed this week. Won’t hold my breath been waiting 6 years for Donovan Smith not to suck. The whole line had issues. Yes Bears are good defense, but no excuse for that garbage. Rest of list is ok but Vaughn had no chance with that catch but must have head on swivel and get down! Brady sucked period. How you lose track of downs? Senior moment? My god that was terrible. Play calling was shit! Second to Last… Read more »

stlbucsfan
1 year ago

This list is a joke the names that belong on here are the entire OL, Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich. Yesterday showed that our lack of running game had nothing to do with the score point like they claimed last season. Rojo was carving them up in the first half yet they still abandoned the run while in a one score game. Continue to put Donovan, the known weak link, in 1 on 1s by going empty and exposing Brady to the abuse he suffered all day yesterday. Sack after sack, penalty after penalty they opened up in an empty… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  stlbucsfan
1 year ago

Keyshawn fumbled. Tough play. He caught it. Then got pummeled and dropped it. Nothing he could really do. He just got lit up.

Dave
Reply to  stlbucsfan
1 year ago

Perfectly said man! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Agree on every single thing you said. The blame is on Leftwhich, the OLine, and BA, in order. It’s hard to even fathom that the play calls, and coaches decisions were made by an NFL coaching staff. Felt like I was watching my neighbor coach and call plays for his 8 year olds pop warner football game. Definitely not Brady’s fault that his top 2 WR’s were a completely hobbled Evans and Miller( who both shouldn’t have played), to go along with no Godwin or OJ, a completely washed up Gronk,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

More Excuses from Dave about his boyfriend.

owlykat
1 year ago

Agreed, and by BA not trading off Turnstyle D. Smith now the whole nation knows what a lousy OT he is and BA now will never be able to trade him to anyone and will just have to cut him. Part of the blame goes to Licht for giving the bum a guaranteed $14 million this year. Licht was a lineman at one time and should have known better. And Leftwhich should have gone for a touchdown on short yardage deep and just kicked a field goal. The next contract for our Center needs to contain a money penalty for… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  owlykat
1 year ago

Was a very soft headbutt. Barely touched the guys helmet. He’s got to me more mentally tough against that shite!

StPeteB
1 year ago

D Smith doesn’t even appear to care at times… I see no fighter mentality in his play… I would seriously consider letting him walk TODAY!!!

BigSombrero
Reply to  StPeteB
1 year ago

And let Josh Wells man the LT position? That’s not likely to turn out well.

bucballer
1 year ago

That game was there for the taking. I think we should’ve/could’ve won that game. In fact, good teams win the games like that. Not sure what Bowles was trying to do this game. Just looked out of sync all game. All game long gave up the short pass to the outside by playing 10-12 yards off man. ALL GAME! U would have thought that it would require a halftime adjustment. Nope! Didn’t see the aggressiveness that we had seen in previous games. On several coverages the DBs never looked back to try and track the ball??? We shit the bed… Read more »

DEBUCSOWN
1 year ago

Add refs. My biggest disappointment easily. Pathetic officiating tonight.

EastEndBoy
1 year ago

I think a lot more defensive players could be on this list…we made Nick Foles, an extremely aged Jimmy Graham, an Oline with a reserve OG, and Alan Robinson look like the next coming of Air Coryelle. I though Davis showed up – at least being on top of his WR when he gave up catches…the rest of the secondary was picked apart…why on God’s good earth does Bunting yield 10 yards to his man on 3rd and 7…even Winston could have thrown that first down. It should be abundantly clear by now that Whitehead cannot cover anyone…why do we… Read more »

Ron Potter
1 year ago

Not sure why Shaq Barrett has been so quiet thru 5 games. Are we expecting too much from him? I would think a big portion of his salary this year is basically makeup for what he accomplished last year. But he sure is playing himself out of a big, long-term contract.