The Bucs fell to the Saints in embarrassing fashion on Sunday night, losing to New Orleans by a final score of 38-3 and moving to 6-3 on the season. The loss also leaves Tampa Bay in second place in the division as they head into a Week 10 match-up with the Carolina Panthers.

This list could be twice as long if we chose to nit-pick every individual player, but here are our selections for this week’s Most Disappointing.

Coaching Staff
We can pick apart the players individually and will, but ultimately it is hard for the players to perform well when they are not put in the best position to succeed. Coaching hasn’t been a glaring weakness in the first eight games, but it was really poor on Sunday night.

Offensively, the play calls by Byron Leftwich were puzzling at times, particularly designing plays where the running backs are primary targets. On a team loaded with wide receiver talent, it is inexcusable that Ronald Jones had four targets in the first half and Mike Evans had none.

Defensively, Todd Bowles was taken to the wood shed by Saints head coach Sean Payton. Continually playing a soft zone and hoping your front four could get to quarterback Drew Brees is football suicide. Is there a quarterback in NFL history that has proven to be better against zone coverage than Drew Brees? And maybe even more egregious was the lack of adjustments at any point in the first half, during which the Saints went up 31-0.

Lastly, head coach Bruce Arians didn’t have his team ready to play on Sunday. Whether it was the players enjoying their accolades a little too much, or just not being mentally sharp enough to perform well, at the end of the day it falls on the head coach.

QB Tom Brady
The Bucs offensive line wasn’t good on Sunday night and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was overmatched by Saints DC Dennis Allen, but even with that said, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t close to the same player we’ve seen over the last few weeks.

Brady seemed to bail early at times when the footsteps were getting close, and when he did have time he missed a couple throws he would love to have back. And lastly, his decision-making on where he went with the football wasn’t as good as it’s been in recent weeks.

On the night Brady was just 22-of-38 for 209 yards and three interceptions and finished with a paltry QB rating of 40.4.

LT Donovan Smith
Smith had one of his worst games of the season and an ugly second half spurt of giving up a sack or pressure on three straight plays. His night started with a holding penalty on an 8-yard run by Ronald Jones that led to second-and-20, a down-and-distance which the Bucs were unable to convert. Smith’s two worst games this year have come against the Saints.

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean
Unfortunately this is becoming a habit. Sean Murphy-Bunting wasn’t just beaten on the Saints first quarter opening score, he completely blew the coverage. Or did he? You could actually see Murphy-Bunting looking a little confused just before the snap and he and Jamel Dean clearly weren’t on the same page. In the second quarter Dean was beaten by Emmanuel Sanders for a touchdown that pushed the Saints lead to 21-0.

With Carlton Davis playing as well as he has this season, the Bucs need more consistency at the other cornerback spots if the team hopes to make a deep playoff run. Dean and Murphy-Bunting have been struggling mightily for weeks now. It needs to change or the Bucs pass defense will be in big trouble down the stretch this season.

Bucs Pass Rush
Three pressures and just one sack will rarely beat Drew Brees. The Bucs came into the game with a plan of playing more zone and getting to Brees with four rushers. That didn’t work out well, and you have to scratch your head wondering why the Bucs didn’t in fact do the exact opposite. If Brees has all day to sit in the pocket, he will pick you apart like buzzards on an opossum keeled over in the middle of the road. Brees was the buzzard on Sunday night, and the Bucs aptly played the role of a dead opossum.

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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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chefboho
8 months ago

You’ve mentioned before that this team needs to find an identity. Well this dumb zone coverage isn’t it. All night seeing the CB’s ten yards off against fast receivers and a QB that eats zone coverage alive were inexcusable. And for the love of god, can we all agree that Donovan Smith is going to get Brady injured before the season ends. What a lights out shit show on national television. Everyone knows how I feel about Byron’s terrible predictability. Just shit on all fronts.

BucRN
Reply to  chefboho
8 months ago

Let’s admit something here. No one was complaining about Byron’s “predictability when they were putting up over 30 points per game, but now all of a sudden everyone is playing butt hurt over one game that had the worst game plan.

I hope people on here don’t talk to their kids like this when they mess up. Our fan base is embarrassing at times. I sure hope the players don’t see our comments about how crappy they are.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

These aren’t kids. These are grown ass adults being paid millions to do a job that they’re doing very poorly.

chefboho
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

Clearly you haven’t read any of my previous posts about Leftwich. I’ve talked several times about his bland play calling and predictability. These are grown men making millions, not kids so stop with your sensitive sally bullshit

StPeteB
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

Sometimes predictability can be good…you have to dare defenses to declare…its not that.its lack of situational football understanding coupled with passive protection thats destroying this offense…its redundant Bucs fans deserve better with Brady under center

Spruce
8 months ago

Has to be one of the worst games statistically of any team this year. No matter. It’s a speed bump in what will otherwise be a good season. They got the Saints at exactly the wrong time. The QB tandem they have going is a nightmare to defend schematically from series to series. Calling for the best game planning and continuous scheme changes that the Bucs are not up to. The worst mistake the Bucs made was signing Antonio Brown. It smacked of desperation when there was no reason to be. The guy is a team discipline destroyer. Put him… Read more »

JC
JC
Reply to  Spruce
8 months ago

This has nothing to do with Brown. The team is mentally weak, the coaching staff is inept and the linebackers are bad in coverage. Drew can’t throw the ball over your head. All his throws were inside the numbers. The game plan on both sides was horrible. Smith should’ve had Gronk on his side to help block all night.

Spruce
Reply to  JC
8 months ago

You’re reflecting on one game and you are probably correct. I’m talking about the season. The model for the Bucs was set when they got Brady. Be all in for a year or two. Gronk same thing. Short shelf life. Brown Brady knows well and likes to throw to. But it’s a mistake. Brown is a ticking time bomb and I guarantee you he’ll go off sometime this year when the team can afford it least.Then like the Steelers, Raiders and Pats the Bucs will be scratching their heads and saying why did we do that.

Naplesfan
8 months ago

WTF?

That’s all I have to say this morning.

eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Most disappointing is the whole team. And sorry Naplesfan, it’s time to say Byron Leftwich sucks shit.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Imagine being a Leftwich truther. Yikes. The guy is horrible. Has been all season, even in victory.

Last edited 8 months ago by PatrioticChief
eaustinyoung
Reply to  PatrioticChief
8 months ago

At this point if someone is dumb enough to offer him a HC position after the season, by all means PLEASE go there. Would literally rather have Brady call the plays his damn self while playing QB. Couldn’t be much worse. He’s clearly more successful, older, and more knowledgeable than Leftwich.

And to think Leftwich smugly laughed in his press conference last week when asked about his predictable first down run plays. Laughed like even a high school Special Teams coordinator couldn’t see right through it.

BucRN
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

So….Did you hate Leftwich when his game plan hung 45 on the Raiders? How about 38 on the Packers? or maybe 38 on the Chargers, or even 28 on the Broncos?

Such fairweather fans here. Can we all just agree that this game was complete garbage from all standpoints, remove it from out databank, and support the team(coaches included) that has given us more hope this year than the last 10 combined?

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

The Chargers and Broncos have 5 wins combined. The 1-7 Giants almost beat Tampa. And at this point I’ll say Green Bay was a fluke and Las Vegas had a defensive meltdown.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

Also kiss my ass with “fairweather” I’ve been watching the Bucs for 30 years. Had season tickets when they went 2-14 and had a 0-8 home record. Call it what it is – this team isn’t as good as it was thought to be.

PatrioticChief
8 months ago

Burn the tape. Start new. No one deserves to escape blame for this catastrophe. And I’m not sure there is much to learn other than to not be terrible. We’re unto Carolina but hard to have any real faith in this team as a contender moving forward.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  PatrioticChief
8 months ago

Carolina can beat last night’s team with flying colors. Carolina has hung in every single game they’ve played. Tampa has not.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Matt Rhule has really impressed me as a coach. They don’t have the talent the Bucs have but good coaching is a big equalizer. I have some hope Bowles can right the ship considering he has a track record of success but it’s tough going into every game knowing the we are so disadvantaged at coaching on offense.

awwdembucs
Reply to  PatrioticChief
8 months ago

I agree Rhule is doing a good job. We better be ready or they will beat us.

eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Payton knows how to coach an offense. All sorts of different blocking packages, shifting tight ends around, creating traffic, distracting the defense. I see none of that in Tampa.

Also for the love of God what will it take for the Bucs to learn how to stop Taysom Hill and all his college plays? My god you know he’s either going to line up at QB and run it as a keeper or play some TE package. That’s literally it.

BucRN
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

…or throw a touchdown. Yup. Don’t forget that touchdown.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

Yeah and take away that touchdown and they still got creamed. That TD was just icing on the cake and Payton having fun toying around.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

Wait nevermind he didn’t even throw a TD.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucRN
8 months ago

Misunderstood your context, I thought your comment was about Taysom Hill.

mjmoody
8 months ago

November 6, 2005 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon I watched #67 RT Kenyatta Walker False Start 3 times in 5 plays against the Carolina Panthers. Julius Peppers had him shaking in his cleats. There was not another starting RT on the team, so us fans were stuck watching this complete dumpster fire of a player destroy drives. Gruden always came to his defense saying he was a good player just having a bad game. in 2007 #67 left the team to go get cut by the Panthers in preseason on route to a spot on a practice squad in the… Read more »

UKbucsfan
8 months ago

Kinda feels like bowles takes the approach of trying to adjust the defense for what he perceives to be the opponents weaknesses. Given that we’ve seen that heavy blitzing and man coverage can be lethal with these players (e.g. vs GB), it does seem strange that we’re adjusting every week to fit the opponent rather than lining up in our strongest coverage schemes, seeing if the opponent can beat that and then adjusting in the game if they’re having success. I completely get that you’ve got to account for the opposition’s tendencies when game-planning, however other than NE, I can’t… Read more »

Dave
8 months ago

Save the long winded article. And write ENTIRE ORGANIZATION. What a complete f*cking embarrassment. There’s no words. None. I’m beyond speechless. Guess we have our answer as to whether this team is a fraud or not

BucRN
Reply to  Dave
8 months ago

We shouldn’t support frauds. They are liars, and cheaters. I suspect you agree. I also suspect we won’t have to hear your complaints anymore since you don’t support frauds?

How about a little mercy? This team has been doing pretty darn top notch all season. Before this game we have been a top 3 defense. That isn’t based off of crappy mail-in ballots either. That is how they played. I’d rather see us F-this up now than in the first round of the playoffs.

fredster
8 months ago

Donavan Smith sucks in every big game period. I had bad feeling about this game but stupid me thought O line would step up in this huge game! That was worst play calling on offense and defense I’ve seen. Players could not execute or tackle. Every time we need 2-3 yards we try bomb it down field when O line can’t block anyone? Brilliant! Reminded me of last year and every year with Jameis. Never adjust or throw some short passes when O line isn’t holding up just keep trying throw deep with no time. Starting to lose confidence with… Read more »

stlbucsfan
8 months ago

Bucs losing recipe is always the same. Donovan plays “shockingly” awful and can’t pass pro or run block. The pressure doesn’t get there and the backend blows assignments. I bet the articles about Bowles becoming head coach slow down a bit now lol. It’s just 1 loss but it was a quite the ass kicking. I still hear Devin White craving the spotlight early on and don’t see him consistently excelling in prime time. The lights can shine on you or expose you, looks like the lights have shown the liability you are in the passing game and teams are… Read more »

lambeau
8 months ago

Good summary, Mark. For me, it starts with the game plan, and an apparent lack of intelligence at work. Payton obviously thought his through–but there seemed to be no opponent-specific planning by the Bucs. What did they think Brees would do against a soft zone? What help was planned for Smith? What screens, etc. could counter a good pass rush? Checkdowns to Jones–that was the plan? Sad.

StPeteB
8 months ago

We looked DUMB…talented idiots smh

Ted in Tampa
8 months ago

Your photo to highlight this section says it all. Jensen, Haig, and Wirfs are all blocking their assignments keeping their rushers far enough from #12 so #12 is not hurried. This photo also shows the typical Donovan Smith profile with #76’s rusher already having passed Smith and closing fast on Brady. Smith’s holding penalty in the first quarter killed that drive and Saints rushers ran right in front of his painfully slow feet time after time after time. Brady threw two lame ducks that were intercepted, but the rest of our Offense collapse was due to Brady being hurried and… Read more »

Ted in Tampa
8 months ago

You can go ahead and write next week’s Most Disappointing by starting with Donovan Smith as your first player (sic). I’m only telling you what is obvious to every Bucs fan, but the Bucs leadership is in love with Smith so anticipate a losing season and with all this talent. Hopefully, #12 will finally speak up and explain how he is getting killed from his blind side. If Brady doesn’t demand and get Smith replaced then he can live with it.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Ted in Tampa
8 months ago

Here’s an expert breakdown.

Ted in Tampa
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

eaustinyoung, you know the truth. Funny, whenever I call the sports “experts” at 3:00pm on 620AM, Beckles has made excuses for D. Smith for 5 years. According to Beckles “…Smith has only had two bad games, the rest he’s played well!” I don’t know which games he’s been watching, but he should asked Tompa Bay how he got that scar under his left eye during the NYGiants game. The edge rusher on Smith, ran down Tompa Bay and shoved his hand inside of Tom’s helmet. The edge rusher got a 15 yard penalty, but one more inch higher and Tompa… Read more »

Spruce
Reply to  Ted in Tampa
8 months ago

The odds are that you are incorrect. Brady is getting much of what he wants and I have to say at the cost of the teams longer term prospects. He got Gronk for the short term. Play calling has bent to his wishes and it’s pretty clear he was the motivation to get what I believe will prove to be a millstone for team unity Antonio Brown. A losing season? My God it’s one game with a cupcake schedule for the most part. They’re on track for the wild card which is what objective observers set as a reasonable goal.… Read more »

seat26
8 months ago

3 interceptions and no TDs. Brady looked confused.

jongruden
8 months ago

Gosh, to many to list who can make this list don’t know where to start, O Line was terrible, Brady looked rattled, no pass rush, wr’s open all night sitting underneath in the zone coverage, the coached didn’t adjust to what the Saints were doing. It was a pathetic waste of time to endure watching this game and I quickly want to move on from it

hamilton
8 months ago

Brady was bad.

twspin
8 months ago

This was a complete A..Whipping of mega proportions. Even Custers last stand looked better than this outing did. At least his men went down with the ship.

toofamiliar17
8 months ago

This list could have almost anyone and everyone on it, but Devin White continued his season of abysmal coverage. No matter who he was covering – Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara, failing to get depth in his zones, whatever – he was just terrible on passing plays, an easy target for a weathered but still capable QB in Brees, getting beaten like a drum at every turn. I’ve been surprised he hasn’t been more consistently taken advantage of this whole season, because this awful coverage isn’t new, but he finally got taken to task by Brees over and over again. It… Read more »

pinkstob
Reply to  toofamiliar17
8 months ago

Agreed.

Ted in Tampa
8 months ago

Your photo to highlight this section says it all. Jensen, Haig, and Wirfs are all blocking their assignments keeping their rushers far enough from #12 so #12 is not hurried. This photo also shows the typical Donovan Smith profile with #76’s rusher already having passed Smith and closing fast on Brady. Smith’s holding penalty in the first quarter killed that drive and Saints rushers ran right in front of his painfully slow feet time after time after time. Brady threw two lame ducks that were intercepted, but the rest of our Offense collapse was due to Brady being hurried and… Read more »

Spitfire
8 months ago

If last night didn’t beat some sense into them that there are very big things they need to put extra attention into and work on and change, then nothing will. That was a huge blow to our season but nothing is over. It was ugly, it was disgusting, it’s done though. Now they need to pick up the pieces and remember what they are capable of doing and why they are even bothering to do it and get back to beating people up. It’s gonna be a long week with a broken heart but I’m not giving up on them.… Read more »

toucan
8 months ago

It is hard to believe that there is no one on the roster that can play better than Donovan Smith at left tackle.

toucan
8 months ago

The bottom line in the Saints game is they are better than the Bucs right now.

Ron Potter
8 months ago

Hard for me to single out one player like you did, Mark, cuz all phases of the Bucs were disappointing. Except for Tom Brady maybe… He was off target on multiple throws from the very beginning and that trend continued throughout the game. SMB and JD maybe but we’ve learned the Coach really set us up to fail here. These guys have much less chance succeeding in zone-heavy schemes. Donovan Smith. Game was out of reach by this point. Saints are up by a thousand. Defense knows what we’re going to do and ready to pad stats. Instead of pointing… Read more »

jrwilson85
8 months ago

Do the name Ruby Begonia ring a bell? Well maybe not. Do the term “Total Meltdown” ring a bell? Definitely yes after last night’s performance (Or lack thereof by the Bucaroos).

My advice is don’t watch any film of the Saints game, just start preparing for Carolina and the return of Christian McCaffrey.

James Taylor
8 months ago

So here is what you have to do on offense when you face the Saints. Scheme more max protect with Gronk and RoJo or Fournette staying back to block and then running delayed routes and run 3 receiver sets with Evans, Godwin, and Brown. Get Evans away from Lattimore who is in his head and get AB matched up against Lattimore. AB will burn Lattimore and shake his confidence. Commit to running the football and alternate runs and passes on 1st and 2nd down. Gronk needs to level Hendrickson a few times and knock him on his ass. You need… Read more »