That’s all she wrote, folks. The Buccaneers suffered their second straight loss, this time to the hands of the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 20-12. With the loss, the Buccaneers are now officially eliminated from playoff contention. With the 2-0 start to the season, not making the playoffs is a disappointment and one that could cost a lot of people their jobs. Let’s dig into this game shall we?
How They Started
How the Buccaneers started this game actually surprised me. I did not think the game was going to go well and thought the Ravens would dominate for 60 minutes. That, however, was not the case as the Buccaneers defense was able to contain the Ravens run game early on and force them into some passing situations. The weather on Sunday was not favorable for a walk in the park let alone a football game. It was pouring the whole game so being able to force the Ravens to beat you through the air would be a big key to winning the game. Early on the Bucs were able to do that as they did not allow the Ravens to score a point in the first quarter. The offense started off slow but that isn’t to be expected when the strength of the offense is the passing game. The conditions were not favorable and it hurt the Bucs as Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Chris Godwin all each dropped a ball and Godwin, who was targeted three times with zero catches, dropped a ball on the first drive when no Ravens defender was around him and had he caught the ball, he would have run for a while. Safe to say the young player has had a rough two weeks. Both defenses were playing solid football and then the Ravens made the first mistake when rookie Quarterback Lamar Jackson lost the ball and it was recovered by Lavonte David, who had a fantastic game. The Bucs were in business and would capitalize on the turnover when Peyton Barber was able to punch it in for the score. After a botched hold on the extra point by Bryan Anger though, the lead was only six points. The Ravens would answer right back with a touchdown drive of their own and make the extra point so now Tampa Bay was down one. The Bucs got the ball back and that is when Winston said, “Screw Fitzmagic, I’m going to make my own magic” and make magic he did. On a 3rd and
At The Half
The Ravens formula for winning is no secret. Run the ball, no turnovers, play defense. It is a formula that works and is something that the Bucs tried to do in this game and did a pretty good job of it in the first half. Since the Ravens like to run the ball most of the time, they hold the ball for long periods of time. The Buccaneers were the ones who looked like the Ravens during the first half, running the ball, not turning it over. They would have to keep that up if they wanted to win this game. The weather was undoubtedly a factor in this one. It was miserable out there and that resulted in some drops, muffed punts and just overall sloppy play. The Ravens would get the ball to start the second half and that would be a big opportunity for the Bucs defense to set the tone for the half.
How They Finished
Well the second half did not start the way the Buccaneers wanted it to. The Ravens were back to their old running ways and wore down the Buccaneers defense. The Ravens marched down and while taking their time, found the endzone on a ten yard scamper by Gus Edwards. The Bucs next possession ended with a punt but the Bucs would get the ball right back when the Ravens returned accidentally touched the ball and the Bucs recovered it. The Bucs would have the ball in great field position but their drive would stall and they were forced to settle for another field goal. The kick was good and the score was 17-12. The Buccaneers still had some life. The Ravens would try to suck the life that the Bucs had left when they only went 38 yards, but it took 15 plays and took 7 minutes off of the clock. The Baltimore drive would end with another Justin Tucker field goal and the score was 20-12. It was still a one score game so the Bucs still had a shot. The next Tampa Bay drive would only last one play as Jameis Winston was picked off by Marlon Humphrey. It was a awful throw and now the Ravens were in business. The Bucs defense would have to step up and that’s exactly what they did. After a 3rd down intentional grounding call on Jackson, the Ravens were pushed out of a field goal range and were forced to punt. The Bucs got the ball back and got across midfield. Down 8 and sensing that they would not get the ball back if they gave it back to the Ravens, the Bucs went for it on 4th and 4 and Winston’s pass for Chris Godwin was broken up. The Ravens would then have a drive that took up a lot of time and wore down the Bucs defense even more. After a big run by Gus Edwards, the Ravens would take a few knees and that would do it.
At 5-9, the Bucs have finally been eliminated from playoff contention. This could spell the end for Dirk Koetter and his staff. The Bucs fought hard, but ultimately the losses against teams like the Bengals, Redskins and Giants were too costly and the price was the playoffs. These next 2 games are all about evaluation for the Glazer family. Even though their minds may be made up regarding Koetter, I’m sure they would still like to see Jameis Winston progress and watch guys like Carlton Davis, Vita Vea and others have productive games. They will also be monitoring General Manager Jason Licht, who I think will likely be back but you never know with the Glazers. Jobs are on the line, who will crumble? Who will rise? We will find out in 2 weeks.