Sports

3 Concerns For Buccaneers Fans After Latest Loss

Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates a play during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

 

Things are not looking good for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lately.

They’ve suffered two straight losses to drop their NFC South lead to one game.

Losing to the New Orleans Saints is understandable because they have a solid defense and a head coach who finds ways to win.

The Saints have also been the Buccaneers’ nemesis since last season.

However, losing to the Washington Football Team is unacceptable.

Tampa Bay has the better roster on both sides, and Washington even lost Chase Young to injury.

Worst, that game came after their bye week, giving them more energy to play.

Instead, their match against Washington revealed glaring concerns that might impede the Buccaneers’ hopes for consecutive Super Bowl titles.

 

3. Their Defense Is Sleeping

The Buccaneers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV because of their pass rush.

Fast forward to the Washington game, and the Buccaneers registered five sacks.

However, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles did not dial up constant pressure against Taylor Heinicke.

Tampa Bay executed three-person rushes in some snaps while defensive lineman Vita Vea spied on Heinicke instead of getting a sack.

There were also instances when Vea dropped in coverage which is uncharacteristic for his skill set.

But it wasn’t all bad for Tampa Bay because linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David were commendable.

Yet the secondary is still the Buccaneers’ most significant concern on defense.

Sean Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis are still on injured reserve, while Richard Sherman also missed the game against Washington.

Jamel Dean, Pierre Desir, and Ross Cockrell shared minutes at cornerback to Tampa Bay’s detriment.

Heinicke missed only six passes (26 of 32) for 256 yards and a touchdown.

He also set up Antonio Gibson for two rushing touchdowns.

Washington also converted 11 of 19 third-down attempts.

The Buccaneers’ defense showed serious flaws in a 19-play, 11-minute drive by Washington that sealed their comeback hopes.

 

2. The Run Game Is Non-Existent

Three weeks ago, the Buccaneers gained 182 rushing yards on 31 attempts against the Chicago Bears.

But in their two recent losses, their run game went nowhere.

The Buccaneers had 71 rushing yards and zero touchdowns in 14 carries against the Saints.

That number dropped to 53 against Washington, with Leonard Fournette leading the way with 47.

Tampa Bay ran the ball only 13 times against their NFC East opponent.

In contrast, Washington had 94 yards and two touchdowns from the ground.

Establishing their run game provides balance for their offense and gives their receivers more room to operate.

They must find a way to revive it to maintain their devastating attack from all areas on the field.

 

1. Injuries Make Them Vulnerable

Aside from Murphy-Bunting’s, Davis’, and Sherman’s injuries, the Buccaneers also deal with significant absences on offense.

Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski remain sidelined, limiting Tom Brady’s targets.

Before, the team could afford to lose those players because they had many weapons.

Now, it’s a necessity to have them back because Tampa Bay’s offense looks limited.

Brown and Gronkowski are reliable third down and red zone targets which Brady dearly missed against Washington.

Brady’s connection with his long-time tight end is deep in that they know what to do even without saying a word.

The Buccaneers need all the advantages they can get for the homestretch to guarantee their postseason return.



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