Watching the Buccaneers wrestle towards the Falcons, all I may take into consideration was, “This isn’t a group prepared for January.”
Down 17-0 at halftime, the Bucs rallied to beat their NFC South foe 31-27 to maneuver to 9-5 on the 12 months and primarily lock up a playoff spot.
Apparently, Bruce Arians had the identical thought.
“If we will play half-hour like that,” Arians advised his group after the sport, “why the hell cannot we play 60?”
This has been the Bucs challenge all season lengthy. Outdoors of the consecutive weeks towards the Packers and Raiders in Weeks 6 and seven, the Bucs have been unable to appear like a conference-title-contending group for consecutive weeks.
“We misplaced to the Chiefs and the Rams [each] by 3. Each of these video games… taking part in this manner,” Arians stated in his postgame feedback. “We’re not going to beat these good groups taking part in this manner. We have got to play higher within the first half than we performed as we speak.”
He had conveniently ignored the 2 shellackings by the hands of the Saints. Their first matchup, in Week 1, went the best way of New Orleans 34-23. Their second assembly in primetime was a 38-3 bloodbath that was a meaningless subject purpose away from being a shutout.
It was a wild Week 15 Sunday and there is a lot to go over. Choose Six Podcast host Will Brinson and the Superfriends are right here to interrupt all of it down; hear beneath and you should definitely subscribe for every day NFL goodness.
However, the Bucs have certainly struggled within the first quarter. Of the 36 touchdowns Tampa’s protection has allowed all season, 12 of them have come within the first quarter. And of the 46 touchdowns Tampa’s offense has scored this 12 months, solely eight have come within the first quarter. The Buccaneers have scored one first-quarter landing since Halloween.
We gave a collective cross to the Bucs to start out the season. Tom Brady wanted an acclimation interval. However they began 5-2 this season earlier than signing Antonio Brown and are 4-3 since. There’s little to encourage one to consider these Bucs can beat the category of the NFC—the Rams, the Packers and the Saints with a wholesome Drew Brees.
Maybe Brady nonetheless has magic left. Perhaps taking part in all the highest convention opponents already will profit Tampa Bay come January. However the Bucs incapacity to string collectively a high quality recreation, after which one other high quality recreation, is alarming sufficient.
Extra Week 15 insider notes
- This was precisely the sort of recreation I wished to see from the Ravens. Successful within the NFL is difficult and I get that. However I’d quite playoff groups look extra like Buffalo on Saturday than the Packers. Baltimore was dealing with an overmatched opponent and did not play all the way down to the Jaguars on both aspect of the ball. Sunday marked the primary time since Week 5 an opponent not named the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t rush for 100 yards towards Baltimore.
- Stephon Gilmore was in line to get a significant contract extension on the finish of this season. It in all probability would not be from New England, however the reigning Defensive Participant of the 12 months was going to money in for the second — and final — time in his profession. As an alternative, what regarded like a severe non-contact knee damage might sideline Gilmore for the remainder of the 12 months. Throw in a decrease wage cap in 2021 and Gilmore might need to play subsequent 12 months on what quantities to a one-year deal.
- Dwayne Haskins completed with a decent stat line of 38-for-55 for 295 yards, one landing and two picks. The problem for Haskins, because it’s all the time been, was that he struggles when throwing the ball down the sector. On passes of 10 or extra yards within the air, Haskins was 3-of-9 for 56 yards and two interceptions. You’ll be able to sneak a win in right here or there like that, however an NFL group usually cannot win soccer video games like that.
- I am unsure the 49ers will play Week 1 with both Jimmy Garoppolo or Nick Mullens on the group. We have talked a lot concerning the Niners transferring on from Jimmy G (Patriots, anybody?) however Mullens has been unhealthy this 12 months outdoors of his recreation towards the Rams (thanks, Robert Saleh). Kyle Shanahan stated earlier within the week he’ll want to observe the movie from your complete season so he does not make an emotional determination as soon as January hits, nevertheless it’s laborious to think about San Francisco goes into subsequent season with these guys on their depth chart.