In Friday night’s game against the New England Patriots, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to struggle in a number of facets. They couldn’t protect their quarterback, said quarterback was slow getting rid of the ball and despite covering mostly no-name players, they were still picked apart by Tom Brady. Although the Bucs nearly came back to win the game, there is still much to be desired in Tampa Bay.
The most alarming problem the Buccaneers revealed last night was on the defensive side of the ball. Danny Amendola was Tom Brady’s favorite target, and everyone knew it. Still, he was able to make himself available to Brady time and time again. When he wasn’t able to get open quickly enough, Brady simply went elsewhere with the football to great effect.
The Patriots are a team that will operate their offense through the air with a great quarterback and next to no proven receivers. The fact that the Buccaneers’ defense was picked apart while Brady was in the game can only be described as disgraceful. Brady finished the game with one incomplete pass on twelve attempts.
On the other side of the ball, the Buccaneers had just as many problems. For his part, quarterback Josh Freeman wasn’t helping his offensive line out. He was holding the ball far too long, but that shouldn’t excuse the Bucs’ offensive line’s performance. The Patriots aren’t a team known for generating a lot of sacks, but they were able to bring down Tampa Bay’s quarterback four times in the game, and that doesn’t include the other times they put pressure on the passer.
Freeman played little in the game, throwing the ball just three times, so it’s hard to tell if he would have gotten more comfortable as the game went on. Still, the Buccaneers were playing a very flawed football team, and even after the first-team units left the field, the Patriots still outplayed them. In fact, the only time it looked like the Bucs were the superior team was when Tim Tebow entered the game as the Patriots’ quarterback.
The Bucs have been touted as a team on the rise for years. Every season, however, there’s always some reason the team can’t get over the hump. With their current level of play, and considering the brutal division they play in, it seems they’re doomed to fall flat once again. Although they’ve certainly made progress shoring up the team’s roster, there’s still a lot of work to do, and it doesn’t appear their ready to make the leap to contender status just yet.