THe throwback game brought a throwback level performance as Bucs lose 20-6 to Lions
Nothing like a 70’s and 80’s level performance to match the uniforms the Tampa Bay Bucs wore on Sunday. In what can only be described as their worst offensive performance of the year, the Bucs lost to the Lions 20-6 to drop to 3-2 on the season. Luckily for them, the rest of the NFC South lost so they’re still sitting atop the division.
Let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Offense Stumbles And Bumbles. It all started with a missed chance for a huge Mike Evans catch and run – possibly a 90-yard touchdown – that was deflected at the line and interception leading to the Lions’ 3-0 lead in the first quarter. From there, it all went downhill. Baker Mayfield had a season low 51% completion percentage, Evans had multiple brutal drops, Mayfield missed Palmer by inches on what could have been two explosive plays. It was just rough. All of this happened while Brian Branch was out and Aidan Hutchinson was kept at bay the entire game. While I don’t want to pile too much on Dave Canales, there were more than a few play calls I would question from Sunday. Though, with the way things were going, the play calls being different may not have mattered much.
2.) Defense Stood Tall, Not Tall Enough. In the Bucs’ two losses this season, the defense is what kept them in the games for as long as they did. On Sunday, however, 3rd-and-long was a nightmare for the Bucs defense. They didn’t get a takeaway for the first time this season and allowed the Lions to convert 9 of 16 third downs – 56% – and none more egregious than a 3rd-and-13 when Amon Ra St. Brown caught a pass on a shallow crossing route and managed to take it 27 yards for a touchdown. Not a single Buc appeared to want to make a tackle except for Carlton Davis who squared up and was promptly de-cleated by kick returner and substitute running back Craig Reynolds. Again, plenty of pressure but only three sacks – one coming when the game was well in hand and basically over. The defense can only do so much for so long. They had absolutely no help all afternoon.
3.) Lavonte David. That’s it. He’s still incredible, he’s still got it. There’s nothing else really to say. I will, but I don’t need to. One of the Lions’ biggest weapons all season has been rookie tight end Sam LaPorta who has feasted on his one-on-one matchups with linebackers. Well, he hadn’t faced a linebacker like Lavonte. LaPorta finished with just four catches for 36 yards. He had multiple opportunities that would have resulted in first downs broken up by David. David also had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. He was everywhere.
4.) Rachaad The Reserve? Rachaad White has struggled this season, to say the least. On Sunday we saw Ke’Shawn Vaughn once again get extended work, finishing with six carries and two targets. Now, they didn’t work very well, but it’s something to keep an eye on. White’s 3.7 yards per carry on Sunday isn’t getting it done – but neither will Vaughn’s 1.5 per carry. The Bucs just have no run game at all. Canales said they’d be stubborn – and they are – but something has to happen to spark that facet of their offense. Maybe it’s giving Sean Tucker more opportunity. Maybe it’s trying to find a different guy to come in via trade. Or – and call me crazy – maybe it’s that the Bucs need to start utilizing Ko Kieft as a lead blocker and bring back a little old school running with a lead blocker. Maybe it’s using Vita Vea as a fullback in short yard situations. Dave Canales comes from Seattle where they were one of the few teams in the league that used a fullback. The San Francisco 49ers have Kyle Juszczyck at fullback and have one of the best rushing attacks in the league. Give it a try – what do you have to lose? Either way, Rachaad being pulled off the field with the game still hanging in the balance is something to keep an eye on as the week progresses.
5.) Rookie Debut Part Two. Calijah Kancey finally saw his first action since the first half of the week one game against the Minnesota Vikings. In his first complete game, he certainly jumped off the screen. Three tackles, a sack, tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, and plenty of pressures throughout the day. His speed and agility was on full display and he’ll only get better. Good things ahead for the young defensive lineman from Pitt.
6.) Time For A Starter Change? While the defense has been solid, Ryan Neal has been less than stellar. He seems out of position too often and late closing in a lot of times. It might be time to make a switch. Dee Delaney has played well at a lot of different positions when given the opportunity and putting him on the field with Antoine Winfield Jr. might be the right move – at least, for now. We know Todd Bowles’ defense is a very difficult one to get down and we know Ryan Neal is a talented player – but right now he’s not getting the job done. That’s not to say he can’t but Delaney might be the better option for the next few weeks.
Six Numbers To Consider
23.1% – Bucs’ defensive red zone efficiency this season, best in the NFL
1.8 – Detroit’s yards per carry, their lowest since 2016
53.5 – Jake Camarda’s punt average, best in the NFL
15 – Sacks by the Bucs this season, 10th in the NFL
16.7% – Bucs’ third down conversion rate, worst of the season
1 – Game this year where the Bucs had a negative turnover differential
Six Best Tweets
Bucs offense had plenty of problems today, but it can’t be overstated how bad they are on the ground. Entering today:
Rush YPA: 32nd
Rush YBC: 32nd
1st downs rushes: 31st
They want to be balanced (5th highest rush play%) but handing it off feels like wasted plays
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) October 15, 2023
.@Ckancey8 with the sack
— Tampa Bay Bucs (@Bucs) October 15, 2023
Lavonte David clutch sack? Lavonte David clutch sack pic.twitter.com/zaPVBh2tQM
— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) October 15, 2023
A win on Sunday would be MASSIVE for the Bucs pic.twitter.com/fgoxKVxtTT
— PFF TB Bucs (@PFF_Bucs) October 14, 2023
Fade on 3rd and 1 is one of the worst calls of the year. Not sure if that is the call that went in or if Mayfield switched to it. But so bad.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) October 15, 2023
At least the creamsicles looked good.
Reminder: a uniform isn’t the reason the offense was 2-of-12 on third down and a helmet isn’t the reason the opposition was 9-of-16 on third down.
— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) October 15, 2023
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Miami Dolphins – Back to looking like the best team in the league – even without Achane
2.) Philadelphia Eagles – Tough loss, but not indicative of who they are
3.) San Francisco 49ers – See “Philadelphia Eagles”
4.) Kansas City Chiefs – Don’t look the same, but keep getting wins
5.) Detroit Lions – Can’t deny it anymore. Offense is good, defense is good, Dan Campbell is awesome
12.) Tampa Bay Bucs – They’re good, but not at the level of most playoff teams…yet