Am I buying the hype now? Well, I’m certainly buying more of it. The Lions were clearly the better team on all sides of the ball. The game wasn’t nearly as close as the score. Still as badly as the Bucs played, they had a chance to tie and maybe win this game at the end (thanks to an incredibly bone-headed personal foul on Detroit).
Matthew Stafford lived up to the billing. He made every throw, made good decisions and had some good help (solid running by Jahvid Best, amazing catches by Calvin Johnson). Is he an elite QB? Still to early to tell, but certainly impressive this week.
On the flip side, the Bucs failed to execute. Everywhere.
The defense made a few good plays (Talib’s INT for a TD), but gave up too many bad ones (Talib’s miss played on 4&3). Way too many missed tackles (I can only imagine that practice this week will be spent learning how to tackle). It’s also a bad sign when your middle linebacker’s name is not called the entire game (if Foster can’t cover a TE we’re in real trouble). The D-line wasn’t getting enough pressure (no sacks) and let Best run wild.
But the biggest problem for Tampa… the play calling. The strength of the Lions defense is the middle of the line. So what do the Bucs do on 2&1 and 3&1? Run right up the middle. Stuffed! We’d obviously learn from that right? So what do the Bucs do on a crucial 4&1? Run it up the middle. Stuffed again! Unreal. (On a side note: The running game was atrocious in this game. 15 yards for Blount. Seriously?)
The Bucs were at their best when running a no-huddle offense with the ball in Josh Freeman’s hands. Why take it away from him on some of the most important plays of the game? He wasn’t perfect Sunday (I don’t blame him for the pick, he clearly thought it was a free play), but he was still the Buc’s best player.
(On the subject of playing calling… is anyone else concerned that the Bucs have too many float-it-up pass plays? I know Mike Williams makes catches that way, but why not run him on more slants where he can do what he does best, run in the open field? Or any other real route?)
So what’s the silver lining? It might be hard to find. The O-line did a good job of protecting Freeman and shutting down Ndamukong Suh. Williams proved yet again he’s a top wide receiver (what a TD catch).
Next week: Bucs at Vikings. If D-line issues aren’t fixed Adrian Peterson could run crazy. Sigh.
Meantime, Lions should crush the Chiefs next week. If that happens, move over Lions fans, I’ve got some hype that needs purchasing.
follow me on twitter: @buc_wild
About the Author
Written by Justin Chechourka
Born and raised in California, I inexplicably became a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. Now I bleed red and pewter. The best part of being a Bucs fan in California... I never have to worry about blackouts.