Oh boy. The foundation is cracking. The sky is falling. The walls are closing in. The Buccaneers weren’t as good as their 3-1 record (and the numbers showed as much), but surely they’re not this bad. This soft. This slow. This inept.
Not bad enough to lose 48-3? Are they?
It’ll go down as the worst loss of the Raheem Morris era and one of the least inspired, least disciplined games in the history of the franchise.
The trudged into the locker room down three touchdowns at halftime, and there was no sense of magic — none of that Josh Freeman electricity — in the air. From the opening kickoff, it felt like an old-fashioned, behind-the-woodshed, man-versus-boy ass-whooping; it was Joe Calzaghe vs. Jeff Lacy; it was Olajuwon vs. Robinson; it was Scott Stevens obliterating Eric Lindros.
But, most simply, it was hard to watch.
Freeman couldn’t throw. Mike Williams couldn’t catch. Morris left his defense in Tampa; the front four couldn’t rush, the back four couldn’t cover, and the three in between looked lost and hesitant. There were no throwing windows, no running lanes, and really, no hope for victory after Freeman’s pick-six.
The offensive struggles continue (read: intensify), and our star players from 2010 have yet to flash this season. The future looks bleak, with games against the Saints, Bears, Texans, and Packers occupying the next five slots on the schedule, and Tampa’s coaching staff needs to find a quick-fix for the plethora of issues that plague this team before they fall to 3-7 and out of contention.
All in all, it was a miserable, nauseating, painful way to lose. But the season is far from over. When we see Mike Williams parading around One Buc in his fur coat — a la Michael Clayton — it might be a sign of coming disaster. But until then, the Buccaneers will take the game in stride and (hopefully) use it as a learning experience.
And there is a bright side buried in the loss: Tampa should be extra-prepared for New Orleans next Sunday, after their Week Five bye in San Francisco.