The Buccaneers fell to the Detroit Lions on Sunday 34-17, with mistakes and turnovers again front and center. The Bucs now drop to 2-11 on the season with three games left to play. Here are a few of my takes after watching the game tape.
For the 18th consecutive game, the Bucs turned the football over. Josh McCown threw two interceptions and also fumbled due to a poor snap by center Evan Dietrich-Smith. Playing on the road in a hostile environment, protecting the bal is always was key to the game and until the Bucs eliminate costly turnovers, they will continue finding themselves on the losing side of games.
The Lions defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage on Sunday. Suh and company were able to sack Josh McCown six times. The most disappointing stat was that McCown was hit a total of 14 times in the game. Protecting the quarterback was the biggest challenge coming into the game for the Buccaneers offensive line and ultimately it was something the Bucs were unable to do.
The running game for the Buccaneers was again nonexistent against the Lions. The Bucs ran for only 26 yards on 14 carries on Sunday against the Lions who remain the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL after this performance. Without balance on the offensive side, opposing defenses will always lean towards pass coverage, and forcing Josh McCown to win football games with his arm, with no rushing output, is not a formula for success. Until our offensive line puts together a full four-quarter performance, the Bucs offense will continue to struggle.
The Lions made a ton of their yards after contact. Missed tackles are one part of the Bucs defense that has not been an issue this season. But throughout this game, the Bucs defense was in position to make several big stops on key plays, but were unable to because of poor tackling. Of course, the team on the other side of the ball is going to make some plays of their own throughout the game, but when you're in the proper position to creating a big stop, you have to execute and make that tackle.