“After watching the film, [I was] really pleased again – probably more so with the resiliency of our football team,” Head Coach Bruce Arians led with following the Bucs’ upset win over the Los Angeles Rams in the Coliseum. “We throw the interception, it’s 45-40 and nobody blinked. We went right back down the field, made it an eight-point game, [the] defense comes in and wins the game. I think those are huge strides for a young team. It could’ve easily gone the other way. They put last week behind them when they showed up for work last Wednesday and we’ll put this week behind us when we show up for work this Wednesday.”
All eyes were on Tampa Bay following a disappointing home loss to the New York Giants in Week Three. It was a game the Bucs ‘should’ have won. Their response – whether they could face adversity head-on and overcome it or if they’d let it snowball – would be telling. Thankfully, they took the former approach and bounced back in a major way.
The Bucs are now sitting at 2-2, even if it’s not exactly how most would have envisioned them getting there. A loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week One was thought to be catastrophic. Turns out, the 49ers are much better than expected and the only unbeaten team in the NFC, currently. Tampa Bay wasn’t supposed to come out of their primetime contest with the division-rival Carolina Panthers on the road with a win; they did. Now, to take down the reigning NFC Champions by scoring a franchise-record 55 points in their house, the Bucs may be one of the most unexpected teams in the league.
"Yeah, it’s going to be interesting until the end,” laughed Arians. “I love the fact that we’re finding ways to win again. We did it in Carolina, we should’ve done it against the Giants, but it’s all part of that learning experience. I think the team that shows up Wednesday is going to be a much more confident team, knowing that talent’s not an issue – it’s not talent, it’s just whether we play well enough in critical moments."
The team’s success on the road is also encouraging and just another example of the fight through adversity. Going into this season, the Bucs are facing one of the most difficult schedules in the league, if not the most difficult, once you factor in opponents and the five-game stretch away from their home turf. This October stretch that kicked off in Los Angeles is daunting; haunting, if you will, the team with hostile environments for a significant stretch in the middle of the season. But they’ve won their two biggest games on the road, so far.
"Yeah, it doesn’t look as bad right now,” Arians said. “You’ve got one under your belt, we’ve got two big road wins, so we know we can handle crowd noise and we know we can handle the road. So, it’s not as daunting as it was back in August and when you look at it. Obviously, any time you go to New Orleans, it’s different. It’s probably the loudest and hardest place to play because [there is] great noise, but a great team.”
If the Bucs need anything as they continue on this road stretch, resiliency may be at the top of the list. Lucky for Tampa Bay, they seem to have it.