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Takeaways from Bucs Loss Against Chiefs | Week 4

Top notes from Sunday’s clash with the Kansas City Chiefs

Takeaways Week 4 Chiefs

Despite a surge in the fourth quarter following a Sean Murphy-Bunting interception, undisciplined play by the defense sealed the Buccaneers' fate on their home field at Raymond James Stadium. In the highly-anticipated Super Bowl LV rematch, the Chiefs imposed their will. Tampa Bay now sits at 2-2, with a two-game losing streak entering Week Five of the NFL season. As evaluation commences following the team's 41-31 loss, here are the top takeaways from the Bucs' Week Four matchup with Kansas City.

Offensive Catalyst Mike Evans

Mike Evans returned to the lineup against the Chiefs after fulfilling a mandatory one-game suspension for his part in an on-field altercation with the Saints in New Orleans. Evans became the offensive catalyst and go-to target for Tom Brady. He quickly encapsulated the clichéd 'welcome back' phrase by becoming the Bucs' greatest offensive contributor between the hash marks in the prime-time slotted matchup.

With the Bucs down by a 21-3 deficit in the second quarter, Evans made his presence known. Against the Chiefs' two-high shell, Evans exploited the middle of the field for a gain of 30 yards. Four plays later, he gave the Bucs their first score of the night. Evans split two safeties, Brady threw a perfectly timed dart and the veteran receiver hauled in a 13-yarder in traffic to make it a 21-10 game. Evans spearheaded the unit, concluding the game with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown – giving him the franchise's all-time lead in yards from scrimmage.

"It's a huge blessing," Evans said. "Honestly, I didn't even know I was even close to that, but it is a huge blessing, and we'll just keep on tacking onto it."

As the most prolific offensive player in Buccaneer history, Evans now has 9,546 yards from scrimmage, breaking the previous record set by James Wilder. No. 13 led the Bucs' aerial attack and provided a spark in Week Four.

Lackluster Running Game

In an uncharacteristic turn of events in Week Four, the Buccaneers finished with three rushing yards – the second-lowest single-game total in franchise history. Leonard Fournette, the team's featured back, concluded the night with -3 yards on the ground on three attempts and rookie Rachaad White finished with six yards on three attempts – predominantly contributing in the passing game out of the backfield. Throughout the course of the night, the Bucs' offense picked up steam through the air, but Byron Leftwich's crew never achieved success on the ground. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs provided insight following the game on the team's mindset moving forward.

"I feel like we're getting hats on hats – we just have to keep finishing and staying on guys," Wirfs stated. "It's kind of like riding a bull, it's an eight-second ride, you have to hold on as long as you can. We'll keep having our Friday run meetings and making sure everyone is on the same page: us, tight ends, running backs, receivers even. We had some success [on the ground] Week One so hopefully we get back to that and get things moving in the right direction."

Defensive Woes

Tampa Bay's defense, which entered the game allowing a league-low 9.0 yards per game, could not find answers for Patrick Mahomes and his favorite target over the middle of the field, Travis Kelce. Kelce made significant contributions on third down, extending drives for Kansas City by boxing out defenders on underneath/intermediate routes. The Buccaneers surrendered more points against the Chiefs than they have in any single game since Todd Bowles arrived on the scene in 2019 as the club's defensive coordinator. The Chiefs concluded the ballgame converting 12-of-17 third-down attempts. Tampa Bay could not effectively set the edge to contain Mahomes, who consistently evaded pressure by utilizing vacated gaps to scramble and thus creating more time to release the ball downfield.

"We didn't play well," Bowles described. "They did a good job, and they kicked our butts all over the field. Turnovers had nothing to do with it, we have to play situational football if they do get it down there and hold up three, at least. Our red zone defense was poor, our run defense was poor, our pass defense was poor, our third-down efficiency was poor, and we played a poor game and that falls on me. I'll take that…You name it, we did it. Missed tackles, missed run fits, missed assignments. You know, bad calls. You name it, we did it."

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