Let us see what went wrong with the Bucs in this TNF showdown.
4 Reasons for the Buccaneers’ TNF Loss to the Bills
Receivers Did Not Create Space
Although wide receiver Chris Godwin had a decent game, gathering five receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown, and the offensive line gave quarterback Baker Mayfield plenty of time to work inside the pocket, the receivers were simply not creating enough space and forced Mayfield to throw into coverage. Mayfield finished the game with 25 completions on 42 attempts for 237 yards and two touchdowns and was sacked three times.
Wide receiver Mike Evans did not appear until the game’s final stages when he caught a 24-yard pass for a touchdown with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Besides that, it was a quiet game for the 10th-year wideout, who had only two catches for 15 yards entering the final quarter.
To cap off a horrendous night on offense, neither Godwin nor Evans led the team in receptions or receiving yards; it was a running back, Rachaad White, who led Tampa Bay in both categories with seven receptions and 70 yards. It was undoubtedly a night Mayfield and company would like to forget.
Run Game Did Not Succeed
It was an all-around rough night for Tampa Bay’s offense. White continues to struggle, this time with a 39-yard effort on nine ball touches for the game. Although he did lead the team in receptions and yards through the air, he just wasn’t getting enough space to work through the ground. Buffalo’s defense held him to a mediocre 39 rushing yards on nine attempts for 4.3 yards per rushing attempt. Likewise, Mayfield did not have much success with his legs, gathering just 19 yards on three attempts. It seems like the Buccaneers can’t figure out how to make the ground game succeed, and it will likely cost them some valuable victories heading into the tougher part of their schedule.
Too Many Penalties
Every time it seemed like the Bucs hit a big play and everything started grinding on offense, it got called back on a penalty. It happened in the second quarter when White’s 26-yard run got called back for holding, and the Buccaneers accounted for 11 penalties for a total of 74 yards against them, including two holding penalties against second-year offensive tackle Luke Goedeke. The Bucs will need to straighten things out and play cleaner football if they want a shot at winning any of their upcoming matchups.
Pass Defense Could Not Find Its Rhythm
Same old story for the Tampa Bay defense. Their run defense was okay, but the pass defense is still struggling heavily. They allowed star quarterback Josh Allen to go 31/40 with 324 yards and two total touchdowns. Although they managed to get an interception off a tipped pass on a blitz by linebacker Antoine Winfield, they allowed 24 points in another rough showing on the field.
Although the run defense did not struggle as much, they did struggle to contain Allen’s scramble attempts. They held running back James Cook to just 67 yards on 15 touches, but Allen tallied 41 yards and a rushing touchdown on seven attempts, for an average of 5.9 yards per rushing attempt.
Tampa Bay’s schedule does not get any easier by any means in the upcoming weeks; they will have to face one of the best teams in the league, the San Francisco 49ers, in Week 11, and the five-win Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16. This is a team that started the season strongly with a 3-0 record but has since fallen out and lost four straight games to put their record at an uninspiring 3-4. They will look to bounce back next week when they travel to Houston to face the Houston Texans.
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