Let’s see what this loss means for the Tampa Bay squad going forward.
3 Takeaways From the Buccaneers’ Loss to the Colts
Staying Healthy Will Be Critical
The Buccaneers have no depth on the bench. This became especially obvious when backup quarterback Kyle Trask had to sub in when starter Baker Mayfield needed medical attention; despite being on a 2nd and goal on the one-yard line, Trask was unable to cash in through the air, and the Bucs had to settle for three points. This score would have likely changed the outcome of the game, as the Buccaneers ended up losing by just one score.
This lack of depth on the bench applies not only to the quarterback position but also to all the other positions, both on offense and defense. As the team’s lead back, running back Rachaad White recorded 100 yards on 15 attempts, with backup Chase Edmonds being limited to 11 yards on just one carry, bringing his season total to 37 yards on 18 carries. As for the receivers, Mayfield continues to rely almost exclusively on star duo Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as they combined for 16 targets, nine receptions, and 115 yards, with Evans scoring the team’s two touchdowns. Second-year tight end Cade Otton and rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer also had some involvement in the passing game, although they only recorded four receptions each for 45 and 17 yards, respectively. This is a team that relies heavily on its starters, and losing them to injuries could get them into real trouble.
Starters Must Perform
It sounds pretty obvious, but it is one of the reasons why the Buccaneers have been struggling to make gains on the table. The starters have not been performing, and there is no depth on the bench to replace them while they get it together.
Although he did get hurt in the first quarter and played through an injury for the rest of the game, Mayfield had one of his worst games of the season. He completed 20 out of 30 pass attempts, threw two touchdowns, was intercepted once, and recorded his third-lowest yardage of the season with just 199 yards. The receivers did not have a great game either, as Evans caught six of his nine targets and Godwin caught just three out of seven. On the ground, White had 100 yards on 15 attempts but was unable to find the end zone. There might be some hope of winning the division, but the starters must perform to their well-proven capabilities if they want to win it. This roster has the talent, but the performance has not been there yet.
The Clock Is Ticking
Another week, another underwhelming performance for the Tampa Bay squad. It makes you wonder: are they actually going to turn things around and win the division? Judging from these last few performances, it seems like winning the NFC South and securing that playoff spot might be a long shot.
However, not everything is bad news. The toughest part of the schedule is in the past, and out of the six remaining matchups, only one will be against a team that has a positive record, the Week 16 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Looking ahead, the Buccaneers have to face the Carolina Panthers twice and each of the other two contenders for the NFC South title, the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, once. As was mentioned in a previous article, it will be critical for the Buccaneers to win these four games in their aspirations for first place in the division. This loss against the Colts will certainly affect their confidence going into the last stretch of the season, but hope still exists. Don’t push the panic button just yet.
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