The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had high expectations headed into Minneapolis. Instead, they were dealt a heavy dose of Case Keenum – Buc killer.
Wow. What is it about this Case Keenum that makes him a freaking superhero against the Buccaneers? 3-0. Three. And. Zero. That’s now Keenum’s record against the Bucs after a 34-17 beat down. Not only that, but he had a career day. I tweeted out multiple times that this game was giving me flashbacks of game two last season against the Cardinals. From ineptitude on both sides of the ball to the injuries, it was deja vu all over again. Not much else to say before we dive right into this week’s pick six…
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) R-E-L-A-X. This was a brutal performance in every phase of the game for the Bucs. That said, every team has their down weeks. Tom Brady and the Patriots nearly lost at home to the Texans, the Steelers lost to the Bears, the Dolphins were dominated by the Jets, Broncos lost to the Bills. In the NFL, it truly is any given Sunday. No, the sky is not falling. No, this team is not overrated. It was a bad game against a good team. Just relax. There are two formidable opponents on the horizon and the Bucs can right this ship in a hurry.
2.) Shut up with the Dalvin Cook vs. O.J. Howard debates. Good grief people, knock it off. These guys are two and three games into their NFL careers. O.J. Howard was the right pick. I bet many of those screaming we should’ve drafted Cook are the same ones that preach best player available. Guess what – Howard was the best player available. I’ve told you all about expectations for Howard as a rookie. I’ve given every one of you stat lines for rookie tight ends. The draft is over. Cook is a Viking. Just shut up, already. Your whining and crying and FSU fandom changes nothing about the draft.
3.) So much for being healthy with that early bye week! Just like in Phoenix last year, it seemed like the Bucs lost half their team to injury in this game. The team started the day without Chris Baker, Brent Grimes, Kwon Alexander, and Jacquies Smith. Throughout the game, they lost Gerald McCoy, T.J. Ward, Lavonte David, Noah Spence, Vernon Hargreaves (multiple times), and Ryan Smith. That’s pretty much the whole defense. It was eye popping to see how important Chris Baker was to the defensive line despite not showing up on the stat sheet last week. We knew Alexander would be a loss, as would the surprise inactive of Grimes, but not this bad. Lavonte has a high ankle sprain and will likely miss a few games. McCoy fought through an ankle injury but his status is up in the air. Noah Spence dislocated his surgically repaired shoulder and was ineffective the rest of the game. This was a brutal game for injuries and now that lack of a bye week is looming large. Granted, it wasn’t for nine more weeks, but the Buccaneers cannot sustain sixteen straight weeks of games like this with no break.
4.) Hey refs – you want to maybe show some consistency? Chris Conte was flagged and fined for hit to the head last week against the Bears that was an iffy call at best. This week? Cam Brate, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Adam Humphries all took helmet to helmet hits, none of which garnered any flags. The hit on Evans actually led to an interception (and no, the should-have-been-penalty does not negate the fact that it was a terrible decision by Winston to throw that ball to Evans – but more on that next). If you’re going to call defenseless receiver or targeting or helmet to helmet personal fouls, how about calling all of them? Just a thought.
5.) Jameis Winston can’t revert back to his old ways. When Winston is desperate to make a play, he looks for Mike Evans. Makes sense, right? You need a big play, you go to the elite receiver. Unfortunately, Winston was still forcing passes to Evans when he didn’t need to. On the play mentioned above, Evans was triple covered and two other Vikings were in the frame. Someone else was open. All these weapons we all yelled for need to be utilized. Whether that pass would’ve been thrown to Brate, Humphries, Jackson, Howard, Godwin, whoever – it would have changed the course of the game. You’re now talking about full blown momentum on Tampa’s side in a one score game, not a third turnover by Winston and the nail in the coffin. Jameis has to trust his other receivers and not go back to last season when Evans was the only guy and was force fed all game long.
6.) Where is the pass rush? Rinse. Repeat. This will be on here every week til we see it. If the pass rush is going to show up at any point, it’ll be next Sunday against a pathetic Giants offensive line. Not much else to say about that.