The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be an enigma in the NFL. On Monday night, they had a promising drive where Baker Mayfield connected with Mike Evans multiple times, including a touchdown from the one. However, outside of that spark of brilliance, their offense seemed lackluster. The pertinent question lingers: why didn’t they replicate that successful strategy throughout the game?
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The Bucs seem to remain a formidable force against similar or lesser caliber teams, like the Minnesota Vikings. But when they face a juggernaut, as was evident against the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa appears to be overwhelmed, especially at the line of scrimmage.
Their run game, once a cornerstone of their offense, now feels like a relic of the past. Rachaad White, despite his efforts, doesn’t seem to fill the void of a primary running back. Without a solid run game to lean on and an above-average yet not elite quarterback in Baker Mayfield, the Bucs find themselves in tight spots, grinding out games and searching for an edge.
And then there’s the defense, once a towering force under Todd Bowles during their Super Bowl run. Players like Devin White and the formidable front seven, who once sent shivers down the spines of opposing offenses, now raise eyebrows of concern. Where is that dominant defense? Their secondary struggles with big plays, their front seven can’t staunchly defend against runs, and their third-down defense leaves much to be desired.
With Bowles leaning on the conservative side, especially when it comes to offensive decisions, the Bucs seem to be setting themselves up for a middling season at best. If they don’t address these glaring issues, an 8-9 record might be their ceiling. And for a team with Tampa’s pedigree and potential, that would be a significant underachievement.