Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians harped all week about the things that the Bucs did in their final game before the bye, a loss to the New Orleans Saints: penalties and turnovers, and the need to avoid them. Another message: not taking the opponent too lightly. The message was not heard, as the Buccaneers, 10-point favorites, fell to the Washington Football Team, 29-19 at FedEx Field on Sunday.
Prior to kickoff, some bad news for the Buccaneers portended the result, as cornerback Richard Sherman sustained a calf injury in warmups and was ruled out for the game. The injury foreshadowed the Buccaneers' play.
Down 16-6 at the half, the Buccaneers tried to rally, coming as close as three points, but they could not complete the comeback, as Washington answered Tampa scores with ones of their own before completing the upset.
Upon getting a short field after a solid defensive stand that backed Washington back to near their goal line, the Bucs returned the subsequent punt to the Washington 43, and it only took four plays for them to punch it in, Tom Brady hitting Cameron Brate for his first touchdown of the season, and getting Tampa Bay back to within three, 16-13, with 8:46 left in the third quarter.
But Washington answered back with a drive of its own, helped along with a pass interference penalty in the end zone by Dee Delaney, giving Washington the ball at the Tampa Bay one. On the next play, Washington running back Antonio Gibson took it in, with help from a scrum, putting Football Team up by 10 again, 23-13.
An Antoine Winfield fumble recovery after Lavonte David stripped WFT receiver Dax Milne gave the Buccaneers some life, with Brady hitting Mike Evans for a 40-yard touchdown pass four plays later, but Ryan Succop missed the extra point, and the Bucs were down by four, 23-19.
Washington then took the ball and held on for most of the rest of the game, starting at their own 20 with 10:55 left, scoring the game's final points on a one-yard run by Gibson with 29 seconds left. The drive was 19 plays long, taking off 10:26, the longest touchdown drive in the NFL this season.
For much of the first half, the Buccaneers could not get out of their own way, with at least four dropped passes, terribly timed penalties, and when the game was within reach, a dropped interception that turned into a first down for Washington in their final drive of the first half.
Tampa Bay couldn't get anything going in the first, and after converting a 4th down deep in their own territory on their third possession, Brady looked out of sorts throwing his second pick of the first quarter to Bobby McCain.
The way the first quarter looked for the Buccaneers, they were very lucky to have been down only 6-0. Sluggish might not even be the word to use to describe how bad the Buccaneers' offense looked. Two Tom Brady interceptions, one off a dropped pass, gave Washington excellent field position, and Washington got 10 points out of those two turnovers, the last six coming on a DeAndre Cater 20-yd TD rec from Taylor Heinicke with 12:21 left in the second quarter.
That touchdown seemed to awaken the Bucs offense, as they were able to stitch together a drive resulting in a 25-yard Ryan Succop field goal for the first Tampa points of the game with 6:44 left in the half. But the Buccaneer defense could not hold Football Team on its final drive of the first half after that field goal, allowing Washington run off 5:46 on a field goal drive of its own, Slye converting from 29 yards to give Washington a 16-3 lead.
But the Buccaneers caught a huge break at the end of the half, as Jackson pulled Mike Evans down by the facemask after time had run out, putting the Bucs' in field goal territory, with Succop converting from 31 to make it 16-6 at the half.
The Bucs will host the New York Giants next Monday night, November 22nd. Join WDAE's coverage at 6 p.m. with Tom Krasniqi and Michael Clayton and Countdown to Kickoff. Kickoff is schedule for 8:15 p.m.
Cover Photo: Getty Images