Just How Bad Has Tampa Bay Been? If you’re reading this, odds are you had a better night than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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Lovie Smith’s team went down 5. Atlanta on Thursday, with two meaningless late touchdowns (including a pick- six of Atlanta backup T. J. Yates) putting a fresh coat of paint on a disastrous scoreline.
Playing without star defensive tackle Gerald Mc. Coy or running back Doug Martin, the Buccaneers looked sloppy and uninterested. It’s one thing to turn the ball over a bunch and have Devin Hester run through your team. It’s another when Dashon Goldson вЂ”В a $4. В is taking routes a high- school safety would laugh at en route to getting burned by Antone Smith on a touchdown run. The Bucs were incomprehensibly bad, the sort of bad you would use as proof that a team was finally quitting on a coach, if it weren’t for the fact that Smith has only coached this team for three games.
They never looked this bad with Greg Schiano! It was the sort of bad that makes you evaluate yourself. Am I too much like the Bucs? Should I stop wearing white and blood orange and using a pirate font? Extremes are always fun, so the loss naturally got me thinking about putting the Buccaneers and their loss into perspective. I had a few questions, and I went back into the history books to answer them.
Was that the worst loss ever in prime time? Losing by 4. 2 points is pretty bad, but it’s not the biggest loss in a nationally televised regular- season game, or even close to it. In fact, you have to go back no further than 2. In Week 7, Indianapolis traveled to New Orleans for a Sunday Night Football matchup that looked far more exciting on paper to NBC executives before the season than it did when the Colts actually arrived into town at 0- 6 and with Curtis Painter at the helm. The Saints scored on each of their first nine possessions, punting only on their 1.
Offensive Unit Game Grades: Buccaneers vs. Bears December 29, 2015 5:19 pm • by Mark Cook. The late season swoon from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued on Sunday. The Bucs Stopped Here: Just How Bad Has Tampa Bay Been? Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tickets: Perhaps no fans have experienced the ups and downs of football more than those of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team’s earliest days. Don't miss out on the latest from 620 WDAE, Tampa Bay's Sports Radio.
New Orleans came into the game as 1. Had the Falcons managed to maintain their 5. Saints for the biggest win in prime- time history. As it is, they will have to settle for the eighth- largest win in prime- time history. Chokers. Is a loss this big the mark of a hopeless team? Not necessarily. I never thought the Buccaneers were going to make the playoffs this year (and obviously still don’t, after last night), but teams have suffered worse defeats than this and still managed to make the playoffs. Not many, but a few.
The 1. 98. 9 Oilers lost 6. Week 1. 5 to the Bengals, just two weeks before the playoffs began, where they lost 2. Steelers. A memorable recent example comes from 2. Jets traveled to Foxborough in early December and lost 4.
Patriots. A little more than one month later, New York traveled to New England again for a divisional- round matchup and came away with a 2. Ah, variance. Are the Buccaneers off to the worst three- game start in league history? Well, you could technically claim they’re tied with hundreds of teams for the worst start in league history at 0- 3, but we can probably employ better measures of analysis.
One obvious example is point differential, which doesn’t particularly favor the Buccaneers after last night. After three losses, Tampa Bay’s point differential is a dismal minus- 5. Thursday’s fiasco. That’s an average loss of nearly 1.
Is it the worst start ever? Not even close. The 1. Baltimore Colts. 1 lost 3. Tampa Bay’s total. More recently, Washington’s 2.
Even more impressive, Washington turned things around and finished the year 8- 8! For his work in turning things around, Marty Schottenheimer was fired after just one year at the helm and replaced by Steve Spurrier. And this isn’t even the worst beginning to a season in franchise history. In 1. 99. 3, the Craig EricksonвЂ“led Buccaneers started the year by losing 2. Chiefs), 2. 3- 7 (to the 1. Giants), and 4. 7- 1. Bears), which is 2.
Tampa Bay’s bleak start to the 2. Of course, there’s probably more to the issue than point differential alone. Tampa Bay’s first two games were close, but the Buccaneers lost those games to a second- string quarterback (Derek Anderson) and a third- string quarterback (Austin Davis). The Buccaneers were a dropped pick- six away from taking the lead on Anderson in the fourth quarter in Week 1, but they also offered little in the way of resistance until that fourth quarter began. Since the merger, only six teams have been outscored by more points in their first three games when not including fourth quarters. Is there a hangover after losing in such ignominious fashion?
The announcers speculated during last night’s game that the Buccaneers wouldn’t be able to simply shrug off their astounding loss, and that there would be a long- term impact in terms of it eroding their confidence going forward. While I’m sure losing by 4.
Of course, Buccaneers fans are very familiar with a big loss having an impact on a team. The 2. 01. 0 Buccaneers rode a soft schedule and a fluky low turnover rate to an unexpected 1. In Week 5, they traveled to San Francisco and got blown out, 4. They proceeded to lose 1. Raheem Morris in the process.
That one win, though? It came the week after the blowout, with Morris’s charges pulling out a 2. Saints team that would finish 1. That team didn’t have a blowout hangover; the same announcers would probably have noted that they were embarrassed by the loss and motivated to play better the following week. Creating an empirical case that teams that get blown out struggle in the weeks to come is difficult because there’s a selection bias at play; teams that get blown out in a given week are more likely to be bad on a week- to- week basis than teams that don’t get blown out, so merely looking at how these teams played the following week isn’t good enough. Instead, it has to be a question of degree. Does a team that loses by four touchdowns perform better the following week than one that loses by three touchdowns?
By two touchdowns? That mitigates some (if not all) of the selection bias, since we’ll be comparing bad teams to mostly other bad teams. I went back and charted every regular- season loss through the first 1.
Because there weren’t many massive blowouts, I lumped all the games where a team lost by more than five touchdowns (losses of 3. What does history tell us about the hangover effect? Margin of Loss. Games. Next Week’s Win%Next Week’s Pt Diff.
Points. 2,5. 57. 49. Points. 1,2. 63. 44. Points. 86. 04. 2. Points. 52. 44. 1. Points. 21. 94. 2.
Points. 97. 44. 2%- 1. There is no hangover effect.
It makes sense, since teams drink plenty of Gatorade. Although there’s still a relatively small 9. The Buccaneers, in the middle of a three- game road trip, travel to Pittsburgh next week. The Steelers are off to a shaky start through two games, having blown a 2. Browns before squeaking by with a last- second field goal in Week 1, then getting blown out by the Ravens, 2. Week 2. Would it really be impossible for an embarrassed Buccaneers team with 1. Mc. Coy back in the lineup to give the Steelers a run for their money?
It’s not difficult to imagine. Have the Buccaneers had the worst set of quarterbacks in football? Week 3 was probably the moment the camera zoomed back and revealed that Josh Mc. Cown was surrounded by pumpkins. After a disastrous Week 1 gave way to a middling Week 2, Mc.
Cown was a mess Thursday against an Atlanta defense that had been 3. DVOA through two weeks. The journeyman backup went 5- of- 1. He has now thrown four picks in his first 6. Buccaneers, after throwing just one in 2.
Bears. Marc Trestman, sadly, is not walking through that door. Or onto that pirate ship. The Bucs signed a replacement- level backup to a two- year, $1. Barring some stunning run of competence from second- year signal- caller Mike Glennon (who replaced the injured Mc.
Cown), Tampa Bay will head into the market yet again for a franchise quarterback. I started thinking about how futile that process has been for the Buccaneers over the past few years, and it actually put a lot of their organizational issues into context. Before Mc. Cown, there was Josh Freeman, who had one great season (2. Freeman followed Jeff Garcia, who arrived in 2. Pro Bowl before being benched for Brian Griese during the 2. Griese was injured). Garcia was the last of the many quarterbacks from the Jon Gruden era, a group that included Griese (four years before his second run as the starter), Bruce Gradkowski, Chris Simms, and Brad Johnson, who won the team’s lone Super Bowl as a game manager in 2.
Johnson might be the most successful quarterback in team history; his competition is Vinny Testaverde, who was awful in Tampa Bay before immediately playing better upon leaving, and Doug Williams, who made the playoffs three times as the starting quarterback in Tampa Bay. This is the same franchise that cast off Steve Young to the 4. USFL, and the one that stuck with Trent Dilfer through the three- year stretch at the beginning of his career in which he threw 1. Williams, Dilfer, and Young all won the Super Bowl as the starting quarterback for another team. The Bucs have failed at drafting and developing quarterbacks. They’ve failed at signing other team’s starters in free agency.
Whatever it is where you end up with Erickson starting at quarterback for two years? That’s happened, too.
I went back and calculated the franchise passing numbers for every team that was in the league when Tampa Bay joined in 1. As it turns out, Tampa Bay has the worst batch of quarterbacks in the NFL since arriving in town, and it’s not especially close. Tampa Bay is last over that time frame in completion percentage (5. And those numbers don’t include last night, which isn’t exactly going to improve things.
It is probably no surprise Tampa Bay has also won a lower percentage of its games (3. Detroit. When the Buccaneers find a quarterback, they’ll find consistent success. After nearly 4. 0 years of looking under rocks and in the bargain bin, the Bucs have become frequent shoppers, but definitely not expert ones.
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