For a couple of years now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shown off the shiny, bright spots of consistency like every good Tom Brady team has done in the past.
An offense that can beat you in multiple ways, a defense that can stifle the best of opponents at any given place and time, and a coaching staff that minimizes mistakes and puts their players in the best positions to win.
These are three of the major points that have been established among Brady led juggernauts, and they were the three major points that seemingly led the Buccaneers to their second ever Super Bowl title in 2020.
Now though, it seems Tampa Bay has lost the formula, as they’ve dropped their third straight game and are sitting at a measly 3-5.
Their latest loss — at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens — was another 60 minute example of their recent struggles and where this team needs to seriously improve.
Poor consistency on offense, untimely lapses defensively, and even special teams mistakes that put the team at a disadvantage. These were all on display tonight and they were heavily advertised as the night went on.
These aren’t mistakes you usually see from a contending team like Tampa Bay, which is why their struggles this season have been so puzzling to both connected and outside NFL personalities that follow the sport like a hawk eyeing its prey.
They’ve shown the ability to work through the winning formula before. So why are the mistakes showing up now?
“We gotta play better all the way around.” Todd Bowles said after the game.
That’s a question we simply don’t know the answer to and it’s an answer we won’t receive any time soon.
Now, the Buccaneers are forced to fight through their biggest piece of adversity yet, at least while under the reign of this specific core. They have the leadership and talent to come out victorious, but this how poor this team has looked lately, we simply don’t know if they’ll be able to do so.
For their sake, they better find the winning punch fast, because the rest of the league isn’t going to wait around and let them find it.
This core knows that all too well, which is wild considering how much of a drop-off we’ve seen this year.
Sure, there is no more Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Jensen, Ndamukong Suh, Ali Marpet, Jason Pierre-Paul, or even Antonio Brown.
But the Buccaneers still have Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Tristan Wirfs, Vita Vea, Devin White, Lavonte David, and many other key contributors that helped lead this team to its second Super Bowl win in 2020.
And all of those players have had their part in these losses. No one has played up to the level of expectation coming into this year and it’s absolutely baffling.
At this point, it’s time to call a spade a spade. The Buccaneers are not a good team. But it adds insult to injury when we step back and realize that the players who are supposed to help the Bucs get out of a slump are actually contributing to the slump more than they’re helping.
Featured image via Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports