You knew it wasn’t going to go last 16 games didn’t you? Fitzpatrick had to come back to earth and be a mere mortal at some point. It just so happened to come on a Monday night in front of a national television audience and on a night when the Bucs inducted coach Tony Dungy into the Ring of Honor.
Take away the second quarter when Fitzpatrick had three interceptions on three straight passes, and this was a game that the Bucs could have and should have won. That was easily the worst stretch of football we have seen from the Bucs offense this season.
Not all the picks were on Fitzpatrick. Mike Evans ran th wrong route on the one pick. Chris Godwin who might have had one of his worst games of his young career had a ball stripped away from him which led to a quick Steeler score.
Godwin also dropped a sur TD pass.
The Bucs led the Steelers in total yards 455-413. The Bucs had more passing yards than the Steelers 392-335. but the Steelers were able to make plays when they needed a big play and the Bucs were not.
I am still worried about this defense. The DB’s even with Grimes out there got torched time after time. I get the fact there are sometimes three rookies playing together, but come on man this is the NFL.
When the defense needed a quick three and out late in the game to give the ball back to the offense for one final drive, no one stepped up to make a play. With all the playmakers on the DL and the LB that was disappointing.
On the Steelers first TD, Chris Conte got steamrolled by TE Vance McDonald as he attempted to make a tackle and was stiff armed by the Pittsburgh TE. Conte later suffered a knee injury and was placed on IR but could return late in the season.
The Steelers came into the game giving up 152 yards a game but the Bucs still could not get much going on the ground. That was in part due to the fact they got behind early and had to go to the pass to get back in the game.
Peyton Barber had 34 yards rushing but did average 4.1 yards per carry. At some point if the Bucs are going to be a serious contender in the NFC South, they are going to have to run the ball effectively.
The DL was able to get some pressure on Roethlisberger, but there were many times that it looked as if Big Ben was going to go down but he managed to avoid the sack and make a play.
The defense has to play better if the Bucs are to have the kind of season we are all expecting. After three games with all the new players the Bucs brought in, the defense is in no better shape than it was last year. In fact if you look at overall yards that the defense is giving up, this defense is much worse than last years defense.
A trip to Chicago is up next for the Buccaneers, and this will be a tough match-up. The Bears defense was already much improved, but with the addition of Khalil Mack that adds another dimension to this Bears defense.
Jameis Winston is back with the team and coach Koetter was very coy at his weekly press conference about who will be the starter in Chicago. Will it be Winston who some have called the QB of the future for this Bucs team? Or will it be the cagey 35 year old veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick who has played the best football of his career in this three game stretch.
Fitzpatrick has passed for over 400 yards every game and 11 TD’s so far this season In the three games he has started