Missing all three of their starting wide receivers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and left tackle Donovan Smith, it was no surprise the offense struggled in a 14-12 loss to the Packers.
Once again, the story in this game was that the defense played well enough to get the Buccaneers a win. But the offense struggled for the third week in a row.
Here’s what went right and wrong for the Bucs on Sunday afternoon.
The defense was excellent for the third consecutive week holding Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense to 14 points.
It looked like it would be a blowout win as the packers scored touchdowns on their first possessions to take a 14-3 lead.
This has been the story of the defense so far this season. First, they allowed the opponent to score the first points in all three games. Then the defense made the necessary adjustments to stifle the opposing offenses the rest of the game.
Against a good Packers offense, the defense shut down the Packer’s offense after their first two drives.
In the second half, the Bucs allowed the packers just 101 yards of offense, limiting Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing.
The Bucs also limited the Packer ground game to 67 yards and 2.7 yards per carry.
Tom Brady and the offense had their best drive of the season late in the game. Brady took the offense 89 yards, ending with a touchdown pass to Russell Gage.
This was the best we have seen from Gage this season, as he has struggled with injuries throughout training camp and the first part of the season. Gage finished with 12 catches for 87 yards and the touchdown.
This was also Brady’s best game of the young season so far. Brady completed 31/42 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown. But, eighty-nine of those yards came on the final drive.
As good as the defense has played, getting off the field on third down has been an issue in all three games. If you look at the defensive stats, it shows the defense held the Packers to 6/15 on third downs. However, in the first half, when the Packers moved the ball up and down the field, the Packers were able to convert 5/7 on third downs.
In the second half, the Packers converted just 1/8. The defense needs to be better to start games by limiting the third down conversions.
Overall it was another inept performance by the offense minus the four starters out with injuries. The Buc’s offense could only generate 285 yards, with 89 of those yards coming on the final drive.
Tom Brady Talked about the offensive performance after the game.
Leave it to tight end Cameron Brate to speak honestly about the Buccaneer’s offense. “We’ve played terrible on offense the first three games. I guess we ran the ball well in Dallas, but in the past two games, we didn’t play well at all. The defense played well again, and I’m sure they’re frustrated with the offense. We’re not pulling our weight.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Remember that this is a Bucs offense that led the league in touchdowns last season but has scored just three touchdowns so far after three games.
Leonard Fourentte was not terrific against the Packers. He ran 12 times for 35 yards, an average of 2.7 yards per carry.
Since the opener against Dallas, when Fournette ran for 127 yards, He has 100 yards rushing in two games with an average of 2.6 yards per carry.
It can make for a long day on offense when Fournette is not running the ball with authority, and your top three wide receivers are out.
This falls squarely on the shoulder of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to get this fixed. The offense is ranked 26th in the league averaging 297 yards a game. Of course, every team has injuries, but you have to put the offense in a position to be successful regardless of who is on the field, and Leftwich and his play calling have been suspect throughout the first three games.
The Bucs continue to give the ball away. Both wide receivers Russell Gage, and Breshad Perriman, fumbled after a catch stalling a Buccaneer drive and giving the ball back to the packers.
The Bucs fall to 2-1 on the season, and up next is a rematch of the Super Bowl from two years ago, as the Kansas City Chiefs will be in a town for a prime-time Sunday night matchup.