Week three isn’t even in the books yet, but I’m going out on a limb and proclaiming the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the worst team in football. No matter the outcome of any of the games this weekend, no team will even come close to the dismal play the Bucs have exhibited thus far in 2014.
I grew up in Tampa Bay during the 1970s. I witnessed the team enter the league in 1976 when they didn’t win a single game until deep into their second season, compiling a record of 0-26.
I watched them flounder around the field in their hideous “creamsicle” uniforms as if it were a football follies highlight reel.
Nothing summed up the woes of the franchise, however, better than the infamous quote by John McKay. When asked about his team’s execution, his response was, “I’m all in favor of it.”
Flash forward to this season. I’m not suggesting that the Bucs will finish without a single win as they did in the early days, but it’s going to be close.
The Bucs first two games, at home no less, both resulted in losses....to backup quarterbacks! In week one, Derek Anderson, who hadn’t started a game in four years, led the Carolina Panthers to victory.
Then, in week two, a no-name, third-string, undrafted rookie for the Rams prevailed in the waning moments of the game.
Chalk some of it up to bad luck. The Bucs had a chance to kick the winning field goal agains the Rams, but were the victims of an unfortunate NFL rule, which ran the remaining time off the clock due to a Mike Evans’ injury on the field.
Meltdown in Atlanta
Which leads us to the Thursday night game in Atlanta. If you can even call it a game. A high school football team would’ve provided better competition for the Falcons.
The Bucs defense was picked apart by Matt Ryan out of the gate, along with an effective, Falcon running game. Their offense, in turn, responded by turning the ball over three times in the first quarter. After 15 minutes of play, they were down 21-0.
The Bucs didn’t even gain a single first down until eight minutes into the second half. They were outmatched, out-schemed and defintely outclassed the entire night. The result was a 56-14 drubbing that was, quite frankly, difficult to watch.
Stop the bleeding
The Bucs face two tough upcoming road games at Pittsburgh and at New Orleans, followed by a home matchup against Baltimore. They could easily be 0-6 after this stretch.
I thought the Bucs had a great off-season and I even predicted them to be one of the breakout teams to watch this year. With new head coach Lovie Smith bringing attitude to the team, along with the new talents of Mike Evans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Logan Mankins and Alterraun Verner, I thought they were surely poised for a run at the post-season. Boy was I wrong.
Yes, they have injuries to overcome, as does every team. But, coach Smith is placing the franchise in perennial backup Josh McCown’s hands, who was 5 of 12 for 58 yards and an interception against the Falcons.
McCown ended up leaving the game Thursday night with a hand injury, leaving second-year quarterback Mike Glennon at the reigns. Glennon was serviceable in his performance, but by that time, it was all too late.
Given their tough NFC South division, along with what we’ve seen through three games, I can’t see the Bucs winning more than three games this year. I just can’t. They’ll finish at the bottom of the pile with a high 2015 draft pick and hopes of better times to come.