The team the Tampa Bay Bucs beat the most often?
Why, it’s the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The Bucs lost a 32-18 game to the New York Giants Sunday afternoon with the usual problems. They turned the ball over too much (three fumbles), they committed too many penalties (nine for 79 yards), they dropped too many passes (five by Mike Evans alone).
But most of all, the Bucs kept turning touchdown opportunities into field goal attempts. Their red one performance against the Giants was horrible.
“When you get field goals instead of touchdowns … we need to get touchdowns when we’re down there,” said Bucs coach Lovie Smith. “You have some big plays to get down into that area. You need to get some touchdowns.”
Quarterback Jameis Winston was 0-for-4 with a two-yard run on third-and-five on the Bucs’ five field goal attempts (four made). But in the fourth quarter, he scored on a leaping run across the goal line to pull the Bucs to within two points. His conversion attempt was caught by Russell Shepard, but Shepard couldn’t get both feet in.
The Giants then added two field goals and recovered the Bucs’ last-second multi-lateral attempt and ran it in for a short touchdown to win.
Winston threw for 248 yards, and he had his fourth straight game without an interception.
“I just have to make the throw,” Winston said. “It’s quicker, it’s faster, it’s tighter down there. I have to come through in the clutch when it’s time to come through. I just have to take more of an initiative. Make it matter. It has to matter more to me, scoring in the red zone. I take that onto me. I am the quarterback.”
If you judge simply by the stat line, you would think Bucs’ receiver Evans had a big game with nine catches for 152 yards. But Evans dropped a fistful passes on the evening.
“I don’t know what it is,” Evans said of his five drops. “I have to work on wet ball drills or something. The Giants’ receivers were catching balls in the rain and I wasn’t. That’s unacceptable. My teammates played great. It’s on me. I mean, obviously you watched the game. You saw it was on me.”
The Bucs are home against the Cowboys next week, then travel to Philadelphia and Indianapolis.