Apparently, the home game strategy for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season is either to summon the rain gods to drown their opponents, or perhaps call upon Zeus to drop a basket of lightning bolts on everybody’s asses. Or, maybe they’re just hoping to bore the other team to the point that it throws in the towel and heads over to the nearby Hooters.
Broncos 27 – Bucs 7
For the second week in a row, Mother Nature breezed into Tampa and notified the Bucs of her supreme annoyance over their play, sending both teams to their corners to think about that while tossing in a thunderstorm to keep things interesting. That wasn’t enough to thwart the unbeaten Denver Broncos, who rolled into town looking to extend their winning streak to 4-0 to complete the initial lap of the 2016 season.
It didn’t take long for Denver to get down to business, with the Broncos defense picking off Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston’s first pass of the day during the game’s opening drive. The interception was returned to Tampa’s 11-yard line, making it easy for Denver QB Trevor Siemian to put his team up early. The Bucs responded on the ensuing drive and tied it up, but after a couple of stalled drives from both teams, the Broncos took another one away from Winston to set up another relatively easy touchdown. A costly Bucs fumble late in the second quarter allowed the Broncos — now guided by backup QB Paxton Lynch after Siemian was taken from the game with a shoulder injury — to tack on three more points, extending their lead to 17-7 just before halftime.
If you’re a Bucs fan (HI!), the second half was an irritating snoozefest, with Denver thwarting pretty much every opportunity the Bucs had to get something going. Of course, Tampa helped, having achieved battlesight zero early on with several well placed shots to their own feet. The Bucs offense proved largely ineffective against the Broncos pass rush, allowing Winston to endure five sacks on the day. That shit leaves marks, people.
The game was decided long before inclement weather forced referees to call a delay for safety reasons, at which time many of those watching the game from the stands booked for their cars….perhaps stopping at the aforementioned Hooters before heading home. Play resumed after a nearly 90-minute delay, observed by none save a cadre of dedicated, hardcore onlookers. Hats off to you, folks, as nobody can ever accuse you — figuratively or literally — of being fair weather fans.
The disappointing loss drops Tampa to 1-3 and a three-way tie for second place in the NFC South Division. New Orleans and Atlanta had good days, with the Saints notching their first win of the year and the Falcons giving division rival Carolina the business while extending their own record to 3-1 and undisputed NFC South leader.
Next up for the Bucs? A Monday night meeting in Charlotte with those same Carolina Panthers. Being a division game, this obviously will be a “must-win” for both teams, who usually play tough against each other. Maybe some of that Monday night magic pixie dust will rub off on Tampa. Here’s hoping.
Or, maybe I’ll just watch The Replacements. Again.