Beating themselves has become an all too familiar scene for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the 2019 NFL campaign.
It’s been a rather disappointing season for a club that was expected to make some noise in the NFC South Division this year. The team has been hampered by interceptions, fumbles by their running backs, defensive breakdowns in the secondary or special teams miscues on missed field goals.
With Bruce Arians, a 2-time Associated Press Coach of the Year as the Buccaneers’ lead man, Tampa Bay stumbled to the finish line. It’s worth noting the team was without its two top receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in the final two games, but the same old issues popped their ugly heads.
It became an all too familiar scene at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday when Tampa Bay hosted the Atlanta Falcons. The Buccaneers found a way again to turn over the ball on their opening possession, missed field goals and a fitting pick six interception in overtime by Jameis Winston put the cherry on top to the season.
Tampa Bay turned over the ball three times, missed three field goal attempts en route to falling 28-22 in overtime to Atlanta Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Buccaneers finish out the season at 7-9, just two wins better than last year’s mark of 5-11. The last time Tampa Bay finished above the .500 Mark was 2016 when the club went 9-7 under Dirk Koetter.
Now the franchise enters a very interesting off-season filled full of questions surrounding whether or not they will re-up with Winston, who Sunday became the first quarterback in NFL history to reach the dubious mark of 30-plus touchdowns and 30 interceptions in one season. Winston becomes the charter member of that group, but also eclipsed the 5,000-yard plateau, becoming the 8th quarterback in NFL history to break that mark.
Winston has created the image of being the NFL’s most volatile and at times exciting player in the league as wondering which quarterback you will get any given Sunday has become the hot topic of discussion. On Sunday, Winston lived up to his volatile reputation by throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions. The former Florida State standout ends the season with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions to go along with his 5,109 yards passing.
After spotting Atlanta a 10-0 lead, Tampa Bay got on the board with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Winston to tight end Cameron Brate. Falcons added three points to push their advantage to 13-7 but a Matt Ryan fumble was recovered by linebacker Devin White and returned 91 yards for a touchdown. Winston gave Tampa Bay a 22-16 lead going into intermission on a 24-yard jump heave to Breshard Perriman, who ended the day with a game-high 134 yards on just five catches.
It would be a terrible second half on offense and field goal tries that ended up doing Tampa Bay in, as Gay muffed on kicks of 49, 44 and 34 on the day. Winston between the second half and overtime only amounted 20 yards passing, including the game ending interception for a touchdown to conclude things. After losing to the Texans 23-20 and Falcons 28-22, Arians and the Glazers have a lot to think about in evaluating Winston and other members of the team moving forward.