Bucs are nonetheless in first place, however they don't appear like a playoff crew

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Bucs are nonetheless in first place, however they don't appear like a playoff crew
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Bucs are nonetheless in first place, however they don't appear like a playoff crew
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Essentially the most unbelievable facet of Sunday’s 35-7 loss to the 49ers is not essentially how completely the Buccaneers have been dominated, as a lot as the truth that they continue to be in first place within the NFC South, even with a 6-7 document.

Being in a foul division means the Bucs might lose their subsequent two video games to the Bengals and Cardinals and nonetheless know that even at 6-9, in a worst-case state of affairs, they’d management their playoff future, capable of win the division by ending with wins towards the Panthers and Falcons.

“It is all out in entrance of us. We management how the season goes for us,” tight finish Cam Brate stated after the loss. “We do not have to depend on another person dropping video games for us to make it to the playoffs, if we simply exit and maintain enterprise. We’re in first place proper now, but it surely’s exhausting to love grasp that actually, as a result of the way in which we’re taking part in, we do not really feel like we’re taking part in like a first-place crew. We have got to determine it out: offense, protection, particular groups. We sort of received killed in all these phases at present.”

Brock Purdy led the San Francisco 49ers to a dominant victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 378 profession video games over 23 seasons, Tom Brady has solely misplaced two video games by extra factors than he did Sunday in Santa Clara, not removed from his hometown of San Mateo, towards a 49ers crew he grew up cheering for. It was simply his second recreation right here, however Sunday bore little resemblance to his 2016 win with the Patriots, throwing for 4 touchdowns.

“In brief, he received our asses kicked,” coach Todd Bowles stated. “We performed dangerous in all phases. We coached dangerous. We received outcoached. Credit score to Kyle (Shanahan) and his guys, they did an excellent job. We received our ass kicked on offense, we received our ass kicked on protection.”

Issues would possibly worsen earlier than they get higher. Simply because the 49ers have now received six in a row, the Bucs return residence to face a Bengals crew that made the Tremendous Bowl final 12 months and has received 5 straight and 7 of their final eight. 

The Bucs performed Sunday with out their two beginning safeties, with Antoine Winfield (ankle) and Mike Edwards (hamstring) lacking a second straight recreation. They may now be with out three different defensive starters who left the 49ers recreation with accidents — defensive sort out Vita Vea left early with a strained calf and had his proper foot in a boot after the sport, cornerback Jamel Dean left with a toe damage and had his left foot in a boot after the sport, and out of doors linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka left with a hip damage.

The Bucs have 4 video games remaining and will probably be an underdog at residence this week towards the Bengals. Fairly, two wins will get them into the playoffs, however the aim is not simply to make the postseason, it is to take action whereas taking part in the sort of soccer you anticipate from a playoff crew. Towards that finish, Bowles stated there ought to be an urgency for his crew to determine what sort of squad they are surely.

“Now we have to determine what sort of crew we wish to be,” he stated. “We will not be one set of Bucs and one other set of Bucs. It has to imply one thing. Now we have a one-game lead with 4 video games to go. Both we would like it or we do not. As a coach, you do not go on the sector, however we undoubtedly received out-coached, so we’re not excused from this in any respect. However we received outplayed as nicely. In order a crew, as a gaggle, now we have to buckle down and now we have to determine what our destiny is within the subsequent few weeks.”

The Bucs’ downside is with every loss, they add to the motivation of the Panthers and Falcons, reminding them they nonetheless have one thing to play for regardless of a document that should not result in any postseason rivalry. Atlanta has misplaced 4 of 5 video games and is switching to rookie Desmond Ridder at quarterback, dealing with the Saints and Ravens on the highway for his first two begins. Carolina has received three of 4, however would wish to beat a sizzling Lions crew that has received 5 of six video games in two weeks to maintain the highest of the division shut.

Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt focus on Brock Purdy’s first profession begin at quarterback for the 49ers towards Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Brady threw two interceptions on Sunday, after totaling three within the first 12 video games of the season. In idea, the Bucs ought to get proper sort out Tristan Wirfs again from damage within the subsequent two weeks, which can assist the offensive line give Brady extra time within the pocket. The 45-year-old is dealing with the potential for ending with a dropping document for the primary time in 21 seasons as a starter, and probably lacking the playoffs for the primary time since 2002.

“Everybody’s received to play higher,” Brady stated. “We simply haven’t performed persistently nicely fairly often. We have not performed it for 4 quarters. We have performed it a bit bit, at instances. Not at present in any respect. Some video games, we have performed nicely for 5 minutes and do not play nicely for 55 minutes. Some video games, we play fairly nicely for a half. Now we have not performed persistently nicely for a recreation.”

The window to show issues round, to begin trying like a first-place crew as an alternative of merely being a first-place crew, is closing quick. One other loss, and the remainder of a foul division begins to seek out confidence once they see the identical standings. The smallest measure of success for this Bucs crew could be a division title, no matter document, figuring out there is a residence playoff recreation that comes with it and no matter that results in.

“It is simply disappointing,” defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches stated. “They executed, and we simply fell aside. It isn’t our normal, it isn’t typical … It is simply irritating. You tip your hat to them, however for us, it’s extremely disappointing.”

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Greg Auman is FOX Sports activities’ NFC South reporter, masking the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He’s in his tenth season masking the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having frolicked on the Tampa Bay Instances and The Athletic. You possibly can observe him on Twitter at @gregauman.

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