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Can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Turn it Around?

Last Updated: December 12, 2022
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3-4 and there’s plenty of blame to go around, including with the offensive line and the run game.

Is there still hope for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Head coach Todd Bowles admitted on Sunday, “it’s about as dark as it’s going to be.” Star wideout Mike Evans said he’s “seen the life go out of [the Bucs].”

The Buccaneers, yes, the team with Tom Brady at quarterback, suffered a 21-3 loss against a Panthers team that just traded away franchise cornerstone Christian McCaffrey. This comes one week after they lost 20-18 against the bottom-feeding Steelers.

The Bucs are now 3-4. The last (and only) time any of Brady’s teams started 3-4 was back in 2002, his second season as a full-time starter with the Patriots. To perfectly sum up just how disappointing they’ve been, look no further than Evans’ wide-open drop in the first quarter. Or, if you prefer, Leonard Fournette getting stifled on a third-and-1 run up the middle and then on a fourth-and-1 pitch in the third quarter.

Despite the poor start, the Bucs are still in first place in a division filled with teams below .500. But something just feels… off. It’d be irresponsible to count out any Brady-led team, but it’s awfully hard taking them seriously as Super Bowl contenders.

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Is this Tom Brady’s Fault?

Not entirely. He’s putting the ball where it needs to be, but the Buccaneers are tied for the fourth-most passes dropped this season (10). Their pass-catchers, offensive line, and running backs simply aren’t getting the job done.

“No one feels good about where we’re at, no one feels good about how we’ve played or what we’re doing,” Brady said.

Here’s where Brady ranks among other QBs in the NFL:
CategoryLeague Rank
Completions: 1983rd
Completion Percentage: 66.9%T-7th
Yards/Game: 277.46th
Touchdowns: 816th
Interceptions: 132nd (last)
QBR: 53.214th
RTG: 92.89th
Here’s where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense ranks among other teams in the NFL:
CategoryLeague Rank
Points/Game: 17.727th
Rush Yards/Game: 64.432nd
Pass Yards/Game: 266.16th
Total Yards/Game: 330.622nd
Touchdowns: 11T-29th

Keep in mind: Brady has never finished the season on an offense ranked lower than 12th in points. The Buccaneers are currently 25th. They’ve gone from averaging 31.4 offensive points per game through seven games last season to just 17.7 points this season.

If you look at the charts above, it isn’t necessarily Brady nor the pass game that’s letting them down. It also isn’t their fifth-ranked defense in terms of points allowed per game (17.7). It’s a problem with their offensive line, which ultimately hurts their run game.

The Rush and the O-Line

Fournette has the fewest rush TDs (1) and second-fewest rush first downs (20) among backs with at least 100 carries. His longest run this season was 17 yards during Week 1.

He might be one of the best pass-catching backs in the league, but it’s awfully hard to move the ball if you aren’t getting necessary blocks from the big uglies. The line has only allowed 10 sacks this season, but they’ve failed Fournette, who averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2021 versus 3.5 in 2022.

It’s one of several factors that come into play. But from a financial perspective it’s even more mind-boggling. They allocated 15.5% of their cap ($31.8 million) to these guys.

Brady’s frustrations were clear and evident during Week 6…

Can They Figure It Out?

The answer is yes, because it’s still Tom Brady. It’s still a talented team with stars all over — from Evans to Fournette to Chris Godwin. They’re struggling without a promising tight end, as Cameron Brate recovers from his second concussion of the 2022 season. And so far as we know, Rob Gronkowski ain’t walking through that door anytime soon.

They’ll probably make the playoffs given how bad the division is, but this is a rare level of mediocrity we’re seeing from a Brady-led team… and it only gets tougher from here. Their next three games are against the Ravens, Rams, and Seahawks.

Future Odds

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Win NFC South: -270
Win Super Bowl: +1600 | (+750 before Week 1)
Total Wins: Over 9.5 (+120) | Under 9.5 (-140)
Make Playoffs: Yes (-260) | No (+220)

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.