On Thursday’s PFT Live (and last night at PFT), the Bucs were compared to a kid learning to ride a bike. Whenever they seem to be starting to find their balance, they crash into a tree.
Last night, they seemed to be starting to find their balance. And then they crashed into a tree.
They shrugged off three missed field goals from soon-to-be-former kicker Nick Folk, they played solid defense against #Tommy, and they finally settled in to a “take what they give us” approach offensively, racking up fourth-quarter yards in front of a secondary desperate not to be beaten deep.
Ultimately, however, quarterback Jameis Winston and company weren’t able to take what the Patriots wouldn’t give them. From the 19 with three seconds left, the Patriots put three men on the line and eight inside the five, ready to guard the goal line and the rest of the end zone.
“Three-man rush,” Tony Romo of CBS said before the snap. “You have a lot of time, Jameis, to find a soft spot in the pocket.”
He didn’t. Instead of using his legs behind a five-on-three mismatch to wait for the play to develop, Winston fired the ball to the front of the end zone, toward tight end O.J. Howard — who wasn’t ready for it.
Winston should have waited for something/anything to pop open. Given the communications issues that have plagued the New England secondary this season, why not force them to work cohesively? One false move, and one of the three receivers or two tight ends would have been open for the game winner.
In the end, it was just another variation of a familiar trend. Just as the Bucs begin to start pedaling hard, into a tree the bike goes.