The Buccaneers lost 19-9 in Houston on Sunday afternoon to drop to 1-2 on the season, but the result could have been a more positive one had kicker Kyle Brindza not had as bad a day as a kicker could hope to have.
Brindza missed three field goals and an extra point during the game and even the mathematically disadvantaged could probably figure out that the 10 points he left on the board accounted for the entire margin of defeat. Two of the missed field goals would have given Tampa the lead and changed the tenor of the game, something that led Texans defensive end J.J. Watt to point out that Brindza “helped us out a little bit.”
It did not lead coach Lovie Smith to consider making a change at the position, however.
“No. Kyle is our kicker,” Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “He, like a lot of us, had a disappointing day. That hasn’t been the case. You’re going to have off days, and this was an off day. When a player has an off day, we need to rally around him in other ways, and that’s what we weren’t able to do.”
Smith pointed to the Bucs run defense as a problem on Sunday while quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans both took blame for the team not putting more points on the board. The loss, like almost all losses, was definitely a team effort, but four missed kicks in a single game is still a lot to swallow without even considering a look in another direction. That’s true of any team, but especially one that has as slim a margin for error as the Buccaneers appear to have this season.