The next time Tampa Bay Buccaneers players decide to have a players-only meeting, as they did this week, they should think about discussing how to stop blowing games in the closing moments.
Tampa Bay has been consumed with quarterback Josh Freeman’s struggles. Bucs coach Greg Schiano threw his quarterback under the bus this week by admitting Freeman has a pattern of missing team events. There has been a lot made of Freeman not being named a captain this season and the legitimacy of that team vote.
The uneasy feelings won't get better after a second straight heartbreaking defeat to start the 2013 season.
Tampa Bay’s defense has played well in two games – until the Bucs needed last-minute stops in both. Mason Foster's interception of Drew Brees and 85-yard return for a TD put the Bucs ahead 14-13 with 12:40 left in the fourth quarter.
Bucs kicker Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, and New Orleans took over on its own 37-yard line. Tampa Bay had a one-point lead, but considering New Orleans was in an obvious passing situation, the Buccaneers' defense seemingly had an advantage.
Then Saints quarterback Drew Brees led his team on a five-play, 54-yard drive, which was cemented by Garrett Hartley’s 27-yard game-winning field goal to give New Orleans a 16-14 victory.
Tampa Bay’s biggest dilemma is figuring out if this choke job tops last week’s collapse.
The New York Jets trailed Tampa Bay 17-15 in the closing moments of that Week 1 game when quarterback Geno Smith scrambled 10 years and was shoved after he went out of bounds by Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David. That personal foul put New York in field-goal position, and Nick Folk won the game on a 48-yard kick with two seconds remaining.
Buccaneers players need to call another meeting this week.
They have a lot to talk about.
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