After shredding the Rams, 55-40, the Buccaneers moved to 2-2 and the arrow was pointing straight up.
And then the Buccaneers lost four in a row.
Four in a row. Coach Bruce Arians previously hadn’t had a three-game losing streak during his head-coaching tenure. And now, seven weeks after they should have beaten the Giants but lost because Arians mishandled the situation in the final seconds and pushed back the potential game-winning field goal by five yards, the Bucs return home with a 2-6 record, at least three games they could/should have won, and no margin for error in the second half, thanks to a top-heavy NFC playoff field.
Arians gets his chance to get things right against his former team, the Cardinals. And it could be that the Bucs will be more locked in than usual, and that they’ll be closer to the team that went double nickels on the Rams than the team that hasn’t won since then.
Via JoeBucsFan.com, offensive lineman Ali Marpet painted a picture this week of a team that flips and unflips the switch on a regular basis: “I think that we need to get to a point as a team where we’re there, and that we’re not just, you know, we’ll take this week on and this week off, this week on, this week off. I think we have to be more serious in how we prepare every week to be more consistent.”
While very troubling on the surface, Marpet’s words suggest that, if the Buccaneers will be ready to go in any remaining week of the season, it will be this week.
Where that goes from here remains to be seen, but the Buccaneers definitely have the talent to win. They just haven’t won nearly enough in a year when most assumed they’d be winning more.