Despite all the preseason hype, the Buccaneers have proved they weren’t quite suited for the role of playoff contenders this year. It doesn’t look like the role of playoff spoiler will be a good fit either.
Though the Bucs dominated the Packers on the stat sheet Sunday, they wound up falling victim to their own mistakes during a 26-10 overtime loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Their inability to tackle running back Aaron Jones on a 20-yard touchdown run proved to be the fatal flaw but there were plenty of others that came before that contributed to the loss.
Among the worst was a fumble by quarterback Jameis Winston that Packers defensive lineman Dean Lowry grabbed out of the air and ran 62 yards with for a touchdown.
The Bucs also had a punt blocked and a premature snap on a key third down play forced them to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown in the second half.
Add it all up and it was too much for the Bucs to overcome despite the fact they outgained the Packers 395-276 and got a big bounce back game from quarterback Jameis Winston.
Winston completed 21 of 32 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, both to tight end Cameron Brate, and was further aided by a 23-carry, 102-yard rushing day from Peyton Barber, but it wasn’t enough.
No team has allowed more points on their opponent’s first possession of the game this year than the Packers and that trend continued against the Bucs, who scored a rare first-possession touchdown in this one.
The score came on a one-handed grab by Brate, who hauled on his team-leading fifth touchdown reception of the year to help the Bucs and Winston get off to a good start.
Winston was 4-for-5 for 60 yards and that touchdown on that opening drive, which marked the first time all season that the Bucs have scored a touchdown on their first possession.
The Packers responded with a good long drive of their own, but the Bucs eventually held on third down to force Green Bay to settle for a 37-yard Matt Crosby field goal.
The Bucs were in position to expand their lead a couple series later after rookie Justin Evans picked off his third pass of the year but it was the Packers who wound up benefiting the most from that play.
After the Bucs failed to move the chains following the takeaway, the Packers broke through to block a Bryan Anger punt to set the stage for their next score.
That came on a 1-yard Jamaal Williams run that helped the Packers take a 10-7 lead with 7:12 left in a second quarter that only got uglier for the Bucs from there on.
On a first-and-10 play from the Green Bay 30, Winston did what he does far too often, which is try to make a play when there isn’t one there to make and it wound up costing him.
As he was being sacked, Winston tried to throw the ball but he wound up fumbling it away to Dean Lowry, who picked it up and ran it back 62 yards for a touchdown.
The Bucs began to settle down in the third quarter and actually took control of the game but mistakes continued to cost them as a premature snap on third-and-goal from the Packers 3 cost them a shot at a touchdown.
The Bucs settled for a field goal on that drive, but came back to take a 20-17 lead on another Winston touchdown pass to Brate before the Packer re-tied the game at 20-20 with 2:01 left in the fourth quarter.
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