It’s going to be at least another week before the Buccaneers can start changing that losing culture of theirs.
The prospects for change don’t appear too promising then either, not after what went down at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
Yes, the Bucs lost again, 27-7 to the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos. No surprise there.
This, though, was one of those days where the losses within the loss may have been more devastating that the loss itself.
Before they could even reach halftime the Bucs lost four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a calf injury and rookie defensive end Noah Spence to a shoulder injury.
Add the previous losses of ends Jacquies Smith to a knee injury and Robert Ayers to an ankle injury and the Bucs have now lost their four best pure pass rushers.
It’s hard enough to compete in the NFC South with a pass rush. The Bucs are now looking at trying to compete virtually without one, though they did have some promising moments without Spence and McCoy on Sunday.
Tackles Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence combined for two sacks of Broncos quarterback sensation Trevor Siemian, the second one actually knocking Siemian out of the game.
That flurry of pressure was short-lived, though, as rookie Paxton Lynch came on and chewed up the Bucs secondary, completing 14 of 24 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown in his NFL regular-season debut.
.@PaxtonLynch on the run throws for his FIRST career NFL TD!!
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) October 2, 2016
The Bucs, meanwhile, showed everybody why their losing culture has become such a hot button issue all of a sudden, committing more of the same mistakes that have beset them for years.
Two giveaways inside their own 30-yard line – one on an interception by quarterback Jameis Winston, the other on a fumble lost by running back Charles Sims – helped the Broncos take early control of this game.
Buoyed by the defense and a 7-yard scramble touchdown by Winston, the Bucs actually kept the game close for a while, but with McCoy and Spence out it began to slip away in the second half.
Now, it looks like any hope of turning what is already a lost season around is slipping away, too.