The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a disappointing slight step back in Week 11 after falling short to the LA Rams. The criticism has quickly shifted toward their offensive shortcoming pinpointed on Tom Brady‘s performance. Although much of it is an overreaction, there is an underlying issue involving Brady that could prevent the Buccaneers from vying for a Super Bowl.
Buccaneers fall to the Rams
The Buccaneers headed into Monday night action against the Rams, hoping to grab their second straight win to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints.
Instead, Tampa Bay struggled to move past LA as their offense stumbled throughout the contest. The team piled up only 251 total offensive yards with 3.7 yards per play and committed a pair of turnovers.
The Rams defense proved to be the x-factor that limited the Buccaneers to 42 rushing yards while forcing two interceptions from Tom Brady, with the second essentially sealing the game. LA controlled the game’s tempo behind their offense that put up 413 total yards. Their dynamic duo of star wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods led the charge by each putting up at least 130 receiving yards and double-digit receptions.
However, the focus has quickly shifted over to the Buccaneer’s chance to compete for the Super Bowl in the stacked NFC. There are still several weeks of the regular season left to play, but it’s clear there is some needed improvement offensively that centers on their star quarterback.
Tom Brady’s biggest flaw continues to hamper Buccaneers
Beyond the Buccaneers faltering against another playoff-caliber team in the NFC, a continuing trend has persistently cropped up.
In their four losses this season, the lack of ability to make big plays down the field has plagued them. That was certainly the case against LA, with Brady completing 1-of-9 passes for 18 yards and two interceptions on throws 15-or-more yards down the field. In the other three losses in 2020, he completed below 40% of those attempts.
Many will point to Brady’s arm strength, but that has never been his forte, outside of going in that direction with Randy Moss during his stint with the New England Patriots. What these struggles show is the lack of defined chemistry between Brady and his receiving options. These issues have significantly contributed to his nine interceptions this year, which is more than he had all of the 2019 campaign (eight).
The expectations were that this would be an area of needed continued improvement, but it’s something that has plagued them to a growing degree. The Buccaneers have a wealth of offensive talent around Brady, but it comes down to further solidifying the on-field chemistry.
Buccaneers still in a promising position
The Buccaneers have dropped two out of their last three games, but the sky is not falling on the franchise’s Super Bowl hopes.
What these losses signify is that there is some much-needed room for improvement. Beyond Tom Brady building more stable chemistry with his teammates in the passing game, the team requires stronger pass protection.
The remaining five games of the season will provide Tampa Bay plenty of time to work out those kinks. Some will count out the Buccaneers due to their shortcoming so far this season, but having Brady under center gives them the opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl.
The next several weeks will be crucial in the franchise taking that next step forward toward becoming a legitimate championship-contending team.