NFC South: 2013 Week 9 TB at SEA

Buccaneers reach a new low point

November, 3, 2013
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their best football game of the season Sunday.

Naturally, they still lost. Even die-hard Bucs fans could see this one coming from 3,000 miles away.

The Bucs lost 27-24 in overtime to the Seattle Seahawks. And this wasn’t anything close to a moral victory. Instead, it was a morale loss. The Bucs are 0-8 and this one was far worse than the previous seven put together.

As the Bucs fly back across the continent Sunday night, do you think morale could be any lower?

I don’t. The Bucs led 21-0 at one point in the first half and 24-7 early in the third quarter. They could have (temporarily) silenced all of their critics by beating one of the NFL’s best teams in one of the league’s toughest road stadiums. Fans even would have backed off coach Greg Schiano -- until his next loss.

[+] EnlargeTampa Bay's Greg Schiano
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsWould the Glazer family think about replacing Greg Schiano before the Bucanneers' Monday night game against the Dolphins?
But the Bucs blew that big lead in disastrous fashion and you have to wonder if ownership is thinking about replacing Schiano with an interim coach.

Perhaps you’ve noted that I’ve yet to call for Schiano’s firing. My logic has been two-fold. First, going with an interim coach never solves anything. Second, the general rule of thumb is that you don’t pull the plug until the players stop playing hard for the coach.

The effort still was there Sunday and that’s something that should be considered. But I’m starting to wonder if the Glazer family, which owns the team, might go ahead and fire Schiano at the midpoint of his second NFL season.

It wouldn’t even be a small surprise at this point. Schiano has lost 13 of his past 14 games. Those are the kind of embarrassing numbers that got predecessor Raheem Morris fired. And, before you go saying the Glazers will stick with Schiano because he has three years remaining on his contract, think about something else.

The Glazers don’t like losing money. But, more importantly, they care deeply about how they and the Bucs are perceived. More than anything, the Glazers hate to be embarrassed.

Schiano was brought in to do two things. First, he was supposed to change the culture of a locker room that had run amok under Morris. He accomplished that by getting rid of the likes of Aqib Talib, Kellen Winslow and LeGarrette Blount. Give Schiano credit for filling the locker room with Boy Scouts (and former Rutgers players).

But the other thing Schiano was hired to do was win. He clearly hasn’t done that. Just like he did in some early-season close losses, Schiano got conservative against Seattle. His staff also didn’t seem to make any successful halftime adjustments.

Could things really get worse if the Bucs fired Schiano and elevated special teams coach Dave Wannstedt to interim coach? Probably not. But things probably couldn’t get much worse.

The Bucs hit their lowest point in Seattle. They squandered a chance for Schiano to say, “Hey, look at what my system can do if it’s run right."

But that didn’t happen and the Glazers might be at a point where they need to make a big choice. Remember what I said about them not liking being embarrassed. I can’t emphasize that enough.

The next game on the schedule is a Monday night contest (Nov. 11) against the Miami Dolphins. It will be on national television in a sold-out stadium that rarely sells out.

The Glazers have to decide what’s worse -- going the interim route or run the risk of letting a national audience see Schiano get booed out of Raymond James Stadium.

Rapid Reaction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

November, 3, 2013

A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks:

What it means: Did you really think the result was going to be any different? Even when the Bucs had leads of 21-0 and 24-7? Of course not. If you’ve followed Tampa Bay this season, you knew a second-half collapse was coming, and it did. The Bucs squandered a shot to beat one of the NFL’s best teams in one of the league’s loudest stadiums. Instead, they’re 0-8 and at a new low point.

Schiano Watch: There already has been plenty of speculation about coach Greg Schiano’s future. That’s only going to intensify now. The Bucs got conservative once they got the lead. And, once again, Schiano and his staff failed to make the proper halftime adjustments. I’m sure ownership is hesitant to make a coaching change at midseason. But one might be seriously pondered after a loss like this.

Historic moment: The come-from-behind victory was the largest in Seattle history. The previous largest comeback was from 20 points against Denver in 1995.

Wasting a big day: Playing in place of the injured Doug Martin, rookie Mike James rushed for 158 yards and also threw a touchdown pass. But none of that really mattered because the Bucs lost.

Stock rising: Second-year safety Mark Barron had perhaps his best game ever. He had a big interception in the first half and was very active all game.

What’s next: The Bucs will host the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 11 on "Monday Night Football."

Alert: Bucs aiming for huge upset

November, 3, 2013
If you’re not at a television or radio, get to one.

Believe it or not, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a 21-7 lead on the Seattle Seahawks at halftime. That’s not a misprint.

The Bucs aren’t playing like an 0-7 team. Instead, they look like a playoff team in one of the NFL’s most hostile stadiums. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon suddenly looks like a poised veteran.

Fellow rookies Tim Wright and Mike James are having big games. So is second-year safety Mark Barron. We'll see if the Bucs can hang on.

Check back after the game for more coverage. And join us in our live chat during the second half.