Saturday, December 17, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 31, Bucs 15
By Pat Yasinskas
TAMPA, Fla. -- Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 31-15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium:
What it means: Wow, there’s a loaded question. The Bucs lost their eighth consecutive game. They now are 4-10. Their stadium had as many fans dressed in blue and white as it did in red or pewter, which was the only reason this game was the second home sellout of the past two seasons. I’ve tried to think of possible ways the Bucs could keep coach Raheem Morris for 2012, but I no longer can see any way that happens. In fact, as much as the Bucs may not like their options for an interim coach, ownership might have to pull the plug now, just to send a message to the fans.
Interim options: As long as we’re talking about the possibility of finishing the season with an interim coach, let’s examine the very limited possibilities. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson would be one. But the problem with Olson is he has no filter with the media and could say some things that might not come across well. Defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake might be the best choice. In theory, he could take over Morris’ play-calling duties for the defense. Then again, the Bucs could just play out the string with Morris and pull the plug the day after the season ends.
What I liked: Hey, there was a bright spot for the Buccaneers. First-round pick Adrian Clayborn continues to show signs he can play.
What I didn’t like: That could probably fill up a book, so I’ll try to be brief. The offense was horrible and quarterback Josh Freeman never got into any sort of rhythm. The defense couldn’t tackle or cover.
Worst stat: Prior to linebacker Dekoda Watson recovering a fumble and returning it for a touchdown early in the third quarter, the Bucs had been outscored 69-0 since jumping out to a 14-0 lead against Jacksonville two weeks ago.
Worst stat II: At just about the five-minute mark of the third quarter, the Cowboys had 23 first downs and the Bucs had one. Then, Tampa Bay exploded for its second first down of the night.
What’s next: The Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers on Christmas Eve at Bank of America Stadium.