What it means: The Bucs put out another solid effort, but all it added up to was their third straight loss, all against NFC East opponents. The Bucs are 1-3 and tied with Carolina for second place in the NFC South. They could have moved to 2-2 and sole possession of second place if they had been able to hold on after taking a late lead. But that didn’t happen. This team is doing some good things under Greg Schiano, but the Bucs have yet to put it all together. That’s not unusual with a new coach. It took the Bucs half a season to start grasping things back when Tony Dungy took over and he wound up leading the team through its longest period of consistent success. At least these Bucs are looking better than the Bucs in the first half of Dungy’s first season.
Defense collapses: Tampa Bay’s defense has been the bright spot through most of the first four games. But the defense let the Bucs down when it mattered most on Sunday. After Connor Barth gave the Bucs a 22-21 lead with under two minutes left, Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense were able to march straight down the field to set up Billy Cundiff’s game-winning field goal. The defense didn’t have a great day overall. Griffin threw for 323 yards and Alfred Morris rushed for 113 yards.
Hope for the offense: There finally were some bright spots out of the Tampa Bay offense. Josh Freeman threw for 299 yards and had a particularly good second half to put the Bucs back in the game. Vincent Jackson had six catches for 100 yards. The Bucs also diversified their running game, getting LeGarrette Blount a bit more involved. Blount got six carries and had 17 yards and a touchdown. Doug Martin, who had been getting the vast majority of the carries, had eight carries for 33 yards.
What’s next: The Bucs have a bye next week. Their next game is Oct. 14, at home with Kansas City.