Reporting Justin Pawlowski
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost 13 of their last 14 games.
Any time a team is in this kind of downward spiral, every game seems like a must-win. While I am not a believer in the overuse of the phrase “must-win,” I do believe the Bucs need a win against the hapless Chiefs as much as they’ve needed to win any game in the last 2 years.
The Chiefs will enter Sunday’s matchup at Raymond James Stadium as one of the bigger disappointments in the NFL this season. At 1-4 on the season, the Chiefs have had their fair share of issues, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
As Matt Cassel was knocked out of last week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, some of the Chiefs faithful in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium cheered as it meant a quarterback change to Brady Quinn. Yep, it’s so bad in Kansas City that they have been longing for Brady freaking Quinn. With Cassel being ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bucs, the Chiefs fans will get their wish with the beginning of the Brady Quinn era.
Will Quinn be better than Matt Cassel? That is a very tough question to answer because he is Brady freaking Quinn, but it will be a challenge for even Quinn to match the futility that the Chiefs offense has produced with Cassel at the helm. This has been a Chiefs offense that is averaging nearly 4 turnovers a game! Because of this outrageous stat, the Chiefs are an eye-popping -15 in turnover margin this season through 5 weeks!
Yes, Jamaal Charles has been outstanding running the ball, Dwayne Bowe is a fantastic receiver, and the combination of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston off the edge on defense has produced 9 sacks already, but this Chiefs team is reeling.
It has been pleasant to see the Buccaneers putting up good fights in the first 4 games of their season, but this is the NFL. Am I really supposed to be excited or get fired up because my favorite team is playing hard? Is putting up a good fight? Is keeping games competitive? Absolutely not! It’s a good step, but if you still don’t win, you continue to be losers, and I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of my teams losing!
Josh Freeman must show some improvement. A completion percentage of 54% and a QB rating at 75.3 and among the worst in the league is unacceptable for a player in his 4th season.
The defense must show more consistency.
Doug Martin needs to show why he was a 1st round pick.
There have been positives to go along with the overall effort. The Bucs receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have been very good. The rookies on defense in Mark Barron and Lavonte David have provided hope for the future. Gerald McCoy has remained healthy and been the difference maker I knew he could be.
Before the games were played, were the Bucs supposed to beat the Giants? or Cowboys? or even RG3′s Redskins? Maybe and maybe not. However, this is a game, coming off the bye week, against an underachieving Chiefs team that the Buccaneers are supposed to win, should win, and need to win.
This game is stacked in your favor. The Buccaneers are the team coming off a bye week with two weeks to prepare. The Buccaneers are facing a Chiefs team turning to their backup quarterback in Brady Quinn. The Buccaneers are at home with home-field advantage. Despite the Buccaneers record, they’re the ones playing with confidence, while the Chiefs look like they’re in disaray. The Chiefs are the team that turns the ball over 4 times per game. The Buccaneers have as good a duo of kickers in the NFL in Michael Koenen and Connor Barth.
There have not been many games recently that the Buccaneers are supposed to win, but this is one of them.
No, I do not believe in the phrase “must-win” unless it is truly a game you have to win to prevent elimination. For the Bucs and some of the relevance they have recovered with an active off-season and a competitive first 4 games, this might be close to that “must-win” mentality because a loss might lead to an elimination of that gained relevance.
Listen to Justin Pawlowski during “Gary and The Commish” heard weekdays from 10a-2p on Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio 98.7 The Fan.
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