It was supposed to be the most important home game the Bucs played all season.
When the 2013 schedule first came out, numerous Bucs fans targeted Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers as a crucial home game with playoff implications. Unfortunately, only the 49ers had the postseason on their mind heading into Sunday’s affair.
Without a chance at the playoffs, Sunday’s game against the 49ers was supposed to be the signature win during the Schiano era and give Bucs fans in attendance reason for hope in 2014. Unfortunately, a horrendous 4th quarter prevented a win for the Bucs and sent them to a 4-10 record.
“It was a tough loss. It was a hard-fought game. Unfortunate the way it ended,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said after the game.
After the Bucs cut the 49ers lead to just 6 points on the 1st play of the 4th quarter, the 49ers put together a 10+ minute drive, converted two 3rd downs, and tacked on a field goal to make the score 23-14 49ers.
On the ensuing kickoff with 4:21 on the clock, Greg Schiano had some more of his trickery up his sleeve as Eric Page ran an unsuccessful reverse with Russell Shephard that led to another 49ers touchdown.
“It was a called play. We were going to run a reverse if the opportunity presented itself the right way. It didn’t, yet we still ran it, but it’s okay. We made a mistake. Guys make mistakes sometimes,” Schiano said.
The Bucs had won 4 of their last 5 games, but Sunday’s game was an opportunity to prove to their fans that the Bucs were ready to compete with the best teams in the NFL next season.
With a 33-14 loss to the 49ers in a game where the Buccaneers were out-matched and out-manned on both sides of the ball, the Bucs might seem a little further away from competing for a playoff spot than most thought.
The Buccaneers were dominated in every way on the stat sheet, and, other than their two touchdown drives, Mike Glennon seemed lost as Bucs quarterback.
“We’re going against one of the top defenses in the league,” Mike Glennon said when asked about his recent struggles. “As an offense we knew we were going to have to get the game into the fourth quarter and we did that. Going against that kind of team you just have to be on top of your game and all throughout the course of the game.”
Glennon’s best drive came at the conclusion of the 3rd quarter, which capped off with a 24 yard touchdown pass to tight end Tim Wright on the 1st play of the 4th quarter. On that drive, Glennon was 8-9 for 89 yards and that touchdown pass. Other than that drive, Glennon was 10-25 for 90 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“I didn’t think he took steps back today,” Schiano said of Glennon. “The only way we moved the ball is when we went to two-minute and no-huddle [offenses]. Mike’s the one who controlled the whole operation, moving it down the field against, arguably, one of the top three defenses in the league. We didn’t perform in some areas, but I thought Mike actually, without watching the tape, gave us the spark.”
In the end, the Bucs were dominated along the line of scrimmage, in time of possession, and on the scoreboard. Mike Glennon looked lost against one of the league’s best defense. The Bucs suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season in front of a sold out crowd.
The Buccaneers will now end this season with double-digit losses, but look to end the regular season on a high note with road games against the St. Louis Rams and the New Orleans Saints remaining.