The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were heavy favorites going into Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, who just traded away superstar running back Christian McCaffrey and looked to be in a full scale rebuild.
However, the Bucs struggled on offense again and dropped another loss, their fourth in the past five games, as the fell to the Panthers 21-3.
“No one play is the sole reason you lose, but that was definitely the biggest reason,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans, who dropped critical passes during the game, said. “I seen the life go out of us. It took me a while to get back playing. We’re taught to play the next play, but it was tough — wide open, one of the best in the game — I’ve got to catch it.”
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is in a place he hasn’t been much throughout his career, as he is now below .500 seven games into the season for the first time since 2002.
“No one feels good about where we’re at, no one feels good about how we’ve played or what we’re doing,” Brady said, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “We’re all in it together. We’ve gotta go pull ourselves out of it.”
“We’re not playing well. We’re not playing well as individuals, we’re not playing well as a team,” Brady continued. “We’re not coaching well. All around. We’re not scoring enough on offense. We’re not stopping them enough on defense. So as a result — we have to wear this on our sleeve. We’ve got to be grown men. We’re going to see what we’re made of — how many people can handle adversity? This is as dark as it’s going to be right now.
“Those guys who are going to step up are going to show up this week in practice. Our leaders are going to lead. Our coaches are going to coach. We’re just going to dig and keep our head down. It’s a prideful football game. … Either you can or you can’t. We’re going to see what we have going forward and see how many people crumble when it’s dark, and see how many people step up and starting playing better.
“We as a team, starting with me and the coaches, and the players have got to be accountable as well — it’s a dark day for us losing the way we did and with the mistakes that we had, that we shouldn’t have had,” he continued. “You can’t do nothing but pick your shirt up by the tail. We own it, we have to own it, to a man, we have to stand up here and own it and make no excuses, and we’ve just got to start digging.”
The Bucs will look to turn it around against the Baltimore Ravens.
“This is going to be a big test for us. We’ll see where we’re at. We’ll see what we’re made of,” Evans said. “We’ve been here before. Some of us have been here through the real tough times. We know how to keep playing, and that’s what we have to do. This one’s going to hurt. We’ll do the 24-hour rule. And we’ve got to get ready for Thursday. Luckily we’re playing Thursday. We have to win it.”