Entering Week 14 at 6-6, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a chance to prove they were for real. A four-game win streak had opened some eyes through the 2012 season's middle stretch, but back-to-back losses had Tampa Bay at .500 and the odds of a playoff appearance getting longer. The Philadelphia Eagles came to Raymond James Stadium not having won a game since September, and if the Buccaneers wanted a happy ending to their season, a win against the Eagles would have gone a long way.
Alas, Buccaneers blog Bucs Nation notes, it was not to be. The Eagles won, 23-21, thanks to two touchdown drives in the final seven minutes. That's something Bucs Nation lays at the feet of the secondary:
When push came to shove, the Tampa Bay secondary simply could not step up. With 7 minutes left in the game, the Buccaneers had taken an 11-point lead. They had scored 21 straight points, after being shut out in the first half. All they needed to do was limit Nick Foles, a quarterback they had shut out in the second half and managed to sack six times throughout the game.
Foles finished the day with 381 yards on 32-of-51 passing. That's a season-high for the rookie by more than 100 yards. Passing defense has been Tampa Bay's Achilles heel this season. They rank first in opposing rushing yards, but dead last in opposing passing yards.
The full post contains more discussion of the game, including coaching choices that had a major impact on the result, so head over to Bucs Nation and check it out.