Alive for a playoff spot just a few weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have seen their aspirations of a playoff berth after a 4-12 season in 2011 disappear in quick fashion. And as the team limps to the finish, including Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay fans are reconsidering the change they thought they saw in the team when things looked far brighter.
Over at Bucs Nation, the bloggers were pretty clear about their disappointment in the direction of the team in the waning weeks of the season.
Greg Schiano's culture change hasn't produced the results he wanted at the end of the season. The secondary simply isn't good enough, while Josh Freeman has been too inconsistent. The Bucs had chances to win games this season, as they did today, but they came up short just a little too often.
Josh Freeman again fell short of expectations, throwing four interceptions, but the bloggers didn't pin all of the blame on Freeman.
Freeman's four interceptions on the game weren't all his fault, as Mike Williams fell down on one and then ran a bad route on another. ... But interceptions are interceptions, and you can't win games when you turn the ball over four times.
Elsewhere, there was a bright spot in the Bucs second-half defense, as the defense stepped up just as the offense showed signs of a comeback attempt. But as it did all day, it fell short.
The defense got two consecutive three-and-outs, and Josh Freeman found Mike Williams for a weaving 61-yard touchdown catch-and-run. The very next drive, the Bucs managed to drive all the way down to the five-yard line, but a failed fourth-down quarterback sneak saw them come away with no points.