The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave us a riddle to solve after their loss to Washington this week. Tampa Bay had 501 yards of offense, averaged 7.5 yards per play, converted 60 percent of their third downs ... and only finished with three points.
That seems just about impossible, but it makes a little more sense when you realize they had four turnovers today on their 10 possessions. Here’s how the Bucs managed to pull it off...
Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged almost 10 yards per attempt against Washington, but he had two costly turnovers as Tampa Bay was cruising into scoring territory. His first interception came when Tampa Bay was on Washington’s 19-yard line — an errant pass that landed in the hands of Josh Norman.
On the second interception, Fitzpatrick stared down tight end O.J. Howard. Washington rookie Greg Stroman was able to jump in front of the pass for an interception on Tampa Bay’s 37-yard line before returning it to the 14-yard line.
On the drive after the second interception, running back Jacquizz Rodgers fumbled the ball right after breaking into the red zone. That was the second time in the game Tampa Bay turned the ball over after getting inside Washington’s 20-yard line.
To follow up the drive with the fumble, Tampa Bay fumbled again after driving the ball 80 yards down the field all the way to Washington’s 2-yard line. Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith worked together to get a strip sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Overall, the Buccaneers’s second half was disastrous. Tampa Bay had five possessions after halftime — a missed field goal, an interception, a fumble, another fumble, and then a one-play drive at the end when the game was out of reach.
After the game, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said he took over the playcalling for the game.
It’s not fair to place the blame of the turnovers on Koetter — Tampa Bay did have 501 yards today — but it is a bit funny that a team that was averaging 28.6 points per game (eighth in the NFL entering Week 10) scored three points after Koetter took the reins back.
It’s hard to score points with turnovers that come in scoring range. Three turnovers in the red zone is almost impossible to overcome. Now, the 501 yards resulting in the three points makes much more sense.