Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A Look Back At A Promising Season

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into the 2021-22 season as the defending Super Bowl Champions. The GOAT himself Tom Brady left the New England Patriots and came south to Tampa. He led the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title in franchise history. He did not do it all alone with a stellar defense and many offensive weapons. Coming into the season, they were one of the favorites to return to the Super Bowl that is in Los Angeles. The one aspect that was good when they won was they stayed away from major injuries. This year was a different story and losing wide receiver Chris Godwin was a major blow to the offense. Especially down the stretch and in the playoffs. The Buccaneers finished the regular season at 13-4. They won the NFC South for the first time since 2007. The playoffs ended earlier than the Buccaneers would have liked.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers season started with a preseason record of 1-2. Many of us know that the preseason does not mean much anymore. I think it is good for a team to get off to a good start. The regular season started on Thursday night it was the first game to open the new NFL season. The opponent on that night was the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, like the Buccaneers, were one of the teams in the NFC that were favored to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. The game was closer than many would have thought but it started on a positive start with a win. They would finish the first half of the season with a 6-3 record. The biggest losses came to the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Football Team. The worst part is ending with losing the final two games.

The second half of the season started just like the first one did. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New York Giants. They would go on to win the next three games in a row over the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, and Buffalo Bills. At the time, they had beat the Falcons twice sweeping the divisional matchup. The game against the Bills was just as tight when the Bucs opened against the Cowboys. In the final four games, the Bucs would go 3-1. The one loss was to the New Orleans Saints which they had struggled against even before Brady arrived. Sean Payton’s game plan slowed down the Bucs’ offense. The victories came against the Carolina Panthers twice and the New York Jets. They were 4-2 in the NFC South. When it came down to it, the Buccaneers ended up being the number two seed in the NFC for the playoffs.

The playoffs began at home this was the first time since 2007 that they would be hosting a playoff game. Even though the Super Bowl was in Tampa last year it was a neutral site they were not able to fire the cannons on the pirate ship in the north end zone at Raymond James Stadium. They played the Philadelphia Eagles who finished second in the NFC East. In this game, Tampa had control right away. The offense played well despite the injuries and the defense kept quarterback Jalen Hurts on the ropes. With the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Dallas Cowboys it set up the winner of the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals would play the Bucs in the divisional round. That ended up being the Rams a team that the Bucs struggled with during the regular season. The same result happened again in the playoff game.

In the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losses, the opposing defense kept Tom Brady off rhythm. We all know from his time with the Patriots how to beat him pressure him and knock him down. Speaking of the New England Patriots, he returned there in week five to defeat them and show Bill Belichick he was wrong. The teams that I saw them struggle with most were the Rams and Saints. Both of those coaches use a similar plan to frustrate Brady and Bucs’ offense. Even though the defense did their job in those games, it was not enough. Ultimately, they would go 0-4 against those two opponents. In the last game against the Rams, the Bucs used mistakes to tie the game late. For some reason, Tampa Bay called an all-out blitz leaving Cooper Kupp wide open. That set up the game-winning field goal for the Rams.

The biggest questions heading into the off-season were answered, Which free agents are coming back for next season and which ones will be lost? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers has all their free agents come back last year. One of the biggest moments of the season may have been in week 17 against the New York Jets when wide receiver Antonio Brown stormed off the field because he was not going to make the bonuses he was promised. This came after Brown faked his Covid-19 vaccine card. He served a three-game suspension for it.

The other question was just answered last week as Tom Brady decided to call it a career after 22 seasons. A career that will see many call him the greatest quarterback of all-time and maybe, just maybe, some may call him the greatest football player of all time. One thing is for sure. There will never be another like him in our lifetime and maybe, never again.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a tough schedule next year. They will need a new QB and some of the cast to return next year to get back to the success of the last two years. This team is good enough on defense to be back in the thick of things next year. They might also lose Bryon Leftwich and Todd Bowles as they both may become head coaches for the 2022-23 season. This is not the way the fans would have wanted the season to end. I think they thought they could win the Super Bowl for the second year in a row like the Tampa Bay Lightning winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. Now, with Brady gone, the retooling and the search for a new quarterback are underway.

Team Stats

Tom Brady: 485/719, 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions

Chris Godwin: had 98 receptions and 1,103 yards despite being injured

Mike Evans: for the eighth time he had 1,000 yards or more.

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