Key Mistakes Tackle Bucs in Loss at Indianapolis

Ken Cross

November 29, 2023 at 11:48 am.

Once again, the NFC South was a flurry of losses and once again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed an opportunity to tie for the top spot.

While Atlanta knocked off New Orleans, 24-15, the Falcons moved to 5-6 while the Saints fell to the same record. Tampa Bay could have forged a three-way tie for first, but once again, the Bucs were embattled with mistakes in a 27-20 loss at the Indianapolis Colts.

With just over a minute remaining, quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked by Samson Ekubam, who pulled the hat trick when he forced a fumble on the sack and then made what was the game-ending recovery.

Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles refused to place blame on any one area for the Bucs’ loss. Mistakes have been a recurring theme in a disappointing 2023 season and have caused Tampa Bay to lose six of its last seven games.

The team has had a tough time with consistency on both sides of the ball which was on display in such a tough loss to the Colts on Sunday.

“It’s things we’ve done every day, every day,” explained Bowles. “We have done them right hundreds of times. At a certain point in time, it doesn’t get done.”

Bowles doesn’t think the Buccaneers’ lack of depth on both sides of the football is an issue with the number of mistakes that are made.

“At certain times, they happen at the wrong time,” noted Bowles. “We’re young, yes, but that’s not an excuse because we are in the ball games. We have a chance to win every ball game. We don’t make the plays at the end and we make some critical errors.”

Defensively, quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled as he threw an pass that was intercepted by Ronnie Harrison to set up Taylor’s first score.

He had been injured earlier, but had gotten back into the game to try to keep the Buccaneers’ offense in a steady place.

“I think we’re making mistakes at the wrong time,” explained Bowles. “Whether we get to the one-yard line or whether we blow something in the second half, it’s a different guy every time.

Mayfield had an MRI on his ankle which did come back as a negative.

“I know he’s pretty sore right now,” said Bowles. “We will try to give him a break when he needs one during the week and see how he feels.”

In addition, missing LB Davante David and CB Jamel Dean were two subtractions from the defense that hurt the team and any opportunity it might have had to outlast Indianapolis. Devin White was also imperiled with a foot injury that limited his mobility.

After Chase McLaughlin’s 21-yard field goal gave the Buccaneers a 3-0 lead, Indianapolis took control as quarterback Gardiner Minshew and running back Jonathan Taylor had a pair of rushing TDs as the Colts took a 17-10 lead and never trailed again.

Wide receiver Mike Evans and running back Rachaad White had the Buccaneers in position with their high levels of play. Evans caught two touchdown passes as he had six catches for 70 yards and White ran for 100 yards on 15 carries.

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