Broncos 31, Bucs 23December 2nd, 2012
The Bucs offense stalled mysteriously in the second half. And combined with the predictable roasting and toasting of Leonard Johnson and the Bucs secondary, the Bucs lost decisively but still haven’t lost by more than one score under the New Schiano Order.
Peyton Manning stayed upright and completed 71 percent of his passes. At least that was better than the 80+ percent clip of Matt Ryan last week.
Joe was numb after the painful yet tolerable one-point loss to Atlanta last week, and this week Joe’s again numb after this thumping by one of the NFL’s best in their house. What the hell happened to the offense and Freeman? It was a near complete shutdown for far too long of a stretch.
Joe figured the Bucs would start the game strong, and play damn hard as they’ve done all season. And they did. But it was a confidence freefall after a 10-7 halftime lead, as the Bucs dug an inescapable hole.
Now the Bucs are in a tight corner. Seattle upset Chicago and sits at 7-5, one game ahead of Tampa Bay (6-6) for the final NFC Wild Card spot, and Seattle has a better record in the conference, the critical tiebreaker between the two teams.
The Bucs absolutely have to win out to make the postseason — home for Philly, then at New Orleans, and home for St. Louis before the season finale in Atlanta.
Yeah, the Bucs are good enough to win four straight. But the the odds are darn long.