I really thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have a chance to surprise some people and be a playoff contender this year. I thought they could find a way to steal a few games in their particularly tough division. I especially thought they would take care of business against the hapless New York Jets in Week 1. I clearly underestimated the ineptitude of Josh Freeman.
Freeman was atrocious on Sunday, completing less than 50 percent of his passes for barely over 200 yards against the Jets. There were times when he looked completely lost out there, something just unacceptable out of a now fifth-year player. To make things worse, he was somehow out-dueled for the win by the equally atrocious Geno Smith.
Actually, to make things worse, Tampa Bay continued to find ways to beat themselves.
They handed the Jets five first downs by committing penalties, including the infamous late hit by linebacker LaVonte David that put the Jets in position to kick the game-winning field goal. That last play epitomized how poorly they played all game. Despite what you may have heard the last few days, New York and their rookie quarterback did not look good. They were handed five of the 18 points they scored.
If Tampa Bay didn’t continue to find new and interesting ways to derail themselves, the Jets would have been buried by the third quarter.
That propensity to find ways to beat themselves, combined with the inability of their quarterback to make his team better and lead them to wins, has the Bucs at the top of this list of early-season contenders for the prize of the worst team in the league.
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