By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – Professional & Tampa Bay Buccaneers

OK, was anyone surprised with the final score of Houston beating Tampa Bay 23-20 at Raymond James Stadium? With WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the shelf, the Bucs were trying to beat a playoff caliber team with a depleted receiving corp.  The Buccaneers hung tough but came up short.

What has most Pewter Pirates fans a little miffed about was the fact that QB Jameis Winston was picked off four times.  To throw salt in that wound, the first interception went all the way to the house to give the Texans an early 7-0 lead.

Now, please understand that I am not a Winston apologist.  When #3 does something wrong, like he did on the 2nd and 3rd INT, I call him out.  Those were definitely in the QB.

In my opinion, the first and last interception were on the route runners.  Both routes were, as we say in the coaching profession, out routes.  The route runner is suppose to cut sharply, at a 45 degree angle, to the sideline.

Both routes were rounded.  That allowed the defender to undercut the terribly run route and make a very easy and routine interception.

The outcome is a shame for the Buccaneers defense.  The charges of DC Todd Bowles did a commendable job in bottling up Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins and the rest of the playoff bound Houston offense.

Below are the feelings of HC Bruce Arians to my queries about the outcome of the game.  One thing about the King of the Kangol, he gives you a straight answer to the questions you ask as you will see.

LH : Arguably, you most dependable receiver is Cameron Brate.  Were you the most surprised person that he dropped the fourth down pass?

BA : He was probably more surprised. We were in field-goal range and had a chance to go and win the game, so that was a big one. We had touchdowns wide open that were going off finger tips all day.

LH : I can imagine that DC Todd Bowles must have preached to his defense to keep QB Deshaun Watson in the pocket and not escape to extend plays.  Is that an accurate assessment?

BA : We let him out a couple times, especially to his right. That was the plan, not to let him out to his right. But, we tried to get some sacks and he beat us.

LH :  In your mind, was that a fumble by the Texans that was recovered by Lavonte David?

BA : It was ruled dead.  Forward progress was stopped, so I couldn’t challenge.

LH : Did you get an explanation on why your challenge of no pass interference being called was denied?

BA : That the ball and defender got there at the same time.  They must have been looking at a different tape than me.

LH : It seems that one of Winston’s drawbacks is that he doesn’t manipulate the defenders with his eyes.  Is that the case?

BA : No, not at all. He actually does it too much. He tries to look safeties off too much and it costs him a couple completions where he’s looking off instead of getting his eyes on who he’s throwing to.

So, that takes us to the finale.  Can Tampa Bay find a way to sweep Atlanta this weekend at the RayJay?  Check out my GOAL LINE STAND column later this week for my four keys to victory.  Enjoy.

All pictures courtesy of our photo-journalist Steve Jacobson.