Bucs are nonetheless in first place, however they do not appear like a playoff group

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Probably the most unbelievable facet of Sunday’s 35-7 loss to the 49ers is not essentially how completely the Buccaneers had been dominated, as a lot as the truth that they continue to be in first place within the NFC South, even with a 6-7 file.

Being in a foul division means the Bucs may lose their subsequent two video games to the Bengals and Cardinals and nonetheless know that even at 6-9, in a worst-case situation, they’d management their playoff future, capable of win the division by ending with wins in opposition to the Panthers and Falcons.

“It’s all out in front of us. We control how the season goes for us,” tight finish Cam Brate mentioned after the loss. “We don’t have to count on someone else losing games for us to make it to the playoffs, if we just go out and take care of business. We’re in first place right now, but it’s hard to like grasp that really, because the way we’re playing, we don’t feel like we’re playing like a first-place team. We’ve got to figure it out: offense, defense, special teams. We kind of got killed in all these phases today.”

Brock Purdy led the San Francisco 49ers to a dominant victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brock Purdy led the San Francisco 49ers to a dominant victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 378 profession video games over 23 seasons, Tom Brady has solely misplaced two video games by extra factors than he did Sunday in Santa Clara, not removed from his hometown of San Mateo, in opposition to a 49ers group he grew up cheering for. It was simply his second sport right here, however Sunday bore little resemblance to his 2016 win with the Patriots, throwing for 4 touchdowns.

“In short, he got our asses kicked,” coach Todd Bowles mentioned. “We played bad in all phases. We coached bad. We got outcoached. Credit to Kyle (Shanahan) and his guys, they did a great job. We got our ass kicked on offense, we got our ass kicked on defense.”

Issues would possibly worsen earlier than they get higher. Simply because the 49ers have now gained six in a row, the Bucs return dwelling to face a Bengals group that made the Tremendous Bowl final 12 months and has gained 5 straight and 7 of their final eight. 

The Bucs performed Sunday with out their two beginning safeties, with Antoine Winfield (ankle) and Mike Edwards (hamstring) lacking a second straight sport. They might now be with out three different defensive starters who left the 49ers sport with accidents — defensive sort out Vita Vea left early with a strained calf and had his proper foot in a boot after the sport, cornerback Jamel Dean left with a toe damage and had his left foot in a boot after the sport, and outdoors linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka left with a hip damage.

The Bucs have 4 video games remaining and will likely be an underdog at dwelling this week in opposition to the Bengals. Fairly, two wins will get them into the playoffs, however the aim is not simply to make the postseason, it is to take action whereas taking part in the form of soccer you anticipate from a playoff group. Towards that finish, Bowles mentioned there must be an urgency for his group to determine what sort of squad they are surely.

“We have to decide what kind of team we want to be,” he mentioned. “We can’t be one set of Bucs and another set of Bucs. It has to mean something. We have a one-game lead with four games to go. Either we want it or we don’t. As a coach, you don’t go on the field, but we definitely got out-coached, so we are not excused from this at all. But we got outplayed as well. So as a team, as a group, we have to buckle down and we have to decide what our fate is in the next few weeks.”

The Bucs’ drawback is with every loss, they add to the motivation of the Panthers and Falcons, reminding them they nonetheless have one thing to play for regardless of a file that should not result in any postseason competition. Atlanta has misplaced 4 of 5 video games and is switching to rookie Desmond Ridder at quarterback, dealing with the Saints and Ravens on the street for his first two begins. Carolina has gained three of 4, however would wish to beat a sizzling Lions group that has gained 5 of six video games in two weeks to maintain the highest of the division shut.

Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt discuss Brock Purdy’s first career start at quarterback for the 49ers against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt focus on Brock Purdy’s first profession begin at quarterback for the 49ers in opposition to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Brady threw two interceptions on Sunday, after totaling three within the first 12 video games of the season. In principle, the Bucs ought to get proper sort out Tristan Wirfs again from damage within the subsequent two weeks, which can assist the offensive line give Brady extra time within the pocket. The 45-year-old is dealing with the potential of ending with a dropping file for the primary time in 21 seasons as a starter, and doubtlessly lacking the playoffs for the primary time since 2002.

“Everyone’s got to play better,” Brady mentioned. “We just have not played consistently well very often. We haven’t played it for four quarters. We’ve played it a little bit, at times. Not today at all. Some games, we’ve played well for five minutes and don’t play well for 55 minutes. Some games, we play pretty well for a half. We have not played consistently well for a game.”

The window to show issues round, to begin trying like a first-place group as a substitute of merely being a first-place group, is closing quick. One other loss, and the remainder of a foul division begins to search out confidence once they see the identical standings. The smallest measure of success for this Bucs group can be a division title, no matter file, realizing there is a dwelling playoff sport that comes with it and no matter that results in.

“It’s just disappointing,” defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches mentioned. “They executed, and we just fell apart. It’s not our standard, it’s not typical … It’s just frustrating. You tip your hat to them, but for us, it’s very disappointing.”

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Greg Auman is FOX Sports activities’ NFC South reporter, overlaying the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He’s in his tenth season overlaying the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having hung out on the Tampa Bay Instances and The Athletic. You may comply with him on Twitter at @gregauman.

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