Todd Bowles not surprised by Buccaneers’ poor record


Head coach Todd Bowles isn’t stunned his Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 6-7 heading into this Sunday’s home game against the 9-4 Cincinnati Bengals. 

“It’s not a surprise,” Bowles responded Friday when asked about the club’s mark, per the Buccaneers’ website. “You are what your record says you are. You wish you could have played better, but we’re 6-7. We’re still fighting for something and that’s the goal. You’re not going to look back unless you don’t achieve the goals. Our goals are still in front of us so we’re going full-steam ahead.”

Bowles is right in that the first-place Buccaneers still control their playoff fate. The 5-8 Carolina Panthers, 5-8 Atlanta Falcons, and 4-9 New Orleans Saints all trail Tampa Bay in the NFC South standings ahead of the weekend. 

Bowles offered his comments less than a full week after NFL insider Michael Silver reported that Tom Brady “makes tweaks” to game plans in meetings that occur the night before a contest without any input from the team’s coaching staff. Bowles and Brady both brushed that story aside this week, but neither can ignore the fact that ESPN stats show the 45-year-old signal-caller ranks 31st among qualified players with an average of 6.2 yards per pass attempt this season. 

“It’s been a whole combination,” Bowles said when asked Friday about his team’s struggles with completing big passing plays downfield. “We’ve missed a few, obviously. They’ve got to the quarterback some, they’ve doubled the guy we’re trying to go to. We haven’t extended drives a lot in certain games, getting three-and-outs, so we haven’t had the opportunity to click as an offense on a consistent basis, staying on the field.”

Tampa Bay’s offense has failed to impress throughout the season. The Buccaneers are 28th in scoring with an average of 17.2 points per game, and they’re dead last with an average of 72.9 rushing yards per contest. 

Pro Football Talk’s Myles Simmons mentioned Friday that “anything can happen in January” for a team that has Brady as its starting quarterback. History suggests that’s the case, but there’s no indication even the G.O.A.T. can fix the Tampa Bay offense before the upcoming postseason tournament. 

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