All right, look, there was plenty of blame to go around in the Buccaneers’ loss to the Panthers. Jameis Winston can still be counted on for one or two really poorly considered throws a game. The defense reliably gets gashed by the run. The very fates are against them, considering what happened with that Ed Dickson touchdown. But the sore thumb, especially after last week, is kicker Kyle Brindza.
The margin of victory was more than the two field goals and one extra point he missed. But those two field goal misses were more about squandered opportunity. They basically tossed away two really good drives at a time when we were only down by 7. A 17-16 game gets the team fired up. It inspires the defense. It gives the offense confidence. It keeps the fans in it. Instead, we got back-to-back letdowns, and after the second miss, Dickson’s fluky 57-yard fumble return and it was 24-10 and, as has been a common refrain, you could feel the air go out of the balloon.
Brindza has now cost us 16 points in two games. And he has almost certainly cost himself his job. It’s not going to suddenly make Winston more accurate or the defense tackle better, but it’s a tangible move that has to be made. A show of faith after last week was understandable; every kicker has an iffy game once in a while. Two weeks in a row? You have to do something. Nobody has confidence in Brindza anymore. Most of all himself.
On the bright side, Winston shows a continued ability to shake of mistakes and keep plugging away. And we had a Doug Martin sighting for what felt like the first time since his rookie season. The Jaguars come to town next week, which feels like a winnable game. Then again, so did Houston, and we all saw what happened there. But we have to go into the bye week at 2-3. Otherwise, yet another season will end in October.