Friday, June 2Welcome

The Bucs are still in first place, but they don’t look like a playoff team.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The most incredible aspect of Sunday’s 35-7 loss to the 49ers wasn’t necessarily just how utterly dominated the Buccaneers were, even though they were leading the NFC South by 6 as much as the fact that -7 records.

Being in a bad division means the Bucks could lose the next two games to the Bengals and Cardinals. Beat the Panthers and Falcons.

“It’s all in front of us. We are in control of how the season unfolds,” tight end Cam Brett said after the loss. “You don’t have to count on someone else losing a game to make it to the playoffs. It’s hard to understand, because the way we play doesn’t feel like we’re playing like the #1 team. It won’t be: offense, defense, special teams. All of this kind of killed us. Today’s phase.”

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

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

In 378 career games over 23 seasons, Tom Brady has lost only two games in Santa Clara, not far from his hometown of San Mateo, with more points than he lost on Sunday against the 49ers team he grew up with. It was his second game here, but Sunday bore little resemblance to his 2016 victory over the Patriots, throwing four touchdowns.

“Basically, he kicked our asses,” said coach Todd Bowles. And his players, they did a great job, we got kicked in the butt on offense and we got kicked in the butt on defense.”

Things can get worse before they get better. The Bucs are back at home as the 49ers won his sixth straight and will face his team, the Bengals, who made it to the Super Bowl last year, winning five in a row and winning seven of their last eight.

The Bucks played without two starting safes on Sunday as Antoine Winfield (ankle) and Mike Edwards (hamstring) missed their second straight game. Without his starter, his three other defensive defenders left his 49ers game with injuries. rice field. Putting his left foot in the boot after the game, outside linebacker Joe Tryon Soyinka left with a hip injury.

The Bucks have four games to go and will be the underdogs at home against the Bengals this week. Naturally, two wins will get them into the playoffs, but the goal is not only to reach the postseason, but to achieve that while playing the kind of football expected of a playoff team. Heading out, Bowles said he urgently needed to decide what kind of team his team really was.

“You have to decide what kind of team you want to be,” he said. “We can’t be one set of Bucs and another set of Bucs. It has to mean something. We’re one game ahead with four games to go. Either you want it or you don’t. As a coach, you say, ‘We’re not going on the field, but we were definitely coached. So this is totally unacceptable. As such, we will have to give in. The next few weeks will decide what our fate will be.”

The Bucks’ problem lies in their respective losses, motivating the Panthers and Falcons and reminding them that despite a record that shouldn’t lead to postseason contention, they still have something to play for. Lost four of five games and switched quarterback to rookie Desmond Ridder, the first two games are against the Saints and Ravens. Carolina has won 3 of his 4 games, but in two weeks he will have to beat the hot Lions his team, who have won 5 of 6 games, to stay at the top of the division.

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

Brady threw two interceptions on Sunday after a total of three interceptions in the first 12 games of the season. An offensive line should help give Brady more time in the pocket. The 45-year-old faces the possibility of his first loss in his 21st season as a starter and could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

“Everybody has to play better,” Brady said. “We often don’t play well consistently. We haven’t played in four quarters. Sometimes we played a little bit. We didn’t play at all today. In some games, we played five minutes well.” We didn’t play well for 55 minutes. In some games we played pretty well for the half. We haven’t played well consistently for games.

The opportunity to turn things around and look like the #1 team instead of just the #1 team is fast approaching. Another loss, and the rest of the bad divisions begin to feel confident when they see the same standings.

“It’s just disappointing,” defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches said. “They did and we fell apart. It’s not our norm, it’s not typical… it’s just frustrating. You put your hat on them, but for us It is very disappointing.”

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Greg Auman is FOX Sports’ NFC South reporter covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He entered his 10th season covering the NFL full-time with the Bucks, Tampa Bay he spent with The Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter. @gregauman.

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