For the most part, Joe enjoyed the FOX presentation today of the Bucs-Browns game. It was the game that made Joe want to jump through a window, not the broadcast.
But Joe couldn’t believe what he was hearing from Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma at one point. Man, these guys were slurping Bucs coach Todd Bowles so badly.
Joe remembers the gutless, losing decision by Bowles. The Bucs led 17-10. Fourth-and-2 from the Browns-37. 7:03 left. Time for the knockout punch to win the game.
Instead, Bowles chose to punt. Unreal! Playing it safe and letting a bad team hang around can come back to bite you. And guess, what? Bowles and the Bucs got chomped by a Great White off Lake Erie (yes, Joe knows sharks cannot survive in freshwater — work with Joe here, huh?).
After Bowles chose to punt, Albert and Vilma, otherwise excellent broadcasters, went on and on with deep, loving admiration about how Bowles trusts his defense so there was no need to try for a first down and maybe a touchdown to seal a win.
Remember: Todd Bowles trusts his defense.
What a bunch of hogwash!!!
If Bowles really did trust his defense to stop the Browns, then he would have gone for it.
If anything, not trying to win the game told Joe that Bowles did not trust his defense to get a stop and hoped Cleveland, needing to march 95 yards to tie the game, would run out of time.
Can you say, “Backfire?”
Yes, the defense to that point was playing very well, which for Joe underscored how and why the Bucs should have gone for the first down.
But the offense was stuck in a rut (gee, where have you read that before?) and way, way too much was being asked of the defense to bail out the three-and-out Bucs offense. They had to be gassed.
As it turned out they were.
But of course, the coaches, ever vigilant, never noticed this on the sidelines, never trusted that the Tom Brady-led offense against a garbage run defense could get a first down, never imagined the Browns could mount a game-tying score.
Coaching malpractice, indeed.