The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped to .500 with a second straight home loss Sunday night, falling 41-31 to the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of Super Bowl LV.
Here's what went wrong for the Bucs in Week 4, the few things that went right, and what it means for Tampa Bay moving forward:
What Went Wrong
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When Rachaad White coughed up the opening kickoff, and the Chiefs scored a couple of plays later, it already felt like it was just gonna be one of those nights for the Bucs.
Self-inflicted errors plagued them for the rest of the game, from blown coverages and missed tackles to costly penalties and missed opportunities, to kickoffs out of bounds and predictable play-calling in the early going.
The Chiefs coached better and executed better in all three phases of the game, and Tampa Bay's slow start on both sides of the ball was simply too much to overcome. The Bucs defense couldn't get off the field on third down, couldn't stop the run, and couldn't keep Patrick Mahomes from creating big plays out of thin air when the pocket broke down.
More injuries piled up, including cornerback Carlton Davis III (stinger) and tight end Cameron Brate (concussion). After the game, head coach Todd Bowles told the media that wide receiver Julio Jones got "nicked up" on his one reception, and was held out the rest of the game. Wide receiver Chris Godwin and even quarterback Tom Brady appeared to get banged up, but both played through the entire game.
What Went Right
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
While the defense couldn't keep up the dominant play they exhibited for most of the first three games, the offense finally found some rhythm. Brady completed 30 of his 52 passes for 385 yards and three scores with no interceptions, while Mike Evans led the team with 103 yards on eight receptions, including two of those touchdown tosses from Brady.
The ground game was thrown out the window after the Bucs went down three scores early, but the running backs still contributed heavily through the air. Leonard Fournette caught seven passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, while White tallied 50 yards on five receptions (as well as his first career touchdown on a one-yard run).
The defense did sack Mahomes three times and pick him off once, and did hold the Chiefs to 13 second-half points after giving up 28 in the first half. Mike Edwards led the team in tackles for the second week in a row with 13, and got to Mahomes on a well-timed blitz off the edge.
Ryan Succop nailed all of his kicks, including a 45-yard field goal.
The Bottom Line
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
It's hard to blame Bucs fans for being frustrated after dropping both of their first two home games. Clearly, this team is still a work in progress in every phase of the game, and there's tons of improvement still needed if they're going to compete for a championship.
That said, this four-game gauntlet to start the year was daunting, and coming out of it with an even split isn't the worst thing in the world. If the Bucs can continue to build chemistry with some of the new faces on the roster, smooth out their rough edges in terms of communication and execution, and get a little healthier, there's no reason they can't accomplish every goal set before them.
Losing back-to-back home games is never fun, but it's still just Week 4. The offensive improvements are encouraging, but the run defense has got to get figured out immediately.
It's too early to panic, and there were some reasons to be encouraged Sunday night, as the Bucs still fought to the end, even if it was too little, too late.
Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire