The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered their fourth consecutive loss on Thursday night, falling to the Buffalo Bills with a final score of 24-18. The score might suggest that the Buccaneers were closer to victory than the game’s progression indicated. Offensively, the Buccaneers struggled for most of the game, only finding their rhythm well into the fourth quarter, ultimately falling short on a Hail Mary attempt as time expired. Among those who observed the game, including Buccaneers’ fans, there were questions raised about some of the head coaching decisions made by Todd Bowles.
Following the loss, Bowles addressed one of these decisions: the choice not to go for it on fourth and three on Buffalo’s side of the field with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
Facing a fourth and 3 from the Buffalo 41-yard line and with under 30 seconds on the clock, the Buccaneers had several options. They could have accepted the delay of game penalty and punted (which they did), attempted a roughly 58-yard field goal, or gone for it to position themselves better for scoring while risking Buffalo getting the ball in favorable field position. The critical factor was the time remaining. With just under 20 seconds left, even if the Buccaneers had run a play and failed to secure the first down, the Bills would have had a significant challenge in setting up a scoring opportunity before halftime. At that point, the score was 17-10, and the Buccaneers were still competitive. Even if the Bills had regained possession, the most they could have achieved was positioning themselves for a field goal to add three more points, which wouldn’t have been disastrous with the Buccaneers trailing by just ten points at halftime.
Instead, Bowles opted for a conservative approach, which ultimately yielded no significant outcome. Going forward, Buccaneers’ fans, as well as the team’s coverage and the NFL community, will be scrutinizing Bowles for better results, as the pressure on him intensifies with each passing week.