Buccaneers outplayed by the 49ers in 35-7 loss

By Michelle Sabin

Sports Talk Florida

Incomplete passes and penalties hurt the Buccaneers, as San Fransisco’s rookie quarterback led the 49ers to a 35-7 victory. “We coached bad, we played bad . . . simple as that,” said Head Coach Todd Bowles, “in short, we got our asses kicked.”

On the opening play, Buccaneers’ safety Keanu Neal went unblocked off the line and took down quarterback Brock Purdy. Neal drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness and gave the 49ers an automatic first down. 

The series continued and, on 3rd and 7, Purdy converted with a 15-yard pass to tight end George Kittle over the middle. On the next play, running back Christian McCaffrey broke tackles for a 21-yard rush to the 13-yard line.  Purdy pitched the ball to receiver Deebo Samuel who found the end zone with a 13-yard touchdown run.

Tampa Bay started out with a 9-yard rush from running back Rachaad White, under a block from Chris Godwin, and earned a first down with a screen pass to Leonard Fournette. However, pressure from the blitz forced Brady to throw an incomplete pass intended for Mike Evans.  The Buccaneers pieced a few plays together, but turned to kicker Ryan Succop on 4th and 9 from the 37-yard yard line.  It was a 55-yard field goal attempt that went short to the right.  

On their next drive, Fournette opened with a 2-yard rush, before Brady found Evans for what would have been an explosive 68-yard touchdown play.  Brady launched the ball downfield to Evans, who caught it at the 35-yard line and charged into the end zone.  The play was called back for a holding penalty on Donovan Smith at the line, which cost the Buccaneers a much-needed early score. The series ended after an incomplete pass and short rush by Fournette.

“[The penalties] are devastating because we are playing the 49ers and we’re playing the Bucs and you can’t beat two teams,” Bowles explained, “we are beating ourselves and credit to them they beat us as well.”

The Buccaneers defense could not hold off Purdy and the 49ers. On 3rd and 1, Purdy attempted a pass to Tyler Kroft, but Neal grabbed the back of his jersey which drew  a pass interference call and placed the ball on the 1-yard line. The clock took the drive into the second quarter and, with a block from tight end George Kittle, Purdy scrambled up the middle for a 2-yard rushing touchdown. 

Tampa Bay’s offense continued to struggle and went three and out to give the ball right back to the 49ers. It was another productive series for Purdy, who passed for 61 yards, including, on 3rd and 5, a 27-yard touchdown pass to McCaffrey in the end zone. Following kicker Robbie Gould’s extra point, San Fransisco expanded their lead 21-0.

Brady’s final drive of the half produced only two first downs, including a short rush on 3rd and 1 and a 32-yard deep pass down the middle to Godwin into 49ers’ territory. However, they came up short in the red zone after White lost a yard rushing and Brady threw an incomplete pass intended for Godwin. On 4th and goal at the 9-yard line, the Buccaneers offense went for it, but Brady threw an incomplete pass behind Evans.

It appeared Brady would get another shot at the end of the quarter when linebacker Anthony Nelson intercepted Purdy on 3rd and 3. However, a questionable defensive holding penalty on Carlton Davis negated the interception and resulted in 5 yards and a first down for the 49ers. The very next play Purdy threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Aiyuk. San Fransisco led 28-0 at the half.

Buccaneers Deven Thompkins returned the kickoff 54 yards down to the San Fransisco 44-yard line, but the offensive series quickly ended on 3rd down as Brady threw a pass over the middle intended for Evans. The ball was intercepted by safety Tashaun Gipson who returned it 36 yards. The 49ers capitalized on the turnover. McCaffrey rushed for a 38-yard touchdown, as he ran past Logan Ryan and stiff-armed Carlton Davis on his way into the end zone. 

After fighting through the next series, the Buccaneers faced 4th and 4 at the 49ers 38-yard line. Taking the risk, Brady converted with a short pass over the middle to Leonard Fournette.  It appeared momentum was on their side until, on first down, Brady’s pass was tipped and intercepted by linebacker Dre Greenlaw.  Tampa Bay’s defense was able to hold off the 49ers on the next drive and the remainder of the game, but it was too little too late. 

The Buccaneers only scoring drive was during the middle of the third quarter. They found success with a hurry up, no huddle offense and short passes to multiple receivers, including Cade Otton, Cameron Brate, Fournette, White, and Evans. White also rushed for 15 yards over two plays.  However, on 3rd and 9, Brady found Julio Jones who made a leaping catch for 15 yards and the first down at the 8-yard line.  After an incomplete pass to Jones, they lined up for 2nd and goal. 

Brady’s pass deflected off Godwin’s chest, but receiver Russell Gage grabbed the ball just before it hit the ground. Gage bobbled the ball, gained control and fell forward into the end zone for the Buccaneers’ first and only touchdown.

“Every time you take the field, you have the opportunity to get your ass kicked or to kick ass,” Brady said, “and obviously we were on the wrong end of it today, but you got to put the work in and gotta dig deep and keep fighting.”

Tampa Bay lost 35-7 and fell to a 6-7 record on the season. They take on Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals at home on Sunday, December 18.

The videos used in this story were provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Youtube channel.