The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had quite a roller-coaster season on the offensive side of the ball. For one, the reigning NFC South champions continue to have a difficult time converting crucial third downs.
The Buccaneers head into their upcoming Week 15 home matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals ranking at 21st in the NFL in third down conversion percentage with a 38.1 percent mark. In their blowout road defeat to the San Francisco 49ers, they converted a mere 25 percent of their third downs, as Tom Brady and company struggled time and time again to move the ball downfield in the contest.
For Brady, the Buccaneers’ woes on third downs is one major issue that the team must resolve in the coming weeks, although the veteran quarterback sees that there is also room for improvement across the board for the offense.
“I think everything’s been a problem,” Brady said during a press conference ahead of Tampa Bay’s Week 15 clash with Cincinnati. “We haven’t scored a lot of points this year. Third down, turn the ball over, third-and-shorts, third-and-mediums haven’t been great, red area hasn’t been great. … But we’re trying to work to get better at everything, and a lot of it comes down to what you do on first down. [That] creates better opportunities on second down and vice versa on third down. Being good on early downs is helpful about being good on third downs.
“The better you do on third downs, the more likely you are to get into the red area, and once you get into the red area you’ve got to score points. I’m sure there’s not a lot of statistics that are great right now.”
In the big picture, Tampa Bay is in dire need of a winning streak at this point in the campaign. The NFC South powerhouse currently holds a lowly 6-7 record, and both the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons are still very much in the race for the top spot in the division.
Brady and the Buccaneers will close out regular season play with divisional showdowns against the Panthers and the Falcons in the coming month.