Shit hit the fan, and the Bucs still won

Happy new year.

click to enlarge After today’s win against New York, Bruce Arians simply said that Brown is 'no longer a Buc.' - TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After today’s win against New York, Bruce Arians simply said that Brown is 'no longer a Buc.'
What a way to ring in the new year, eh?

A really close game, with a game-winning drive by TB12 to cap off the biggest comeback of the season for the Bucs, leaving Tampa Bay still in the race for the first seed in the NFC after beating the Jets on the road 28-24.

Before we get into the actual game, let’s discuss the biggest event of the afternoon.

Antonio Brown took off his uniform and equipment in the middle of the third quarter and left Sunday afternoon’s game. He ran off the field and never returned.

If you ask anyone who doesn’t view a person’s talent on the football field as a judgement of character, you saw something like this coming.

He’s got the sexual assault case that was settled in 2021. He had the weird falling out with both the Steelers and Raiders, plus of course the fake vaccine card.
Bruce Arians famously said AB was on a short leash when the Bucs first signed AB (“He screws up one time, he’s gone” was the direct quote from Peter King’s interview with BA). Of course, coach went back on his word by allowing Brown to return despite the fake vaccine card incident that resulted in a 3-game suspension for the wide receiver. Arians told reporters that he doesn’t “give a shit what they think" about his decision to let Brown back in the locker room.

After today’s win against New York, Bruce Arians simply said that Brown is “no longer a Buc.” I guess all of Brown’s other transgressions were OK, but running off the field in the middle of a game is where the Bucs draw the line. Good to know.
Now to the game. The Jets are one of the worst teams in football, especially offensively, and yet the Bucs allowed rookie QB Zach Wilson to pick them apart for 234 yards and a TD with no interceptions. Wilson is a guy who threw four interceptions against the Patriots this season.

I get that Bucs linebacker Lavonte David is out, and this defense isn’t known for being elite against the pass, but my goodness, to not force a rookie to commit any turnovers as a defending Super Bowl champ? Atrocious.
But the Tampa Bay offense was dealing. Tom Brady is the GOAT for a reason, with a tremendous overall game where he racked up 410 yards passing and three TDs, plus he was able to lead the Bucs down the field with two minutes left in the game, and no timeouts for a touchdown to win. The offensive line played absolutely fantastic, giving Brady plenty of time to pick apart the defense.

Brady looked so in control on that last possession, and the Jets looked like, well, the Jets. Brady’s been tormenting that team his whole career, and he was able to continue that tradition Sunday afternoon.

But despite the Bucs winning the game in miraculous fashion, that will not be the story or the thing that everyone remembers. Brown walking off the field is what will be remembered, and that dark cloud will likely follow this team for a while, something a team trying to win another Super Bowl does not need.

So… yeah. The Bucs are now in full-on implosion mode, with guys getting injured, guys quitting in the middle of games, and any chance of repeating as Super Bowl champs dwindling. Don’t let the Bucs sneaking out of New York with a win against a now 4-12 Jets team fool you. This might have been a win, but bigger picture, it was really a loss.

Couldn’t have happened to a more upstanding organization.
Follow @ctbrantley12 on Twitter. Support, free-to-read local Bucs coverage, and please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow @cl_tampabay on Twitter.