The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their tenth straight game 45-24 to the Atlanta Falcons on New Year’s Day in Atlanta, GA. The game was over at halftime with the Falcons taking a 42-7 into the third quarter. The Bucs scored on a 2 yard touchdown pass to Dezmon Briscoe with 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Tampa Bay’s only other touchdown came on Elbert Mack’s 40-yard interception return against Falcon’s backup Chris Redman in the third quarter. It was too little too late as Atlanta dominated this game in the first half making it impossible for the Bucs to come back from the huge deficit.
The only bright spot for the Bucs was when Ronde Barber started another game for the Bucs on New Year’s Day. Barber now holds the record for the most games played in Buccaneer history after lining up against the Falcons on New Year’s Day. Ronde Barber played in his 225th game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer on Sunday. Barber left the game with an undisclosed injury and his injury status is uncertain at this time. He is undecided if he will come back for another season with the Bucs.
Ten straight losses have turned this season of promise into a season of pain as Tampa Bay struggles to find answers on how things went so wrong so quickly. There are many factors that have contributed to this current losing streak, but the absence of Running back Earnest Graham should not be overlooked. The Bucs were 4-2 coming off an emotional 26-20 win against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on October 16 and prepared for a trip across the Atlantic to play the Chicago Bears. Graham suffered a season ending injury in the Bucs/Bears game played in London on October 23. The Bucs lost that game and have not won since.
Head Coach Raheem Morris has been on the hot seat recently because of this losing streak. The Glazers and GM Mark Dominick are remaining quiet during this difficult time leading to speculation that Morris may be fired now that the season is officially over. The Bucs needed to win against the Atlanta Falcons on New Year’s Day at the Georgia Dome to stop the bleeding but did not come close to stopping the Falcons. A win in the season finale in Atlanta would have helped the Bucs gain momentum going into 2012. That is a tough task for any team much less the Bucs. The Falcons play very well at home and were motivated to win heading into the playoffs. 2011 is behind us and now it is time to look forward to 2012.