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Grading Tampa Bay’s 16-3 loss

TAMPA — So, will Mark Duffner finish out the year as defensive coordinator or interim head coach?

It was the kind of game that can make your eyes roll back in your head and a season curl into a fetal ball.

In other words, classic 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers football.

The Bucs did what it took and lost to Washington, 16-3. It did not matter that Washington’s offense was decimated by injuries, particularly on the offensive line, or that its defense couldn’t stop a passing game.

It did not matter. The Bucs controlled the horizontal and the vertical, and they chose horizontal, six feet under. The defense played well enough, but it didn’t matter. Washington played it smart behind Alex Smith and 52-year-old Adrian Peterson, waiting patiently for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs to make a gift of it. That they did. Here are the grades:

Repeating: It’s what he does.

The Bucs had 498 yards of offense — and three points. Fitzpatrick did what does. He made people miss. He found receivers. He got the Bucs crowd into it. He teased. He threw for 403 yards. He also threw two bad interceptions and fumbled as he was sacked late in the game. The Bucs didn’t once reach the end zone. What are we doing here, anyway? This thing is over. Put Jameis Winston back in and leave him there the rest of the season. Grade: D.

Red-faced zone

You know how you lose NFL games. Go 0-for-5 in the red zone. That’s what the Bucs did. Two missed field goals, a field goal, a pick, a fumble. All written in big block letters. And we haven’t even mentioned Jacquizz Rodgers, who fumbled when the ball was punched loose from him at the Washington 18, to be recovered by Washington in the end zone. And we were about to say the Bucs should stick with Rodgers the rest of the way. Guess what? They still should. Grade: F

Here’s another way you lose NFL games

The Redskins had four defensive takeaways Sunday. The Bucs had zero, none, the sixth consecutive game in which that has happened. Grade: F

Catanzaro is kaput

Let the tryouts begin. Someone needs to take Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro out for ice cream Tuesday to keep him away from the facility. I vote Bucs GM Jason Licht, who doesn’t need to be involved in this after all the times he has messed up on kickers. It’s time to come to say goodbye to another grand Bucs experiment. Catanzaro, a nice man just three weeks removed from a 59-yard game-winner against Cleveland, effectively ended his future here by missing two field-goal attempts Sunday, one a chip shot, another from 48 yards. Grade: F

Blood on his hands

Bucs center Ryan Jensen has had better days. He was called for holding to slow one Bucs drive, which led to Catanzaro’s first miss. Then Jensen and Fitz combined on the bad snap that pushed the Bucs back and led to Catanzaro’s second miss. Grade: D

All that was missing was a seal horn

As if Kotter did not have a bad enough day, he had the Bucs challenge a play late in the game, but the Bucs were already out of timeouts, so they were penalized 15 yards. Grade: F.

Saving grace

It was Veterans Day. And what American didn’t get a lump in the throat at halftime as 200 young men and women took an oath to serve in military branches. Congratulations to every one of them. You’re our real home team. Grade: A.

Contact Martin Fennelly at [email protected]  Follow @mjfennelly

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