SEATTLE — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ young secondary — the one head coach Bruce Arians declared was “fixed” this summer — continues to hold them back. The unit struggled in man coverage on Sunday, surrendering a 21-13 halftime lead to the Seattle Seahawks in what eventually would be a 40-34 loss in overtime to fall to 2-6 on the season.
Rookie cornerback Jamel Dean, in for an injured Carlton Davis, surrendered a 29-yard completion to DK Metcalf on third-and-6 in overtime. And safety Jordan Whitehead allowed Jacob Hollister to cross the goal line for the game-winning score two plays later. Dean also missed a tackle on Metcalf in the middle of the field with 35 seconds left in regulation — before Seattle’s Jason Myers would miss a potential game-winning field goal attempt — and allowed a 53-yard catch with 4:43 left for a touchdown. Both came on crossing routes.
The Bucs surrendered 105 rushing yards to Chris Carson, including a gashing 59-yarder, setting up a touchdown strike from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett and a 2-point conversion to Metcalf to make it 21-21. Lockett caught 13 of 18 targets for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while Metcalf caught 6 of 9 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. They became the seventh and eighth players this season to have more than 100 receiving yards against the Bucs — tied with the Arizona Cardinals for most in the NFL.
The Bucs have drafted six defensive backs in the last two years and despite some excitement over multiple interceptions in training camp, they appear no closer to turning around what’s been the league’s worst secondary since 2010.
QB breakdown: After throwing two interceptions and losing the football on a botched QB-center exchange last week, Winston had a near-perfect game, going 29-of-44 passing for 335 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But then in the fourth quarter, he lost a fumble that Seattle’s Rasheem Green recovered and returned to the Tampa Bay 15, setting up a 22-yard field goal from Myers to make it 27-24 in favor of Seattle. Winston was able to lead a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game with 3:39 to play.
Key stat: The Bucs became the first team in the league this season to score at least 21 points in the first half on the road and lose, according to ESPN Statistics & Information data. Prior to today, NFL teams were 16-0 when scoring 21 points on the road in the first half of games.