Four downs from inside the 5-yard line.
Four downs of ineptitude after a 95-yard pass play from Josh Freeman to Vincent Jackson.
Four calls which left nobody surprised.
Four running plays against a pass defense which had already showed to be porous.
420 yards for Freeman. But enough of the numbers.
More telling was a ridiculous penalty on a Saints field goal attempt for unsportsmanlike conduct for trying some kind of absurd chicanery to get the field goal team to flinch. Quite reminiscent of bull rushing a kneel.
News flash people: This is not high school or even college football, and you can't win games in the NFL by game planning for one quarter and just expecting a Hall of Fame quarterback to not expose a terrible pass defense.
Eventually the Buccaneers coaching staff is going to have to be able to game plan for professional football games.
There is no doubt the team plays with much more intensity, and the talent has become much more developed under the 2012 coaching staff. But we just saw an interim coach out maneuver the Tampa Bay sideline.
Five yard routes on 3rd-and-7, countless draw plays on first downs, obvious screen-play formations followed by batted down screen-passes, flea-flickers, the same end-around we see almost every week go for two yards. This just is not cutting it Mr. Sullivan.
Does anyone else feel like Mike Shula called those plays at the goal line?
Heck, Cam Newton is not even taking snaps every week. Real NFL quarterbacks can dissect vanilla high school defenses, even if they are semi-talented and playing way over their heads.
Things could go one of two ways in the coming weeks. Either Schiano and company learn quickly on the fly, begin to step on throats when they get the lead and not play soft coverage against the most prolific passers in NFL history, allowing Tampa Bay to compete for a wild-card spot.
Or the overwhelmed Buccaneers coaching staff continues to display an understanding of the NFL rulebook rivaled only by replacement referees, lining up over the center on punts, calling fake cadences on field goals, etc. while also, overestimating their game plan and thinking much more of their pass rush than anyone who watches five minutes of film does.
Continue to preach this ground-and-pound style of offense while the team finally can complete deep passes to multiple players. Ending in a collapse reminiscent of 2011, and Schiano losing his team.
It could be worse.
Mason Foster and Lavonte David are arguably playing the best linebacker Tampa Bay has seen since Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson teamed up.
Mark Barron is making plays that we have not seen from a safety since John Lynch. Ronde Barber, somehow, makes plays when they are needed most.
Michael Bennett is earning a new contract, while Gerald McCoy is making the Buccaneers happy they didn't end up with Ndamukong Suh.
Josh Freeman has been kept relatively clean and is orchestrating big plays. Doug Martin has shown flashes of being a premiere NFL running back.
The free agent acquisitions of Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson look brilliant right about now.
It could be much worse.
But if you noticed, those were players getting mentioned.
Let me reiterate. It is the coaches who need to step up. Aaron Kromer (and Drew Brees) just out coached the Buccaneers staff!
And now they have three days to develop a game plan for Minnesota.