Tampa Bay Buccaneer Offense Running Low on Fuel?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IDecember 4, 2012

The Bronco defense shut down Doug Martin.
The Bronco defense shut down Doug Martin.Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Two straight losses.

No victories against a team with a winning record.

Nothing but losses against teams with good quarterbacks.

So here we are in December, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost two straight and they find themselves behind the eight-ball with all this playoff talk.

Something's happened the past two weeks and if you've paid close attention, then you should know that this team has issues and the latest culprit is a low-fuel light indicator on the offensive dashboard.

Doug Martin was getting hero worship outside the Tampa Bay community a few weeks ago. Forgive me if I didn't see stuff like this, but weren't there writers anointing him as the next great runner in the NFL?

We are now finding out that this Buccaneer offensive line, a makeshift Chinese fire drill of personnel, is beginning to become what we feared and that's pretty darn ordinary at best.

Martin has been held under 60 yards for two straight weeks and that's what happens when there are no holes. He only needs small holes, but there haven't been any of those, period.

Josh Freeman has paw prints all over him from opposing linemen. You saw the result of stuff like that last week in Denver when he got belted by a 340-pound Bronco and the intended pass fluttered into the eager arms of Von Miller.

It changed the complexion of the game and it was just one of the many third quarter disasters that struck at Mile High.

You're starting to see more penalties. Jeremy Zuttah is struggling at left guard. Ted Larsen at center is who he is, a backup guard. All in all, it's pretty ugly.

While the loss last week wasn't that surprising, what was a surprise was the upset victory by Seattle over the Chicago Bears. That put the Seahawks a game in front of Greg Schiano's troops.

The Seahawks have a pretty friendly schedule over the final four weeks, while the Bucs have a mixed bag. With the Philadelphia Eagles coming into town, maybe it will be a chance for the Bucs to hit the reset button. But the Eagles still have a pretty strong defensive line, which is bad news considering Tampa Bay's weakness upfront.

It wouldn't be far fetched to think the Seahawks can win three of their last four games. That would get them to 10 wins, good enough to beat out the Bucs if Tampa were to indeed run the table, and that's unlikely, isn't it?

With 12 games worth of video in the vault, it looks like those genius opposing defensive coordinators have finally figured out that if you stop Doug Martin, you're going to make it really tough on this offense.

Shut down Vincent Jackson the way Denver did and it gets even worse.

Sneak into the playoffs?

Right now, this playoff run looks more like fantasy than fact.

Still, you want to complain about 6-6?

Just think, this time last year they were 4-8 and falling like a bad stock in a bear market.

The Bucs could still end up 8-8, even 9-7 without too much fantasizing.

And that's a reason to celebrate, isn't it?