What a difference a week makes.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appeared to be on the right track, winning three straight before running into a buzz saw on Sunday.
Things were finally going to get better for Tampa Bay.
The more the things seem to be different, the more they're really the same.
A depleted, uninspired and lethargic Bucs teams sulked its way into Candlestick Park and received a thrashing by the San Francisco 49ers, losing 48-3.
It's a difficult task assessing and grading each position after week five, but someone has to evaluate these Buccaneers.
Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman put a nice performance together against the Colts, but did a complete 180 against the Niners on Sunday.
A gradual progression should occur, right?
Consecutive good outings means fans will still have faith. Consistently struggling will soon have the media labeling Freeman a "bust."
And the third-year pro is teetering on that classification this season.
Three touchdowns to six interception—and almost throwing a few more—isn't "elite." It isn't even average. It's plain bad.
It'll be nearly impossible for anyone to justify Freeman's performance if he has another game like he did at San Fran.
Accomplished quarterbacks rebound from awful games, learn when to throw the ball away when prompted and win by any means necessary.
Freeman gets a semi-pass for bringing the Bucs back in every game this season. Well, every game except one.
Can someone quickly put an ABP on one Mike Williams? The Bucs top wide receivers from 2010 has quickly morphed into Michael Clayton 2.0.
Harsh, but true.
Williams has amassed 19 catches for 183 yards on the season, along with a half dozen dropped passes.
Arrelious Benn looks better, but still isn't great. I'll go ahead and say he's not as sharp due to his knee injury from a season ago, but I'm being nice.
Still, three catches for 19 yards against the Falcons is laughable, especially when Benn's supposed to be this great receiving threat.
Preston Parker may be the most consistent receiver on the Bucs roster. Perhaps he's getting looks because Williams and Benn are gathering so much of the attention, or maybe Parker is on his way to becoming a solid number three wide out in the NFL.
It was a matter of time before Kellen Winslow started to get flagged for his temper tantrums after plays ended. He reminds me of a petulant brat who can't stand to be touched.
This unit has declined drastically from a season ago and Williams has to find his 2010 form if this Bucs team is to succeed.
It's tough to place blame on the running back unit. They've been the only offense producing for the Buccaneers.
LeGarrette Blount had 10 rushes for 34 yards and another two catches for 31 yards against the Niners.
Those stats aren't blowing Fantasy points up, but considering the Bucs were playing catch-up the entire game, I'll give Blount credit.
Earnest Graham is still a solid receiver out of the backfield and change-of-pace back.
I like that the coaching staff is getting Kregg Lumpkin in on more snaps, as well as allowing Allen Bradford playing time during Sunday's blowout.
This unit will only continue to get better if offensive coordinator Greg Olson allows it.
The offensive line has given up nine sacks on the season.
That stat can be a bit misleading considering Freeman's inability to make quick decisions as well as his propensity to hold on to the ball for too long on passing situations.
This unit concerned me going into the season, but they have gotten better with each week. This outing against the Niners is something I believe is easily correctable.
It's tough to assess an offensive line when all they're doing is pass blocking for three quarters. I still thought they played well and have played well for the season.
This was a unit that really found its stride the past couple of weeks, but hit a wall against San Francisco.
The front four were overpowered during the run game, and seemed too gassed to rush 49ers quarterback Alex Smith on passing situations.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has hurt his ankle and there is no timetable as of yet for a return. McCoy was playing much better, but that could be due to inferior offensive lines.
San Fran's game plan was just tighter and executed extremely well. They knew how to handle Tampa Bay's defensive line and did so with ease.
I'm compelled to call this past game a slight fluke considering the d-line has been improving, but that can easily change with a similar performance against the Saints this week.
Like the wide receivers, the linebackers have been pretty non-existent.
Strong-side linebacker Dekoda Watson got the start over the injured Quincy Black and performed poorly.
The second-year pro allowed San Fran's opening touchdown.
He also committed a couple of nonsensical penalties, including a "leverage" penalty that ended in a Niners touchdown on the next play.
At least Watson was active, finishing with seven tackles with one for a loss. Mason Foster gets the rookie excuse, but he was no where to be seen.
Geno Hayes needs to step up as the leader of this group and make plays. Bucs fans are getting tired of looking at him get sealed up on a block and watch a runner blow right past him.
The secondary used to be a position of pride in Tampa. Now, they're the team joke.
The Bucs rank 20th in pass defense and have only two interceptions to their name.
Smith could have continued to air it out against the secondary, but why bother? The Bucs run defense was playing so well...
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh called off the dogs and ran the ball instead of potentially getting his only viable starter at quarterback injured. It's not his fault the Bucs defense couldn't slow them down.
Aqib Talib dropped a couple of potential picks. Elbert Mack dropped one in the endzone.
This secondary was abused by the likes of Josh Morgan (who?).
Ronde Barber will forever be a legend in Tampa, but he finally appears old and slow.
Talib has an issue with his temper as well as his stone hands.
Safety Corey Lynch is, well, Corey Lynch.
This position is the biggest concern for the Buccaneers and needs to be remedied immediately.
Oh, Drew Brees comes in this Sunday...