Well, you can’t blame this one on the kicker. 38-33 sounded close, and it was close at the end of the game. But we all watched the disaster in the first half, and we all saw how badly the Bucs got whupped. Still, the worst was yet to come. Jameis Winston is hurt. Now, the Bucs have to deal with adversity.

Most every quarterback in the NFL gets hurt and misses time, so you had to figure it would happen to Winston eventually. So, how will the Bucs deal without their starting quarterback if he can’t play on Sunday? Very good question. I wish I had a very good answer.

It turns out, Winston’s right shoulder is sprained. Officially, he’s day-to-day.  He won’t throw much in practice this week, but he could play in Buffalo. If he can’t, veteran backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the call.

Here’s the deal with Fitzpatrick, from my point of view. He can play, produce, and move the chains. He’s got good career numbers.. 60% completion percentage, over 26,000 yards, 34 more touchdown passes than interceptions.. but it seems when he’s the starting QB for an extended period, he eventually starts throwing interceptions. Now, maybe that’s the case for most backup QBs, but I wouldn’t want Fitzpatrick starting for the rest of the season.The Bucs need Winston back soon, even if he’s still having problems with accuracy.

Head Coach Dirk Koetter said on Monday that his ability to play would probably be based on pain tolerance. If he can suck it up, he’ll play. I wish Koetter hadn’t said that. Now, with the word out that Winston can play if he can deal with the pain should he be incapable...next come accusations that the Bucs’ third-year QB is soft.

And then there’s the coach himself. “I obviously did a horrible job of getting these guys ready to play,” Koetter said immediately after Sunday’s loss.

“That was the worst first half of football I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Not good stuff to hear from the head coach of your football team. He had ten days to prepare the Bucs, and he couldn’t do it. He had ten days to motivate them about the importance of this game, and he couldn’t do it. The Bucs were blown out in Glendale last season, but apparently, none of that sunk in.

So now, the Bucs must deal with adversity.  They got knocked down, hard, and we’ll all watch to see if they can get back up. As the noted wordsmith, Mike Tyson once said... “Everyone has a plan, ‘til they get punched in the mouth.” The Bucs got punched. Can they punch back? Let us know what you think in comments below, and visit our Sports Page for more articles by local sportswriter and 813area Local Contributor Dave Wirth. Subscribe to 813area to stay connected to Sports in Tampa, Things to Do, Events, Restaurants in Tampa and much more. Your subscription is free. Cover photo from the Bucs Facebook page