Very few people actually thought the Bucs could beat Dallas, in Dallas.  And they didn’t.  Like most losses, as with any team, they made too many mistakes.  Turning the ball over 4 times won’t win you a lot of football games.

But what does it show about the 2016 Bucs?

They’re getting closer to being legitimate playoff contenders.  But they’re not there yet.

They’re competitive.  They were leading the Cowboys in the fourth quarter.  Heck, they beat Kansas City, in Kansas City.  But they’re not there yet.  Still too many mistakes.

It’s important to note that they are not officially out of the playoff picture.  But they need help, especially from opponents of the Redskins, who now own the second Wild Card spot.  The Bucs’ fortunes are not in their hands anymore.

Injuries have hurt them again this season, but mistakes still pop up at the worst times, turnovers especially.  Jameis Winston is clearly the leader of this team, the franchise quarterback they’ve been searching for.  But he’s still making some mistakes, he’s still inconsistent.  He still misses open receivers.  You can forgive him since he’s only 22 years old and hasn’t finished 2 complete seasons yet.  I still like his future.

Having said all that, the Bucs have improved from 2 wins just 2 years ago… to 6 wins last season.. to 8 wins so far this season.  That is a turnaround.  And the season finale at home against Carolina in 2 weeks, could be a huge game.

The Bucs are not there yet.
But they’re on their way.

(Cover drawing available free for use on Flickr by Jack Kurzenknabe)