Erratic, stagnant, inconsistent. For all but two possessions, the Bucs offense inched along. Aside from their two touchdown drives, the Bucs ran 33 plays and managed only 11 yards. That's 12 inches per play.
"We have to get better," conceded coach Greg Schiano. "We're just not performing at a consistent enough level now. It's not from a lack of effort, a lack of work, a lack of any of that stuff. These guys are laying it on the line, coaches and players alike. We're just not getting the results that we want all the time."
"Going against that kind of team, you just have to be on top of your game and all throughout the course of the game," offered quarterback Mike Glennon.
San Francisco stuffed the run, forcing the Bucs to change course. They did so turning to a no-huddle offense and the change in tempo worked.
The Bucs put together an 80-yard drive before halftime to get on the board. Then they mounted a 92-yard drive, their second longest of the season, to cut the Niners' lead to 6.
"I feel like we just outplayed 'em," said Tim Wright. "Our tempo is something is an ally for us. When we use it, it definitely is something that is something that gets opponents off on their heels and we capitalized on those things."
The problem, time ran out. The Bucs had just two fourth-quarter possessions and held the ball for less than two minutes, running nine plays for eight yards.
"We need to be a better fourth-quarter team," said Davin Joseph. "If we play like that in the fourth quarter, we're not going to win many."
The defense didn't help, couldn't get the Niners off the field in the final quarter. For the first time in five games, the NFL's league leader in turnovers failed to force one.
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