The Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored a measly three points in a blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. It marked the sixth time in seven games the Bucs have scored 21 or fewer points this season.
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich acknowledged Tuesday the scoring struggles can't continue.
"People want to see points on the board," Leftwich said, via the official team transcript. "People want to see what we've been used to, what we've done since we've been here. You're not beating [anybody] in this league scoring three points, right? Let's just be honest, you're not beating a soul -- not a team in this league -- scoring three points. We know we've got to be better as an offense, as a whole.
"When you're scoring three points and you are who we are, it's collectively -- it's everywhere across the board. We've got to coach it better, we've got to play it better, we've got to have awareness in situation football -- all those things that really matter that we've been so good at in the past. We've got to get back to what we've done in the past. You can't execute [at] a high level unless you're playing with a certain type of awareness, a certain type of focus, and understanding of what that down is going to bring to you. We've got to be better across the board."
The Bucs have scored 17.7 points per game, tied for 26th in the NFL through seven weeks. Tampa is averaging more than four fewer points than Tom Brady's previous full-season-low points per game (2003 Patriots averaged 21.8).
The issues are pervasive. Interior line injuries have left the blocking wanting; the run game is atrocious, netting under 50 rush yards three times this season, most in the NFL; and the passing game has been wonky, with Brady and his weapons seeming to live in different area codes at times.
Difficulty escaping pressure and less separation from his receivers have led to a more conservative approach from Brady and an inefficient quick attack. Brady's 44.6 percent open target rate in 2022 is his lowest since joining Tampa, per Next Gen Stats.
Getting the ball out quick has alleviated some of the pressure, but Brady has struggled when the defense gets in the backfield. The QB is 12-of-42 passing under pressure in 2022, a league-low 28.5 percent.
Brady hasn't been his usual efficient self and missed more passes than we're used to seeing, but Leftwich said it's a group struggle -- not just on the QB.
"I don't want to put it on him. That's us, collectively," he said. "We scored three points -- that's never one person. When you're scoring three points -- it's unusual for us, too, to score three points in the ballgame. When you're scoring three points, that's collectively, that's everyone, that's coaches, that's players. That's how we view that. We view [it as] we all have got to be better and I believe we will be."
Brady and the Bucs take on a Baltimore Ravens defense Thursday night that ranks 26th in passing yards allowed and 21st in scoring this season. It's a chance for TB to get back on track in prime time.