The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't a bad team before Sunday. They just hadn't been good either.
On Sunday, they were bad.
The Buccaneers fell to 3-3 and the third loss is hard to explain. The Pittsburgh Steelers had multiple defensive backs out, lost quarterback Kenny Pickett to injury during the game, and still won 20-18. The Steelers had lost four games in a row before that. A loss like that brings into question where this Buccaneers season is headed.
Their coach seems to be wondering about that.
Todd Bowles was critical of his team after the loss, saying that anyone still living off the Super Bowl win two seasons ago is "living in a fantasy land."
Here's Bowles' full quote: "We didn't take them lightly, number one. Number two, I think guys who are living off the Super Bowl are living in a fantasy land, and you gotta get your hands dirty and go to work like everybody else. We've been working hard. We've got to work harder, because nobody's going to give us anything or feel sorry. So we gotta go back as coaches, as players, and the time for talking is over. You've either got to put up or shut up."
However Bowles meant it, the message is clear that whatever the Buccaneers are doing isn't working well enough.
The Buccaneers have plenty of star players but they have been uneven all season, especially on offense. Early in the season they had excuses, with multiple players out due to injury. The offense is reasonably healthy now and still struggling. It did very little against a Steelers team without its top three cornerbacks and All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. They also were without reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt. An offense with Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette should feast on a defense missing that many key players. Instead, they had a very average 304 yards and 18 points in a miserable loss.
There's still plenty of time left in the season. But the Super Bowl glory of a couple seasons ago seems long gone. Bowles made sure to let the Buccaneers know that Sunday.