BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hung tough with a playoff team once again, but couldn't make enough plays in the second half to secure a victory for the second consecutive week.
Putting together complete games has become the Bucs' stumbling block this season, as have self-inflicted wounds and a lack of production in the red zone. These issues could very well cost coach Dirk Koetter and his staff their jobs, as the Bucs have fallen to 5-9 with two games remaining.
When asked what he told his team after Sunday's loss, Koetter said: "Everybody in there is a pro, and we're all paid to do a job. We've got to finish it out."
The Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, has retained only one head coach after back-to-back losing seasons: Jon Gruden, the same coach who brought them a Super Bowl. The Glazers have shown little patience for losing in the past. Under Koetter last season, the Bucs went 5-11 following a 9-7 season in 2016.
Bucs players, including six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, have grown increasingly frustrated. McCoy's frustration is not at Koetter specifically, but in playing for his fourth head coach and having never made the playoffs.
"Hangin' in there ain't good enough," McCoy said. "You've gotta win."
Had a handful of plays gone differently Sunday and had players not missed a couple of tackles on quarterback Lamar Jackson, this team would be enjoying a win with two games remaining in the season. Had the defense gotten off the field on third-and-7 instead of allowing Jackson to find Mark Andrews for a 17-yard gain, Gus Edwards wouldn't have scored on a 10-yard run to put the Ravens up 17-9.
"They did some stuff we didn't see on film," said linebacker Lavonte David, who called plays on defense. "It just got us out of our rhythm. You have to give them credit. They are a great football team. We just have to make adjustments and execute."
Back on offense, the Bucs managed just three points in the second half. They have scored 10 total points in the second half of games since Week 12.
"We can't seem to get out of our own way almost," tight end Cameron Brate said. "You can't really pinpoint one thing or one play, one player or anything like that. Until we find a way to either not make those critical errors or find a way to get over them, we're gonna continue to struggle to win games."
Following cornerback Josh Shaw's recovery on a muffed punt at the Baltimore 14 in the third quarter, the Bucs could manage only a field goal. An offensive pass-interference call on Mike Evans pushed Tampa Bay back to the Baltimore 23, setting up a second-and-19 before Jameis Winston and Chris Godwin failed to connect on third-and-5.
"Talentwise, we know we're up there. Top to bottom, we have great players. But if your great players don't make plays every game, you're not gonna win," Brate said.
Winston was intercepted by Marlon Humphrey at the Tampa Bay 43 in the fourth quarter. Then came a failed third-and-1 in the fourth quarter on a run from Peyton Barber where Barber was pancaked in the backfield for a loss of 3, before Humphrey broke up a Winston-to-Godwin attempt on fourth-and-4 with 7 minutes, 12 seconds to go.
"We had two mental errors ... two different blocking errors on the same play. That was ridiculous that Peyton had a free runner at him, and we had two guys miss assignments," Koetter said.
Those types of mistakes playoff teams don't make, and those have ultimately stood in the Bucs' way of progressing as a team. That's why they're now dealing with the dreaded "P" word that losing teams and their fans have come to hate so much in the month of December: pride.
They're also facing endless, sometimes uncomfortable questions about Koetter's job. Winston, too, is facing questions about his future.
"I know personally that I didn't do a good job for our head coach today," Winston said. "I have to fix myself first. I can't really worry about anyone else. Obviously, I've got 10 other guys out there on the field with me. But I have to execute at a high level to be able to lead by example, for everyone else to execute at a high level."
McCoy wouldn't speak to Koetter's job status, saying that he isn't a decision-maker for the organization, but he promised that players still care and there would be no loafing.
Bucs offensive tackle Demar Dotson added there's concern from everyone.
"It's 'every man for himself' at this moment. I'm not worried about saving Dirk's job -- I'm worried about saving my own."