Buccaneers had no offensive rhythm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Guard Carl Nicks was out with a MRSA staph infection. Fullback Erik Lorig sat out with a calf injury. Even the radio system used to call the offensive plays wasn’t working at times.

But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no legitimate excuse for how their offense performed in Sunday’s 18-17 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Yes, there were two touchdowns, but one of them was a gift -- a 5-yard run that came after the defense recovered a fumble. Oh, and there was that 37-yard pass from Josh Freeman to Vincent Jackson that set up what could have ended up being a game-winning field goal.

But that’s where the highlights ended for the Bucs, which was more than a little surprising. Say what you want about Freeman, who is a mystery to many. But the Bucs appear to be loaded at the other offensive skill positions.

“It’s frustrating to everyone because we have good players and we will find a rhythm with this offense but we certainly haven’t found it yet,’’ coach Greg Schiano said.

The Bucs never got into anything close to a rhythm as they managed only 250 yards of total offense. Freeman’s been known to struggle at times, but the fact that the running game was ineffective is far more troubling.

Doug Martin, who had such a big rookie year, averaged only 2.7 yards per carry while rushing 24 times for 65 yards.

“We have a special talent in Doug,’’ Freeman said.

But the Bucs didn’t get as much as they should out of Martin’s talent or the rest of their talent on offense.

“I’d say the next 24 hours (are) going to be rough on everyone,’’ Freeman said. Everybody’s going to be going back, watching the film and critiquing everything they did.’’

The offensive meeting rooms at One Buccaneer Place aren’t going to be a pleasant place on Monday.