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: December 10, 2007, 08:56:46 PM

Final: 28 – 14 Texans

Key Stats
3rd down conversions for Houston – 10/17
Passing 1st downs – 17
Passing TD's – 3

The defense had a rough game against the Texans and didn't catch many breaks. Just about every time the offense seemed to be getting some momentum the defense was forced right back onto the field by mistakes. Right when the defense would make a play, something countered that very play and stole the momentum back for Houston. The team had problems in coverage and in the pass rush. Kiffin did not have his best game as a coach and refused to send blitzes to make Rosenfels make a decision with pressure in his face. A career backup was allowed to look like a perennial pro bowler for a full game, and the defense had nothing but blanks to fire back at him. Lack of effort, energy, and focus seemed to be things that plagued this defense on a day that Houston dominated on third down, and drove up and down the field. A disappointing team performance from this defense and the team.

Defensive Line
As you here any good mind in football say, the game is won and lost in the trenches on every play. This could be the case yesterday as the defensive line and defense put forth a lack luster effort. Both defensive ends, Greg White and Gaines Adams were consistent fixtures in the backfield of the Texans on Sunday, and both were in QB Sage Rosenfels face consistently, this was backed up by 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles from White, and many pressures from Adams. As the game went on these two become much more effective, however the middle of the defensive pass rush really let the entire defense down.  It's hard to pick out who was more disappointing between Hovan and Haye but from my view Hovan had very little impact in this game than any other player on the line. This showed up with NT Ryan Sims entered the game and played much better than Hovan. Hovan had trouble making plays in the pass rush, and struggled against double teams in this game, he definitely did not seem his usual fiery self. Haye probably would be right on the level as Haye in this game if he hadn't been around the ball recovering another 2 fumbles in this game. Haye again disappeared in the pass rush, being held under control for the entire game. Had Haye given a more consistent rush the defensive line would have faired much better, and both Greg White and Gaines Adams would have had even better games. The defensive tackles took a step backwards with this game, and hopefully they can right that next game.  At least one of the few positives for this defense came from this defensive line, and that was the play of White and Adams, being the only real playmakers for this game.

Line Backers
The line backers played a rough game against the Texans and were a group that Houston decided to pick on consistently throughout the contest. Houston's game plan was to pick apart the "Tampa 2" underneath, and it worked. Houston consistently lined up receivers, backs, and TE's inside and got the match up against the line backers. The backers did their best to stay with much quicker players but alas to no avail. Barrett Ruud has seemed to hit a wall, he was barely visible during the game, and made no plays to really help the team gain some momentum. I accredit this to Ruud hitting a wall in his game. He is playing tired, and rightfully so, after a couple years of seeing limited to no action Ruud has been thrust into the starting lineup and plays consistently every down. This seems to be taking it's toll on Ruud's play, I do however expect him to pick this up when he body catches up to his pace. Derrick Brooks had a solid but unspectacular game. Brooks was the clear target of the Houston attack, they managed to get players matched up on him all day and it paid dividends. Brooks in this stage of his career is simply not the coverage man that he once was; even his savvy veteran tactics could not help him against the likes of Andre Johnson and co. How Monte allowed Brooks to end up one on one against Andre Johnson is beyond me, but it happened on more than one occasion. Cato June continued his solid yet spark lacking play on Sunday. June finished the game with 7 tackles and nothing that really stood out. I would really like too see June become more of a play maker in this scheme, it is perfectly designed for his skill set, and yet he is always the second or third person to the ball, which does give him fumble recoveries and assisted tackles, but the defense would really benefit if he become a playmaker, something that he is more than capable of doing so. The Linebackers as a whole did decent, but they were picked on all day by the Texan offense and it showed, the one thing they can hang on their wall is the fact that they held the rushing attack down very well, but that doesn't really matter when the pass worked like it did.

Defensive Backs
The secondary of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday were embarrassed, of course you can't completely blame a secondary when there is no pass rush helping. The thing that baffled me about the play of the secondary on Sunday was the fact that they consistently allowed Houston receivers to get off the ball cleanly without ever pressing them and throwing off the timing of the passing game. This can be accredited to a verity of things, such as down, distance, and the scheme called, however there were times that the calls not to press were very curious. In one situation it was 3rd and 3, corner back Brian Kelly started out pressing WR Andre Johnson, but before the snap of the ball he dropped off to 7 yards, Andre Johnson caught the pass at the line of scrimmage and he easily got the first down with Kelly not being close enough to even slightly stop the route, very disappointing coverage. Corner back Ronde Barber was beat a few times on passes across the middle, mostly on drags, not completely his fault as he was picked more than once, a call that is rarely made by an NFL Referee. On those routes the Line backers can also be put to blame by being out of position to help out. Barber a usual playmaker for the team did not really add anything to the defense on Sunday, and didn't help the defense get back any momentum. The corner backs were in poor position against Houston's short "take what you are given" passing game, because of this the Texans got what they wanted and performed the game plan well.  The safeties were a non-factor in this game as Houston never took a shot deep, this could have been due to exceptional coverage down field or due to Houston's well designed game plan. One thing I did notice is Jermaine Phillips reverted back to his old "throw a shoulder into him and hope he falls" tackling style of last year. This caused him to miss a few tackles, I don't expect this trend to continue because most of these tackles came later on in the game where Jermaine seemed to be just trying to make a big play with a fumble forcing big hit, can't blame him for at least trying to be a playmaker for a secondary that lacked playmakers on this day. The secondary needs to be more physical if they want to regain that playmaking ability that they lacked in this game.

Read Offense Breakdown

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Pewter Report  >>  Boards  >>  The Red Board (Moderators: 3rd String Kicker, PRPatrol)  >>  Topic: Bucs vs Texans Breakdown « previous next »

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