The Buccaneers tried to cover up three quarters of offensive ineptitude Sunday against Minnesota, but a late Vikings drive followed by a fumble recovery taken in for a touchdown in overtime doomed Tampa Bay once again.
Not long after tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins hauled in his first professional touchdown with 2:02 remaining to give the Bucs their first lead of the day at 13-10, the rookie fumbled away the game in overtime. Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr jarred the ball loose after a 10-yard catch-and-run, then scooped it up and ran 26 yards into the end zone.
That last play officially dropped Tampa Bay to 1-6 on the season and 0-4 at home. Considering how the first three quarters went, it’s surprising the Bucs managed to keep the game as close as they did.
Minnesota held a 10-0 lead heading into the fourth and a 223-97 advantage in total net yards at that time. The Bucs went five straight series spanning from the second into third without recording a first down but managed to keep the game close.
“We went five series three-and-out … that’s hard to get any type of rhythm,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said. “Part of it of course was them, most of it was us. Offensively, third downs really killed us.”
Despite focusing on third-down offense throughout practice this week, Tampa Bay converted just one of its 12 opportunities Sunday. The Bucs moved into Minnesota territory once in the first three quarters and their most promising drive was the game-opening series that abruptly ended with an ugly Mike Glennon interception. The second-year quarterback rolled right, held onto the ball too long and essentially threw up a jump ball that Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn came down with.
One of the lone bright spots prior to Tampa Bay’s late, go-ahead drive was kicker Patrick Murray. The strong-legged rookie booted field goals on consecutive fourth-quarter drive from 54 and 45 yards, respectively, that kept hope of a comeback alive.
Bucs fans really had something to cheer for when Glennon, who finished with 171 yards on 19 of 28 passing, engineered the nine-play, 71-yard touchdown march that put Tampa Bay on top. That sequence included a successful fourth-and-1 rush by Mike James from the Minnesota 8 that set up Seferian-Jenkins’ 7-yard scoring grab.
Proving problematic for the Bucs, though, was that Minnesota still had 2:02 left to go for the win or the tie. Vikings rooking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took over from the Minnesota 20 and managed to complete 5 of 8 pass attempts to set up a 38-yard field goal attempt for Blair Walsh.
Tampa Bay missed a huge opportunity to seal the win during that aforementioned drive when cornerback Johnthan Banks jumped Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson’s route on the left sideline but dropped the potential interception.
With or without converting that pick, the defense needed to keep Minnesota out of scoring range, Smith said.
“Defensively we played better at times, but at the end when you have a lead you’ve got to be able to close it out – especially at home,” he said.
Tampa Bay allowed Bridgewater to complete 24 of 42 passes for 241 yards and a 17-yard, third-quarter touchdown to receiver Greg Jennings.
Bridgewater entered the game having been sacked 13 times in the past two games but the Tampa Bay pass rush again failed to generate much pressure. Defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald split a first-half sack, but that was it for quarterback takedowns. The Bucs managed to hit Bridgewater five times, an improvement from the zero hits on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco two weeks ago.
Also underperforming Sunday afternoon was the Tampa Bay running attack. The Bucs finished with 66 yards on 23 attempts, with Doug Martin pacing the group with only 27 yards on 10 carries. Another running back, backup Bobby Rainey, did lead the Bucs with six receptions for 41 yards. Receiver Mike Evans led in yardage, 78 on four receptions.
Tampa Bay hits the road for a game at Cleveland next Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Sunday’s temperature at game time was 77 degrees, skies were sunny and the announced paid attendance at Raymond James Stadium was 56,577.
Buccaneers reported defensive starters: LE William Gholston, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Clinton McDonald, RE Michael Johnson, SLB Danny Lansanah, MLB Mason Foster, WLB Lavonte David, CB Alterraun Verner, CB Johnthan Banks, FS Dashon Goldson and SS Mark Barron.
Buccaneers reported offensive starters: WR Vincent Jackson, LT Anthony Collins, LG Logan Mankins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, RG Patrick Omameh, RT Demar Dotson, TE Luke Stocker, WR Mike Evans, QB Mike Glennon, RB Doug Martin and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
The only active Bucs player not to enter Sunday’s game was QB Josh McCown.
Tampa Bay’s inactives were QB Mike Kafka, S Keith Tandy, LB Brandon Magee, G Kadeem Edwards, CB Brandon Dixon, T Kevin Pamphile and LB Jonathan Casillas.
Getting an L here is better than getting a win against a bottom 5 team – we need a QB. It will be difficult to beat out Oakland for the top spot, but we need a QB. Badly. Glennon at his best will be a game manager. He’s not a playmaker, he’s had a year and a half at QB and look at his record. His stats are fine because he doesn’t make plays, he doesn’t throw the ball unless the guy is open, he takes sacks, throws it away – yes he avoid INTs generally – but he also avoids Ws through his inept play.
One loss closer to drafting Mariota! The Rams loss earlier in the year could be the difference.
Got to hope Oakland feels good at QB, & gives him a few more years. Maybe they look for DT or LT with the 1st pick.
Agreed Cbrady2k. Glennon is who I thought he were. I’m not going to completely throw him under the bus because he’s played poorly the past two games after playing well against Pittsburgh and the Saints. However, it’s time to get a QB. Tampa has had an NFL franchise since 1976 and we have never, ever really had a QB. It’s time. I don’t care if Glennon or McCown starts the rest of the year, they both stink. Just like I don’t care which RB gets the carries. The difference is this regime spent a 3rd round pick on a RB so Sims may be the future. We don’t have the future on the roster now at QB. I’m sick of hearing about pass rush, O-linemen, pass coverage, head coaching, all of it. Without a QB in today’s NFL, none of that matters.
I disagree with that analysis about the QB. The OL sucked! We can’t even run the ball. Who’s going to protect this franchise QB? You might convince me later our first pick is a QB, but I think it’s too early to make that announcement. Just my opinion. I hope we trade whoever we can by Tuesday. We need lots of draft picks. Coach knows he is handicapped.
I like Glennon too Horse, but he’s not leading this offense to victories. If we’re picking first to third we need someone to inject life into this team. We need to find a franchise Q.B..
It doesnt matter who you have at QB, the Oline is garbage. Never seen such little time for a QB in shotgun before. No running lanes at all, ever! The Oline Coach needs to be fired and we need to draft all lineman both offense and defense next year. Nothing else. I am born and raised here in Tampa in ’75 and watched every single game and never have I seen such disgrace of a football team with soo much talent. Lovie better start showing improvement or the billboards will go up for his head.
Folks I have said for two years that Glennon is a backup quarterback and not our QB of the future. He is good at red zone scoring because of his height but he so rarely can lead his team from the 20 to the red zone that he should be riding the bench. The Defense played well enough to win this game. If Lovie had started Sims and Josh we would have been far enough ahead the Vikes could not have caught up. Even behind a worse line than this Josh ran the ball in for two touchdowns. If the Bucs will just take Mariota next year I can live with this, but Licht’s history is to try not to take a QB with his first pick and so is Lovie’s history too. If L&L blow that opportunity for the second time they won’t make it past next year! Look what a stupid move picking up an enept returner who even fumbled a fair catch that Licht saddled us with. He is supposed to be an expert at evaluating talent but just look how well he did on our LT, C, and LDE! I think he and all the scouts he has hired need to go at the end of this year along with WarFLOP and Frasier.
I agree with your analysis too. I like Glennon too, but he is never going to put a team on his back and win. He must have a perfect offense to win – one that does everything just right.
The problem is that the Bucs are far from that and will rarely be found on most teams. It’s when things breakdown or playmaking is required that he comes up short and appears that is going to continue with him.
The defense played badly too, but they gave him the ball enough times to make something happen. It didn’t and that is probably the case going forward!
I’ve always been hopeful that Glennon could become a legitimate NFL QB for whom defensive coordinators feared; but never saw much from him (other than the 19-9)to convince me that he would be. As many have said, he just doesn’t make plays. He’ll complete three passes and it’s still 4th and 2. The Vikings prevented him from leading the team to the red zone until the 4th quarter. Teams are just stacking the line to stop the predictable 1st down run that gets stoned more often than not. Perhaps if the opponents had more respect for the QB’s ability to make them pay for that strategy the offense would improve.
We can rightfully blame the O-line for much of the issues with the inability to run the ball; but the pass protection was as good as Bridgewater enjoyed. Dietrich-Smith is as soft as Jeff Paine was and now we have a revolving door at RG with Omameh and Gilkey alternating. Interesting that our two O-line rookies and original starter, Cousins are never even activated which makes me question the initial evaluation process.
The problem in this game was all the damn penalties. Heck, the officials could of called even more. These penalties show lack of coaching, lack of fundamentals, and lack of technique (which is a lack of discipline). At least Coach Tomlin, after the Steeler’s game, went ballistic and corrected it. Here, it just the same ol’ same ol’.
Hate to kick a man when he’s down–mostly because I have a bum toe–but Glennon is immobile. He’s a pocket passer in an age where that will lose you a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning has been working all off-season on pocket movement. He looks ridiculous doing it, but it’s working. A mobile QB worst case: extends plays / best case: steals a LB or SS from the defensive movement. Run a TE or RB across the formation and you peel off another defender. It opens up the middle where the rules favor an aggressive offense. That’s the fat & juicy. Why make things so difficult when they don’t need to be?
Everyone wants to dump on Glennon. True, he did make a boneheaded mistake when he threw the interception. However, he finished with a 67% completion percentage and he made a lot of plays despite being under pressure all day long. I have to question the line coaching when the -Oline was clearly confused by the 7 man fronts the defense was showing them. Had Glennon gotten the time that Bridgewater was getting he could have found many more open targets.
Melman for President, somebody else for QB.
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