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October 26, 2012 @ 1:03 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Defensive Game Grades vs. Minnesota

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Bucs defense had three sacks and three takeaways against the Vikings on Thursday night. What type of grade does the defensive line get? What type of grade does Tampa Bay's secondary deserve? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's
defense played against Minnesota in the Bucs' 36-17 victory over the Vikings, and dishes out the game grades for
each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.


Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim recorded his first NFL sack in the second quarter and the first sack by the Bucs in 10 quarters. Te’o-Nesheim also had a big hit on Christian Ponder and finished with three tackles, including a tackle for a loss. Te’o-Nesheim had a great game at Minnesota, perhaps the best of his young NFL career.

Da’Quan Bowers saw his first action of the 2012 NFL season at right defensive end in pass rush situations and got his feet wet in game action since tearing his Achilles tendon last April.

Defensive end Michael Bennett had a sensational game and forced a fumble on Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson that was recovered by middle linebacker Mason Foster at the Bucs' 46 in the first quarter. Bennett now leads the team with three forced fumbles.

He also had five tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a sack, which was his team-leading fifth of the season. Bennett’s five sacks is a personal best. The only thing that marred his night was the fact that he injured his right ankle/foot in the last minute of the game.

Nose tackle Roy Miller was stout against the run and had one tackle for loss, while defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a quiet game with one tackle.

Ponder was hit, hurried and sacked all night thanks to pretty good pressure from Tampa Bay’s defensive line, especially Benett and Te’o-Nesheim.

Foster recovered a fumble by Simpson at the Tampa Bay 46 in the first quarter. Foster added his first sack of the season and the third of his career in arter. The Bucs middle linebacker had five tackles, including a tackle for a loss.

Bucs strongside linebacker Quincy Black recovered Adrian Peterson’s fumble at the Minnesota 36 in the second quarter, and finished with two tackles. Weakside linebacker Lavonte David was rather quiet with two tackles, which was the fewest of his young NFL career.

The linebackers did a reasonably well job against the run, although Peterson rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and could have done more to help out in the rushing game. Free safety Ronde Barber had to help out too much in run support and led the team with nine tackles, including eight solos.

Barber led the team with nine tackles and forced a fumble on Peterson and had a tackle for a loss. It was another strong performance for the 37-year old veteran.

Strong safety Mark Barron had a solid game, but didn’t show up much in the stats sheet, finishing the game with two tackles.

Cornerback Eric Wright had a rather sub-par game with four tackles and a pass breakup. However, Wright gave up an 18-yard touchdown catch to Percy Harvin and missed an arm tackle on Peterson’s 64-yard touchdown run.

Cornerback E.J. Biggers had five tackles but disappointed in pass coverage by giving up a couple big passes to Simpson, including a 33-yarder on third-and-12. Biggers’ lack of awareness was on display on Thursday night.

Rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson got his first NFL start at nickel corner on Thursday night and had a team-high three pass breakups and his first career interception. He also had two tackles in a very strong performance.

Tampa Bay’s secondary gave up seven catches for 90 yards to Harvin and four passes to Michael Jenkins and allowed a mediocre quarterback like Ponder pass for 251 yards. 

Michael Koenen did a great job of keeping the ball away from Vikings return men Percy Harvin and Marcus Sherels. Harvin was forced into touchbacks seven times, but did return one kickoff for 43 yards. Sherels returned three punts for 31 yards with a long of 16.

Koenen averaged 46.8 yards on six punts with a 41.7-yard net.

Bucs return man Roscoe Parrish muffed his first punt return, but recovered the ball at the Minnesota 47. His next two punt returns were bobbled and almost fumbled, too. He finished with one yard on three attempts.

Kicker Connor Barth was 3-of-3 on field goals, nailing kicks from 28, 40 and 38 yards. Barth has only missed two field goals this year.

Last modified on Sunday, 04 November 2012 22:24

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  • avatar

    One thing Surferdude forgot to mention is that the other teams we play also have to stop us. We have lost 4 games by a combined 22 points. We changed our defensive strategy to put more pressure on the QB and I think that will pay off in the games ahead. Games against teams like New Orleans and Atlanta will probably be shoot outs but we have managed to beat New Orleans and Atlanta with our 2011 team and I'm betting that our 2012 team can do the same and get splits.
  • avatar

    Again, why are we not using RB Smith on Punts & Kick-offs?
  • avatar

    Hey Mark... I think half of Ponders yards came on their last 2 drives. When we sat back and gave them the yards and then tightened up inside our own 25 yard line. Just as half of AP's yards was on 1 run. But I think this shows a one dimensonal offensive team with a avg to below avg QB is not going to beat us. Just like the KC game. Need better schemes against the more dynamic passing games and Qbs. I think Suferdudes assumption is accurate.
  • avatar

    Barber, Mike Williams, Freeman, and D. Martin played awesome, corners still suck which is a problem. I love what I see from this offense its really starting to come together. The playcalling was very good but I thought we started to sit on a LEAD love the cal to throw down the sideline to Mike Williams. If we get this defense to play the way they can skies the limit for this team in the future
  • avatar

    I'm not sure that Miller was that stout? Secondary was lucky in my opinion; a little bit better QB would have torn us up.
  • avatar

    Notice a defensive trend here. Our 3 wins came against Q.B.'s who are struggling this year. Ponder threw for only 58 yds last week. We beat B Quinn, and Newton. The two elite Q.B.'s we faced,Manning, Brees, lit us up, while RG3, Romo did enough to beat us. Until this D can shut down a top Q.B., don't get to excited. Looking ahead we have to face Ryan,and those receivers twice, Brees again, P Manning at mile high. Rivers has been up and down, Newton can still be a problem. So looking ahead, unless we can stop the big boys 7 and 9 might be the best we can do this year.
  • avatar

    Now this is what I was talking about yesterday. This team is capable of going eight and eight this year and finishing the second half strong, just like Dungy's first year. Our offensive line was great against such a good pass rushing team and opened up holes for Martin to shine. The duds for me were our third down back and Benn (who needs to be traded for a pick). Good to see better defensive calls with the blitzing this game (which would have won if used last game), and to see the great development of Teo'nesheim (who had 30 sacks in college and just needed playing time) and Bowers back this season. Local boy Leonard Johnson proved his worth and should be a permanent nickel back for us (McDonald was never starter material), and making Barber a safety continues to pay big dividends and will lengthen his career (and smart to have Ahmad Black spell him too!). Bennett played strong and sorry he hurt his ankle, but Bowers can take up the slack on the left side until he recovers and Teo can hold his own on the right. And great to hear after the game from Free what a great teacher our Offensive Coordinator is; and his training is helping Free be all he can be.
  • avatar

    I liked the way Bowers was allowed to slowly get back into playing. I think he'll get credit for a sack when he touched down Ponder after the bad snap. Harvin and Peterson are great players who are going to make things happen for their team but other than the one run by Peterson, they were held in check fairly well by our young defenders. McCoy sure didn't stand out on this night like I expected. What can you say about # 20? He's still the best tackler on the team.
  • avatar

    I thought that Leonard Johnson really stood out tonight. Not mistake free football, but involved in some big plays, and looking solid for a youngster. The interception that he missed by a 'foot' was a strong play against Harvin if I'm not mistaken, and I hope he can show this same kind of performance against a stronger QB. The offense looked pretty good in stretches, but the D really showed up tonight. Again, not flawless, but very formidable. Keep it up, and good things will come.
  • avatar

    I agree completely on Johnson. I was surprised when he went undrafted, then very happy when we signed him as a FA. Nice to see him have a good game. That INT, while not material to the game's outcome, shows exactly what his strength is - holding inside leverage and using the sideline as his defender in coverage. Beautiful technique. He might have been robbed of another INT on the ball he pinned to his helmet as MIN was running the 2 minute drill at the end of the first half. It was close. One correction: I don't know what the stat sheet said, but it was clear that Barber forced both fumbles. As far as the grades listed above, I think that the D line grade is too high and that the secondary grade is too low. Other than garbage time numbers, Ponder never got any rhythm against this secondary. As far as the line, when the other team's RB, even if it's Adrian Peterson, runs for 8+ ypc, you just can't get a B from me. While I was glad they got the pressure they did, a lot of that was related to the blitzes brought, which made it easier on the line to get those sacks. Linebacker grade seems about right, maybe a tad high, but no real issue for me. Secondary higher, D line lower.
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