Which Tampa Bay offensive unit graded out the highest on Sunday in
Denver? Which unit fared the worst against the Broncos? Get the answers
in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played at Denver in the Bucs' 31-23 loss to the Broncos, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.
To say it wasn’t Josh Freeman’s best game would be an understatement. Despite being officially sacked just one time, from the onset Freeman was under duress and constantly pressured from the Broncos defense. But at times there was ample opportunities to make good throws, yet Freeman failed to deliver on several of those chances. In fact, at times it appeared Freeman ha been transported back to 2011, failing to set his feet, moving away from false pressure and just being inaccurate at times. While Freeman has had a solid year this season, there is still way too much inconsistency at times. No quarterback is going to be perfect, even Manning missed a few receivers, but when Freeman is bad, he is really bad. At one point in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, Freeman was in the middle of a 3-for-16 stretch passing. Young or not, new offense or not, those periods of inconsistency are unacceptable. For the game Freeman ended up 18-of-39 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.GRADE = CRUNNING BACKS
Defensive coordinators in the NFL are pretty smart. After watching Martin reel off a handful of 100-yard rushing games midway through the season, teams are beginning to stack the box, shutting down running lanes and keeping Martin in check. Martin still ran with authority on Sunday but never quite was able to break a long one. The offensive line struggled to consistently open holes, and by the midway mark of the third quarter, the game plan to run the ball was thrown out the door, after the Buccaneers surrendered a quick 21 points. Martin finished Sunday with 56 yards on 18 carries (3.1 avg.) and was unable to find the end zone. The former Boise star also struggled a couple times in pass blocking. On Freeman’s one interception, it appeared Martin was confused on who to block. Freeman was hit as he threw the ball, which of course was returned for a touchdown and the Broncos broke the game wide open. As a receiver, Martin continues to impress, catching three Freeman passes for 42 yards. D.J. Ware had one carry for eight yards and LeGarrette Blount didn’t see the field once again on Sunday.
GRADE = CWIDE RECEIVERS
It is a little difficult to grade the receivers without benefit of re-watching the game, but from first glance it appeared that Tampa Bay’s receiving corps fared pretty well. Mike Williams came up seven yards short from having a 100-yard game (6 receptions, 93 yards, one touchdown), and was on the receiving end of a Freeman touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Williams continues to reap the benefit of Vincent Jackson drawing double coverage and close attention from opposing team’s safeties. Jackson managed three catches for 55 yards, but it was clear the Broncos weren’t going to allow the former Chargers’ star to beat them. Tiquan Underwood had one reception for 12 yards, but also a drop in the first half.GRADE = B-OFFENSIVE LINE
It is hard to pick on the Buccaneers offensive line with the number of injuries they have sustained this season, but Sunday the line may have had their worst game of the year. The line gave up way too much pressure to the Broncos on Sunday, and also wa whipped at the point of attack on several running plays. To make matters worse, there were several penalties that killed the Buccaneers chances on certain drives and also put the team in terrible field position. Demar Dotson struggled in pass protection most of the afternoon and even Donald Penn was manhandled at times. Both Dotson and Penn had terribly timed penalties, negating positive yards, something that proved difficult to overcome on the road in a hostile environment.GRADE = DTIGHT ENDS
The Buccaneers tight ends were adequate and while rarely called on, did their job as receivers. The tight ends also did a decent job chipping the Broncos defensive ends on passing downs and blocking during running plays. Dallas Clark wasn’t called upon frequently but made the most of his chances, including being on the receiving end of the Buccaneers first touchdown of the day. Clark finished with three catches for 31 yards and one TD, and even Luke Stocker got in on the action, nabbing two Freeman tosses for 19 yards.GRADE= B-
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