The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to give opportunities to the opposition week in and week out. For the second straight week there was a break down on both sides of the ball that led to points for their opponents.
In this sixth edition of “After Further Review,” beat writer Gil Arcia goes inside the two plays that impacted the Bucs and Falcons game from Week 7.
OFFENSE: THE SACK-FUMBLE
It was just the third play from scrimmage for the Buccaneers with just over two minutes in the first quarter. On third-and-10, Tampa Bay lined up in a shotgun formation with three receivers in Vincent Jackson wide to the right, Chris Owusu in the slot, and Mike Williams wide left. Tim Wright was the tight end to the left of the formation while running back Brian Leonard was to the left of Mike Glennon in the backfield.
The Atlanta Falcons defense came out in their base nickel defense with each Buccaneers receiver covered by their cornerbacks. They stacked the box with eight defenders including both safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore.
Once the ball was snapped, Falcons’ linebacker Paul Worrilow was picked up by nicely by Leonard. But there was an overload on the left side of the offensive line which meant left tackle Donald Penn had to choose between defensive end Osi Umenyiora or Moore. Penn went wide to block Umenyiora which left Moore free to get after Glennon, which he did. The result was a sack-fumble that was picked up by DeCoud and taken in for a 30-yard touchdown.
Why This Was Relevant: It was just the third play for the Bucs’ offense and still early on in the game to overcome the early deficit. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay was never able to get something going consistently from that point on in the game.
What They Said:
"They brought more guys than we could block. Like I said (Sunday), that one is on me. I was trying to get it out hot but wasn't able to do so. That fumble is all on me.” – Quarterback Mike Glennon on the sack-fumble during his Monday press conference.
DEFENSE: HARRY DOUGLAS' TOUCHDOWN
It was the second quarter with 5:40 left before the half and the ball was at the Tampa Bay 37-yard line after a bad 20-yard punt by Michael Koenen.
On first-and-10, the Falcons came out in a shotgun formation with five-wide and an empty backfield. From wide left, the Falcons had wide receiver Darius Johnson, fullback Patrick DiMarco, and in the slot was tight end Tony Gonzalez. To the right side of the line, wide receiver Harry Douglas was near the sideline while running back Jacquizz Rodgers was inside.
The Buccaneers were in their base 4-3 defense with defenders in areas of the field, not directly in front on the receivers. In other words, they were showing zone well before the snap.
Once the play got underway, the Bucs’ linebackers and secondary dropped into their zones. As safety Dashon Goldson dropped back into the left deep half of the field, receiver Harry Douglas made a move inside after running upfield 10 yards which forced Goldson to bite on the move. Once Goldson bit, Douglas cut it back up the seam which made Leonard Johnson go back on Douglas in an attempt to make up for Goldson. But quarterback Matt Ryan saw that Douglas was about to be behind the defense and threw it downfield as his receiver made the cut back up. It resulted in Ryan hitting a wide open Douglas for a 37-yard touchdown.
Why This Was Relevant: The Buccaneers were down 17-7 before that touchdown and would have had an easier climb to catch up to Atlanta in the scoreboard with lots of time left in the game. But another defensive breakdown in coverage leads to another big touchdown which has been one of the biggest problems so far this season for the defense.
What They Said:
"We had several different matchup scenarios, some with [Atlanta tight end Tony] Gonzalez. I think, in some of the plays you watch Harry catch, they were late-developing plays. They weren't the kind of plays that we would have - I'm not saying we wouldn't have covered him anyway - but, when we broke down their passing game, and to the best of our knowledge, because the guys [Atlanta wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones] had gotten injured, we felt like the matchups that we had employed, and the different coverage combinations we had, were going to take away their main threats, Harry being one of them. As it turned out, he caught too many passes for too many yards, so, in retrospect, maybe you could do it differently, but, going into the game, we thought that we had to take Gonzalez away, and, for the most part, we did. When you do that, you do some different things with your corners and your safeties." – Head coach Greg Schiano on Harry Douglas’ performance of seven receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown.