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October 25, 2013 @ 1:20 am
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Clawed By Panthers 31-13: Unit Game Grades

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers dropped their seventh game of the season in front of a nationally-televised audience and did nothing to encourage fans that a win is coming anytime soon. PewterReport.com breaks down the individual units and grades each one on their performance.
Under the primetime lights of Thursday Night Football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Carolina Panthers and fell to 0-7. The final score was 31-13 although it probably could have been worse. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades.

After a solid performance last game against the Falcons, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon was off his game against the Panthers. He played much like he did in his debut and made a lot of rookie mistakes.

Although his stat line doesn’t look bad (30-of-51, 275 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and an 80.1 rating) a lot of those yards and the touchdown came in garbage time. Also, the Panther had several opportunities to pick Glennon off, including one thrown right in the chest of the defender.

Glennon was also more inaccurate than usual, overthrowing his receivers on multiple occasions. But yet again, the rookie didn’t have much help around him. There were at least three drops, three bad snaps, and he was sacked three times. Also, the Bucs were playing from behind the entire game so they could never get the running game going.

With Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin out with a shoulder injury, rookie Mike James got the start and played pretty well. James had 10 carries for 39 yards (3.9 average) and four catches for 25 yards. James continued to block well and showed he can be a physical, yet shifty runner. He could improve on his vision, but overall had a decent debut as a starter.

Brian Leonard was also in the game, but got just one carry for seven yards. Leonard caught six passes for 32 yards and was also a good blocker in pass protection.

Vincent Jackson had a much quieter week after his last two big games. He caught five passes on 13 targets for 79 yards as the Panther did everything they could to eliminate him from the game. Jackson did have yet another costly drop on a third down on Tampa Bay's first series of the game, setting the tone for the night.

Mike Williams, who wasn’t 100 percent with a hamstring injury, also had a third-down drop and caught just three passes for 20 yards. Tiquan Underwood had his best game since joining the team a couple weeks ago, with three catches and 47 yards. With Jackson being taken out of the equation for much of the game, the other receivers didn’t do a good enough job getting open for Glennon.

After a quiet week against the Falcons, rookie wide receiver-turned-tight end Tim Wright had another good game with five catches for 48 yards, and a touchdown. Those numbers should have been even better, but Glennon overthrew an open Wright on a couple occasions. Aside from those misfires, Glennon and Wright have really shown some chemistry thus far and Wright has emerged as the quarterback’s number two target behind Jackson.

Tight end Tom Crabtree failed to make an impact again, especially when he was unable to hold onto a beautifully thrown ball from Glennon that would have put the Bucs inside the five-yard line, instead settling for a field goal.

The most disappointing unit on the Buccaneers this year continued to disappoint against the Panthers, but not quite as badly. Costly penalties and missed blocks were actually improved upon this week. The only accepted penalty was against Davin Joseph when the game was already well out of hand.

They also did a better job blocking in pass protection. The first sack given up was due to a poor snap by the center Ted Larsen (one of three bad snaps). The second was when Larsen was benched and the Bucs moved Zuttah to center and Gabe Carimi to guard. Carimi was mauled by the Panthers defender and was quickly benched, to be replaced by Larsen. And the third was given up by Dotson, but was more of a result of good coverage and Glennon holding the ball a little too long.

The line did seem to get tired in the second half as Glennon didn’t have quite as much time to throw, and those three bad snaps by Larsen just show how badly the Bucs need a healthy Carl Nicks in the lineup, so Zuttah can go back to playing center. Overall, the performance was still subpar when you consider the talent on the line, but it was an improvement over the catastrophes of the last couple weeks.

The defensive line didn’t a decent job on Thursday night, at times getting good pressure on Cam Newton, but they also lost contain on the edges allowing Newton to run for 50 yards on 11 attempts. The line managed just six tackles on the night with four of those coming from one player – Adrian Clayborn – who also recorded the defensive line’s only sack. Gerald McCoy once again saw numerous double-teams which should have freed up others to make plays but Da’Quan Bowers, Steven Means and the rest of the other linemen were virtually ineffective against the Panthers.

It appears of all the question marks heading into the season, the one that deserves the most scrutiny was the decision to allow Michael Bennett to walk, or at the very least not signing a proven pass rusher.

Once again Lavonte David showed the nation why he deserves Pro Bowl consideration, leading all tacklers with 12 stops, two tackles for loss and a sack. David missed a couple tackles but all in all was one of the best players on the field – for both teams. Former Bucs great Derrick Brooks, who was in attendance, had to have been smiling, knowing he is looking at an almost exact replica of himself.

Mason Foster had a quiet game as far as splash plays, but contributed five tackles on the night. Overall the linebacking corps was solid, but also have to be held responsible for some of the breakdown on Thursday night that allowed the Panthers to rush for 129 yards on 29 carries.

Tampa Bay’s secondary was most certainly missing the intimidation factor without safety Dashon Goldson who missed the game nursing a sore knee. Keith Tandy filled in for Goldson and wasn’t terrible but did miss an open field tackle of DeAngelo Williams on Carolina’s second touchdown of the night, and failed to record any pass breakups. Fellow safety Mark Barron played better than he had in the previous two games and was second on the team with seven tackles.

The Buccaneers cornerbacks did a decent job on the night, not allowing any passes over their head as they did the past two games, and Newton’s longest pass of the night traveled just 19 yards. The Panthers converted a number of third downs through the air, primarily when in zone coverage. Darrelle Revis led the Bucs with two pass breakups on the night and did a good job of limiting the Panthers Steve Smith when matched up against him. Smith caught just four passes for 42 yards.

Leonard Johnson finished with five tackles on the night but allowed Ted Ginn to get behind him on a deep route that should have resulted in a touchdown had Ginn not dropped the perfectly thrown Newton pass.

Despite not giving up any long passes Newton did manage to thrown for 221 yards completing 23-of-33 passes and finished the night with a QB rating of 111.6.

The only miscue of the night from the special teams unit was a muffed punt in the second half by Eric Page. Other than that the unit performed well with punter Michael Koenen averaging 43 yards on five punts, and placekicker Rian Lindell nailed three two field goals on the night.

–Mark Cook and Haley Cornish contributed to this report

Last modified on Friday, 25 October 2013 01:36

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  • avatar

    Looks like Steve Smith got his oil checked.
  • avatar

    Glennon was more in the D+/C- range but at this point if we are quibbling over mediocre and below average who cares lol. I would be willing to give Glennon a C- since he didn't have a turnover. Tight End grade has to be a D because Crabtree dropped two key passes. Secondary deserved an F rating as they were really bad and fortunate that Newton missed some wide open Panthers and Ginn dropped the bomb downfield. Special team should be a C at most beucase Page's tunrover destroyed any chance of a Bucs come back victory.
  • avatar

    Strongly disagree about the QB grade. I thought he was a c+ for what he had to work with and him being a rookie. I am seeing him getting a little better every game. Will he be a good QB; probably not. I see an adequate QB with a good defense and some additional tools like a TE and slot Receiver taking us to the play offs next season. If Schiano is not gone today then we might as well keep him until the end of the season and start completely over with all new players. Do we really want that? He has lost the locker room and their scheme on offense and defense is not working. We are the 1977-1978 Bucs again. Congratulations Schiano, Dominik, Glazers. My grade for you all is the words you hate to hear the most: you have caused the loss of multiple millions of dollars. Also you will lose some veteran season ticket holders no matter what you do now. I wouldn't hire any of you all to run a lemonade stand!
  • avatar

    I was among the people that thought firing Schiano during the season could affect our search for a head coach next year but at this point I dont really care. If we hire another head coach that losses 12 of 13 (realistically 13 in a row) then they too should be fired. To have our former greats in attendance yesterday and to put on such a lackluster and abysmal performance was embarrassing. There was no passion from the players and the coaches seemed sleep at the wheel. Im tired of this deer in the headlights we have coaching this team. The stage was too big for him from the day he got hired, hiring this type of coach with no track record of success was risky in itself and its painfully obvious this era needs to end. I dont think Glennon regressed at all, he is a backup QB at best so highs and lows are expected. Also if anything is wrong with Doug Martin the ownership needs to step in and sit him, Schiano shouldn't be allowed to make the call for him to play through an injury just bc his time as coach is limited. Put Martin on the IR and if Schiano as much as questions the decision advise him he can pack his bags and get a head start on the inevitable. Fans speaking out, commentators speaking out, current players, former players, and this list keeps growing by the second. Make the obvious choice and cut this clown so we can get a headstart on what should be a very interesting offseason. Go Bucs! I'll always be a fan but you boys sure do make it hard!
  • avatar

    On the bright side, Mike James looks almost like a stronger Martin; but both Backs are little too slow (are they allowed to cut, and run to the other side of the play? It seems that even if the cutback side is wide open, they will stick to the original running lane; reminding of how Freeman stopped scrambling). Shiano must have at least some kind of skills to evaluate talent (in college and in pros), but for every good decision, there comes a bonehead move too.. How great would it be for example, to have a CB tandem of Revis/Talib? I understand it´s not all on Shiano though.. Dominik deserves his share too and yeah, not all falls these two, but they are the main leaders who failed big time - time to get rid of the Shianomik deomon..
  • avatar

    Other than the relatively large crowd it felt like I was at a Pre-season game. There was so little emotion from the players. It was as if the players were all on a Death March and headed (for a while) to the guillotine. Their path was laid out but they knew the final result.
  • avatar

    I think Glennon will be a good back up Q.B. next year when we pick in the top three in this years draft, they'll have to pick a Q.B.. It's painfully clear we'll have a new G.M., and H.C. next year. What better way for the new guys to turn things around, then to have a top pick in the draft, and finally finding a real franchise Q.B.. Don't get me wrong, I think Mike's a decent Q.B., but we need a dynamic play maker. New coach, G.M., top draft choice, have to pick a Q.B., when drafting that high.
  • avatar

    0 and 7. Wow. All this talent and we can't win a game. What's it going to take to make a change ? I don't envy Dominic. He needs to act soon to save his own job.
  • avatar

    This was the first good defense Glennon has faced and it showed. He still played OK but wasn't anything special - but wasn't a disaster. Will be interesting to see how he plays next week, if he can get through that game with no picks and not plays OK he might just turn out to be a keeper. Still too early to know for sure, but he does look solid - even if on 4th down at the end of the game he throws the ball out of the back of the endzone instead of even attempting to get TD or PI - that was a real lack of judgement. Regardless he's a rookie and has played like ones at time - but overall he's been solid in a completely boring and predictable offense.
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