For the second time in three games this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed to record a sack on Sunday against Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the lack of a pass rush was apparently by choice from head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
“I don’t want to give away too much of the gameplan on what we were trying to do, but that was a plan for us,” said Morris. “We just have to cash in those opportunities. When a guy throws a ball up in three deep and it’s your ball in your hands and you drop it to a receiver, stuff like that happened… when those things happen, it tends to be doom-and-gloom on the ride home.”
Batch, a 13-year veteran who hadn’t started a game in over two seasons, carved up the Bucs’ secondary in the first half going 11-of-14 for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Instead of rushing the 35-year-old quarterback, Morris opted to take his chances in coverage.
“The plan going into the game was when they play with Charlie, they run a lot of screens,” said Morris. “When you blitz, you are not necessarily going to get there during those plays. We wanted to be in a position to tackle and bring them down… But they won that chess match and you have to give them credit for it.”
Morris saw that the Steelers like to use the short passing game with Batch in the lineup and that is what he prepared for.
“Some of that was by design from me. I wanted to do a lot of max drops,” said Morris. “You saw a lot of three-man rushes with people in coverage and Quincy (Black) was able to jump up during one of those last plays and catch that ball. You want to get increased pass rush, but I have to be realistic about it too. A lot of the time we planned max drops.”
It’s nice that Black got the interception, but that came late in the game when the team was down by 32 points. The Steelers built that lead because Batch had all day to throw. It may have been Morris’ gameplan to sit back and make him beat them, but once he started to do that then it is time to change the plan.