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August 18, 2011 @ 9:39 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Manhandled By Patriots, 31-14

Written by Eric
Eric Horchy


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Led by QB Tom Brady, WR Wes Welker and a ferocious defensive front, New England dominated Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium, 31-14. The Patriots' starters whipped the Bucs' starters on both sides of the ball, jumping out to a 28-0 halftime lead.

The poor, rainy weather reached Tampa Bay right at halftime, but the storm rolled into Raymond James Stadium for the Buccaneers at the starting whistle.

Tom Brady and the visiting New England Patriots wasted little time making last Friday’s 25-0 Bucs rout in Kansas City feel like a distant memory.

“We had a couple of mistakes out there, but Tom Brady, as we know, is an awesome quarterback and [New England] has an awesome offense,” said Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris. “They came to play tonight. We came out kind of sluggish and kind of flat on both sides of the ball. We started to pick it up a little in the second quarter, but we have to get a better effort out of everybody out there.”

The Patriots starting offense scored on each of its first three possessions en route to a 28-0 first half lead and eventual 31-14 win.

In that dominant first 30 minutes of football, New England outgained Tampa Bay 235-73 and moved the chains 17 times compared to four for the Bucs. In total, Tampa Bay was outmatched offensively, 383-244.

Tampa Bay’s one shining moment came early in the second half during backup time. Cornerback Elbert Mack made a sliding interception of Patriots third-string quarterback Ryan Mallett's errant pass and returned it 69 yards to the house. Mack’s runback was sprung wide open with a key Larry Asante block.

That score brought the Bucs within 28-7. Celebrations from players or fans were understandably brief.

Conditions for Thursday’s game were listed as 85 degrees and cloudy. Two brief spats of rain came through – once during halftime and once in the final quarter. Paid attendance was announced as 49,313.

The game’s defensive starters were as follows: LE Michael Bennett, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Frank Okam, RE Adrian Clayborn, WLB Geno Hayes, SLB Quincy Black, LCB E.J. Biggers, RCB Ronde Barber, FS Cody Grimm, SS Sean Jones, DB Elbert Mack.

Tampa lined up offensively with: TE Nathan Overbay, LT Donald Penn, LG Ted Larsen, C Jeff Faine, RG Davin Joseph, RT Jeremy Trueblood, TE Ryan Purvis, WR Dezmon Briscoe, WR Mike Williams, RB LaGarrette Blount and QB Josh Freeman.

Inactive for the Bucs were WR Detron Lewis, FB Rendrick Taylor, CB Vince Anderson, DT Brian Price, LB Brandon Heath, G Brandon Carter, G Thomas Claiborne and C Matt Allen.

For all that appeared to click last Friday – pressure from the defensive line, exceptional pass protection from the offensive front, linebackers flying around and picking up their assignments – the Bill Belichick coached Patriots neutralized it all.

Brady, who didn’t play at all during the Patriots’ 45-12 dismantling of Jacksonville last Thursday, finished 11-of-19 for 118 yards and two touchdowns and looked to be in midseason form. The two-time NFL Most Valuable Player led last year’s eighth-rated offense straight through Tampa Bay defenders with relative ease, playing virtually every first-half snap. Brady also notched his first scoring hookup with newly acquired receiver Chad Ochocinco on the team’s second drive.

The Bucs posted six sacks last week at Kansas City and limited the Chiefs to 86 yards rushing all game. Tampa Bay’s young front seven were unable to duplicate those results against the Patriots, rarely able to get to Brady on passing downs and giving up chunks of yardage on the ground.

Against New England the Bucs received sacks from defensive ends Tim Crowder, at the second quarter’s two-minute warning, and George Johnson, with 5:08 left in the third quarter.

Running back Danny Woodhead [5-for-63] cut back to his left for a 29-yard run on the Patriots’ third play from scrimmage. It was New England’s first of 11 plays that went for 10 yards or more in the first half. That initial drive was capped by a 16-yard, Brady-to-Aaron Hernandez touchdown pass with 11:45 left in the first quarter that caught the Bucs coverage off guard. Linebacker Quincy Black was on Hernandez as he came off the line, but let him release with the expection of help from behind. Rookie middle linebacker Mason Foster was there as a last line of defense, but did not react to pick up Hernandez quick enough.

The touchdown to Ochocinco about five minutes later displayed much of the same sloppy coverage. On third-and-four from the Tampa Bay 8-yard line, Brady ran a play-action and rolled to his right. His new high-profile target was lined up on the right side and broke a post into the end zone that strong safety Sean Jones did not pick up.

“Last week I think we kind of, not got full of ourselves, but kind of took it as we were where we needed to be,” said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, starting after not seeing the field in Kansas City. McCoy finished with one tackle. “Personally, I think we needed this because now we can judge ourselves accordingly. [The Patriots] are a Super Bowl caliber team and the tempo that it was tonight is how it’s going to be during the season, so we need to learn it, go get in the film room and handle our business.”

Second-teamers SS Corey Lynch and LB Dekoda Watson led the Bucs in tackling, with five apiece. DT Frank Okam, CB Anthony Gaitor and CB D.J. Johnson each recorded four.

Offensively, Tampa Bay appeared overmatched in the trenches and the first team was unable to advance any further than their own 43. In Morris’s postgame press conference, he mentioned the Bucs losing the battles up front.

"It's always disturbing, but it's stuff that you can learn from with a young football team," the third-year head coach said. "Last week we were able to dominate of front, this week we got dominated early ... You have to come out of the tunnel ready to go, and we didn't tonight."

Quarterback Josh Freeman was sacked twice for 17 yards and Tampa Bay again failed to impress on the ground.

For the second straight week, backup quarterback Josh Johnson was the Bucs’ leading rusher, with 24 yards on three runs. Starting running back LeGarrette Blount ran four times for one yard. Rookie Allen Bradford led the tailbacks in rushing with 17 yards on five attempts, including one impressive, eight-yard cutback run in the third quarter.

“[We] have to go out there and execute,” Blount said. “Just got to go out there and do what we’ve been practicing for the whole week – go out there and execute our game plan and do what we have to do to put points on the board. Obviously we didn’t do that, so that’s what we have to work on.”

Starting right guard Davin Joseph admitted the unit up front performed below expectations.

“We have to be able to go out against a good team and be able to establish something. We can’t hang our defense out to dry by keeping them three-and-out and leaving them out on the field. We have to get it together. We have to get it together on offense. We have to show composure and be able to take advantage of our opportunities.”

Tampa Bay’s lone offensive touchdown came with 9:28 left in the game on a 2-yard run from Bradford. The score capped a 12-play, 84-yard march. Josh Johnson was in on quarterback for that drive and hit on only six of his 17 attempts all night. Like his rushing total, he again led the Bucs quarterbacks in yardage with 105 through the air. Johnson also through an interception with 7:10 left in the third when his attempt to Michael Spurlock was picked by New England cornerback Kyle Arrington.

“They were able to put some pressure on us and get us out of the pocket and get us out of our rhythm,” Johnson said of the aggressive pass rush the Patriots attacked Tampa Bay with Thursday. “It is a credit to them, they came out ready to play tonight. It really took us a while to get something going, so that’s a lot for us to learn from.”

The interception gave the Patriots back possession after Asante forced a fumble for the Bucs two plays prior. Running back Stevan Ridley coughed up the ball and linebacker Adam Hayward flew in for the recovery.

Asante was shaken up earlier in the night during the Patriots' second drive of the second quarter. With running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis bearing down, Asante lowered his head while squaring up for the tackle. Asante stood after the ending the seven-yard pick up, but then went back down to the turf for a brief moment and Tampa Bay trainers had to attend to him.

Green-Ellis's 11 carries for 51 yards was part of a Patriots running attack that totaled 200 yards. Ridley led New England with 84 yards on 14 attempts.

One of the few positives Tampa Bay can take away from Thursday’s disappointing performance was that its defense forced two turnovers compared to one giveaway. That puts the Bucs plus-three in that catagory after two games.

Little else proved successful, though, and cornerback E.J. Biggers said the entire defense will have to try to use this tape to fix mistakes.

“You just have to learn from your mistakes,” he said. “That’s it. You really have to learn from your mistakes and go back and watch the film; everybody just correct everything they did wrong. It’s just another chance to get better. It’s like I said, going to watch film and everybody just getting better.”

Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was under center for Tampa for the final two series and finished 6-for-10 with 33 yards.

Six Bucs tied for the lead in reception with two: Preston Parker, Maurice Price, Michael Spurlock, Mike Williams, Earnest Graham and Collin Franklin. Parker’s 43 yards led for yardage and Price’s 34-yard catch-and-run from Carpenter in the fourth marked the Bucs’ longest play from scrimmage.

Tampa’s lone injury to report on is defensive tackle E.J. Wilson (ankle) who went down mid-game and did not return.

The Bucs will now have a week to analyze tape and lick their collective wounds before the Miami Dolphins come into town next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Last modified on Friday, 19 August 2011 02:32

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  • avatar

    Do you think Greg Olson taught Penn how to Butt block? That is just the most impressive blocking technique I have ever seen, it's not like they are about to grab your butt and hold you, plus you could fart on them and really blow them up! Maybe he should call it the Booty Patootie block.
  • avatar

    buctebow, Now that's funny! Humor always help when things are not go good. Go Bucs! Use your booty more!
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    A couple points. Let's put the score aside, because it was a preseason game. - our offensive line was below average last year and has the same starters. Penn is our best, but run blocking is not his strength. Joseph and Faine are overrated. Trueblood and Larsen wouldn't start on most teams. - our defensive line is young. They will hopefully develope into a nice line, but this year will be tough. Okam may be our best and he wasn't drafted. The Patriots' D-line is what our D-Line wishes they were. Big and powerful. Good luck to our new D-line coaches... they may have a longgg season. - our linebackers are young and average. Black and Hayes are plain average. Both athletic, but that doesn't make you a good football player. Mason will be good, but he is a rookie and he may be playing out of position. I'd like to see him at weakside LB. - our safeties looked really bad last night. Hopefull T. Jackson has put the blunts down and will be back as strong as ever. - Speaking of blunts... Blount's feet look very slow. No, he didn't have many running lanes last night, but his feet can't get out of the way fast enough. I would have loved to have gotten Ingram from Alabama, but this may be another time when our RB had a good year and we passed on a really good RB (i.e. - Caddy's rookie year, so we passed on St. Jackson). - Freeman is good, but not even close to great yet. Let's not put him on the mantle just yet. He's not even close to a Brady, Manning, or Brees. He still makes plays with athletci ability. Those guys are cerebral. They will pick your defense apart and don't need the athletic ability. I think Free is a smart guy, so hopefully he gets it. But he's got a long ways to go before he is in their status. Hey, it's just a preseason game, but it definitely shows us what we need work on. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

  • avatar

    Rule changes stink - Foster made a great hit and penalized? Kickoffs are a joke. If these guys are afraid to play, just admit it and give the team the ball on the 20 - touchbacks will be 75% of kickoffs this year.
  • avatar

    I was at the game and it was painful to watch. Offense - Anemic; Defense - Clueless; Wefence - only glimmer of hope in first half. We have an awesome punter. They haven't missed a beat with their new coach. Worst player of the first half - Donald Penn - he didn't block anybody in the first half. Raheem said that the Patriots would provide a good test to see where this young team is in their development. The results are in, the Bucs played like the youngest team in the league. They looked like a college team. It's only one game but it was ugly. Let's hope they learn from this and step it up or it will be a long season. detinjohnny- you don't know what you are talking about. Don't run your mouth until you see them game.
  • avatar

    Well, the coaches now have the players attention. There is plenty of work ahead.
  • avatar

    I was there, the whole game. Many weren't (I don't necessarily blame them). Our starters vs. their starters was the 1st quarter, which ended 21-0. We were beaten in each and every aspect of the game on offense and defense, from the lines, secondary, linebackers, receivers and running backs. K2 would have made a small difference, perhaps. We needed better play calling on offense (I saw some opportunities lost based on our offensive formations) and better/quicker reactions on defenses (safeties were way suspect and the LB's were easily snookered into over pursuing and being out of position). NE and the Bucs both got some answers last night. I think NE exposed our biggest weak point at this time, smartly, which was our LB's. Their formations were very deceptive and the play calls relied, successfully, based upon their ability to get our LB"s out of position along with safeties not being good enough to pick up the slack. For last night and last night only, I think Ruud might have been helpful back there. Good news is that we don't see the Pats in the regular season, and given we're youngry, we'll get better. Go Bucs!!!
  • avatar

    Big thing was that the boys come out tonight thinking they were something special after the KC game, and NE slapped them right back to reality. Coaching was far better on the NE side as there blitzing the first half had our O line totally confused. Never seemed to pick up the blitzing linebacker all night. Brady throwing quickly and no mddle linebacker play. Looked like Ruud was still out there. Linebacking especially Black and Hayers looked weak. NE had all the right schemes on D and on offense to completely make us look like a college team out there. Hopefully they are able to correct some of these weaknesses but tonight definitely showed we are not in top tier of elite teams in this league. Lets at least be in the bracket of good teams with experience down the road getting us into that level down the road.
  • avatar

    I have a simple philosophy on pre-season games regardless of the outcome, "Pay No Attention." It is no preview of the season to come. I have never seen as many all-out blitzes as the "Flying Elvises" defense threw at our unsuspecting and unprepared O-Line. It was clear from the start that the "Boys from the Hoody" were out to win the game and had their starters remain in the lineup throughout the first half. I think our youngsters were simply in awe and in some ways cowered down to one of the best teams in the league. This was a great lesson.
  • avatar

    The NFL is making this great game flag football! No hitting and no run backs, looks more like soccer!
  • avatar

    It was painful to listen to. Turned it off for a half hour and then came back fortified. My thoughts were: I'm afraid that Blount will not have as good a year athis year because now the teams have a better idea on how to play him and our oline. Same with Freeman. Hopefully, we'll be better with Miami going forward but I'm afraid we'll be lucky to have an 8/8 year. I think we forget that every team gets better every year. Am very willing to be wrong.
  • avatar

    I love the Bucs, but this was a case of the grown-ups playing the kids. Vince Wilfork, Andre Carter and several other 330lb+, 30+yr old big bellied grown men ravaged and pillaged our boys. It will get even worst when they give Haynesworth a dose of red pepper and gunpowder and shove him out there. This is what it's like every week in the AFC with the Ravens, Steelers and Pats. When we get 2 or 3 more like big Frank Okam, we will be able to run with the big dogs. We were just outgunned tonight!!
  • avatar

    "Celebrations from players or fans were understandably brief" after Mack's TD. Actually, I thought Mack's end zone dance was waaaay too long given the situation. I wouldn't have called it understandably brief.
  • avatar

    McCoy looked like he was the first off the ball a lot tonight which was promising. Watson had a solid game, I still think the starting LBs should be Watson, Foster, and MacKenzie.
  • avatar

    That sucked all the way around....Only things good were we were relatively healthy, and it's only preseason.....but we sucked....
  • avatar

    Watching the re-play on the Left Coast with the second quarter half over. I have muted the audio because the Patty broadcaster's have not stopped drooling over their teams jock-straps. The Bucs look like crap, and I'm going to bed. What the hell happened between now and last week? I understand it's preseason, but they didn't even show up.
  • avatar

    Sat in my seat til the clock struck 00:00. The only 2 things that were positive tonight were special teams (Koenen + coverage) and the cheerleaders. I can assure you, practice will not be fun this week. 3 nice hits tonight, Foster laying out Aaron Hernandez (clean), Larry Asante leading the way to Elbert's TD laying the boom on Ryan Mallett, and Derrick Holland with the massive block on Danny Woodhead that knocked him the f out!
  • avatar

    Freeman looked scared to death from play1. So now with Caddy gone we know we have NO RB to pick up the rush to help keep Freeman off his A$$. Fosters hit was a clean hit. This rule is going to get called to many times from now on for no reason and hurt the outcome of games. It is a real shame when the PATS leave their starters in and our backup Oline and QB come in and move the ball. Do we need to have our new punter kick field goals too. I hope this is not a vision into the season stopping the run. Let's Go BUCS. GET Better!!
  • avatar

    The deciding factor in tonight's game was the OLs failure to cover the correct blocking assignments. Freeman barely had a chance to get the ball down field. NE spanked us plain and simple. Going to be a long film session this week. Silver lining is that it's a preseason game and it exists for nights like these. Will be a great learning experience for the team.
  • avatar

    NOT to youngry of a performance!
  • avatar

    For those of you who were in the "Black Out Area"; be happy that you were. I watched it from Tallahassee and the only positive thing I can say about our starting OL and DL is that we were beaten by a much better seasoned team that was ready for the real season to start now. I saw no push from our D,L nor any real pass rush when it was needed. Our OL was just plain bad. Faine got ran over at times and the OT's couldn't push back against their DE's. Now we know how Kansas city felt about us as they were man handled by us and how we feel now because the Patriots beat us up in every postion pertaining to the 1st half. Now the 2nd was different and some of our back up's looked good. QB Carpenter might has just have caused himself out of a job in the NFL. OL Dotson has got to get better, like now if he wants to make this team. Quite frankly, I am thinking that maybe we carry one less OL because other than Zuttah, all our back ups are expendable. We need to seriously find a back up Center because Zuttah is need as back up at OT and OG. At least we play Miami next week and i am sure we will come to the game more focused. Go Bucs! Get better!
  • avatar

    I haven’t watched it yet nor listened to it but i can guarantee that Trueblood gave up both the sacks. The guy has no footwork
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