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January 1, 2012 @ 7:37 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Lose At Atlanta, 45-24, For 10th Straight Defeat

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The dismal 2011 season for the Buccaneers concludes in embarrassing fashion once again as Tampa Bay falls to Atlanta, 45-24, after trailing 42-0 in the second quarter. The Bucs lost 10 straight games to end the season – and likely Raheem Morris' tenure as head coach.

The two-month long slide of the Buccaneers continued on Sunday as the team lost at Atlanta to the playoff-bound Falcons, 45-24.

For the Falcons, they avenged a Week 3, 20-16 defeat at Raymond James Stadium and are headed to the NFL postseason for the third straight year. Atlanta clinched the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs with Sunday’s victory.

For the Buccaneers, it was the team’s 10th straight loss. After a promising 4-2 start, Tampa Bay finished with a 4-12 record, which assures the team of a top 5 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

For Raheem Morris, Sunday will likely be his last game as Tampa Bay’s head coach. The 34-year old Morris has presided over a 3-13 team in 2009, a 10-6 squad in 2010 and a disappointing 4-12 team this season. Morris’ record over three years is 17-31 with no playoff appearances. There is a chance that Morris and possibly his entire staff could be fired as early as Monday.

For the defense, it was a game in which the Buccaneers surrendered 42 first half points to Atlanta and trailed 42-0, and also gave up the most points in Tampa Bay history by surrendering 487 points this season. That topped the old mark of 473 by the 1986 squad.

For Ronde Barber he may have played his last game in the NFL as the 36-year old cornerback is entering a contract year after 15 seasons with Tampa Bay. Barber, who suffered a broken right hand in the first half, left the contest early after his 199th consecutive start and playing in his 225th game with the Buccaneers, which is a franchise record.

For Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, it was a game in which he topped 20 interceptions in a season for the first time in his three-year career. Freeman had two picks in the first half, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and another in the fourth quarter to finish with 22 in 2011. He also fumbled the ball when he was sacked in the second quarter.

Freeman finished the game completing 31-of-45 passes for 274 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Freeman was also the Bucs’ leading rusher with 14 yards on three carries as Atlanta shut down Tampa Bay’s running game. LeGarrette Blount was held to 12 carries on six carries.

But Tampa Bay had no answer for Atlanta’s ground game as the Falcons outrushed the Bucs 251-35 yards. By halftime, Michael Turner had rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries (10.1 avg.) before being pulled with the rest of Atlanta’s starters as the Falcons built a 42-7 lead after two quarters.

Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who started in place of Arrelious Benn, stepped up for Tampa Bay by catching a career-high eight passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns, which was also a personal best. Preston Parker led the Bucs with 74 yards on four catches, while Kellen Winslow had seven catches for 56 yards.

The Falcons scored on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead with 8:12 left in the first quarter. Michael Turner ripped off a 27-yard run on the first play of the game. On third-and-11, Matt Ryan found wide receiver Roddy White for a 23-yard gain to pick up the first down. Eight plays later, rookie running back Jacquizz Rodgers scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

After the Bucs went three-and-out on their first possession, Atlanta marched down the field again with Julio Jones capping off the seven-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown catch in which he broke three attempted tackles by linebacker Geno Hayes, cornerback Elbert Mack and safety Sean Jones. With 3:30 left in the first quarter, the Falcons were out in front, 14-0.

On Tampa Bay’s next play, Freeman threw an interception to Dominique Franks, who picked off the ball at the Bucs’ 48-yard line. On the next snap, Ryan threw a 48-yard bomb to Jones, who outwrestled free safety Tanard Jackson touchdown and ran through E.J. Biggers for a touchdown. The Falcons went up 21-0 in the first quarter and Jones would finish the game with four catches for 76 yards and two scores.

Freeman had another turnover as Lee whiffed when trying to block defensive end John Abraham, who also stripped and recovered the ball from the Bucs quarterback at the Tampa Bay 30. After a 14-yard run by Turner, the Falcons would score six plays later on his 1-yard touchdown run as he accounted for all 30 rushing yards.

Things went from bad to worse for Tampa Bay as Freeman threw a pick-six to linebacker Curtis Lofton, who returned Freeman’s interception 26 yards for a touchdown. The pass was intended for running back Kregg Lumpkin, who collided with Winslow and was knocked to the ground. With 10:43 remaining in the second quarter, Atlanta’s lead swelled to 35-0.

The Falcons piled it on with an 81-yard touchdown run down the left sidelines to cap off a two-play scoring drive. Just minutes before halftime, Turner’s second touchdown of the day put Atlanta up 42-0.

The Bucs finally got on the scoreboard with a 2-yard touchdown catch by Briscoe to cap off a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The key play was a 48-yard catch-and-run by Parker to move the ball into Atlanta territory. The touchdown was Briscoe’s team-leading fifth of the year as the Bucs’ carved into the Falcons’ lead yet trailed 42-7.

Connor Barth added a 41-yard field goal, his 15th straight of the season, to cut into Atlanta’s lead, which was trimmed to 42-10 with 4:19 left in the third quarter.

The Bucs added their second touchdown of the game a few plays later as Mack intercepted Chris Redmon and returned in the pick 40 yards for a touchdown. Winslow’s two-point conversion catch cut Atlanta’s lead to 42-18 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.

Briscoe scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, but the Bucs’ attempt at another two-point conversion failed and Atlanta’s lead was reduced to 42-24.

Matt Bryant added a 19-yard field goal with 3:59 left in the game to push Atlanta’s lead to 45-24.

Last modified on Sunday, 01 January 2012 19:55

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  • avatar

    Well said Gibsonmx, there is a strong sense of entitlement over at One Buc that permeates all the way up the chain. We may not be able to fix the problems of this team in one offseason, but we can easily restore respect for the game and community by bringing in leadership that holds people accountable for their actions and makes everyone perform to a high standard.
  • avatar

    That first half was the worst ever including the expansion season of 1976. It was as if the Falcons were the Harlem Globetrotters and our once mighty Bucs were the Washington Generals.
  • avatar

    New Head coach and offensive coordinator - Mike Mularkey; new defensive coordinator and asst head coach - Jack Del Rio
  • avatar

    This is why that i will NOT renew my season tickets. This team is a joke. I bet Armwood could beat this team. No one has any pride or discipline. You come out and get down by 42 points early in the 2nd quarter. No one in the organization should receive their final pay check, they didn't earn it. We 1st need a new OC and DC, to start with. Rah should be fired b/c he is everyones homeboy and not their HC. You can stay if you stop having favorites, and start putting some DISCIPLINE in this team. If one player F**ks up then hold them accountable, and then do that with everyone on the roster. Not just a select few!!! Don't be scared of Talib and a few others. They are just a few punk b*tches!!! This team needs a Drill Sergeant as a Head Coach. I have served 27 months in Iraq, and know that Discipline goes a LONG WAY. If they dont want to change, then send them to the unemployment line.
  • avatar

    gibsonmx, thank you for your service and welcome back home. Many of the fans haven't been in the military so they don't understand the discipline thing; they just look at it based on their business experiences. the private sector runs things differently that the military or almost all college and pro sports. The Coach is the King/Dictator/NCO/Officer.
  • avatar

    @gibsonmx -- you're 100% correct. I've played football, coached football and served in the Army (by twist of fate and short time, during peacetime - thank you for your wartime service) and DISCIPLINE is clearly what's missing. The idea that you're on a first-name basis with your leadership is as ludicrous in football as it would be in the military. I always saw a LOT of parallels in the training and discipline and it WORKS for both. You understand more as you mature, but paramount is JUST OBEYING and following instructions, to the letter. Without this, you're going to SUCK (or be dead and take some buddies with you). In my mind, this is the biggest reason I believe Coach Morris is DONE (you can go from Raheem to Coach at this point, the cat's already out of the bag).
  • avatar

    Rah's famous, and often used quote, "stats are for losers" now applies to him. You are now officially a loser, so you can check your defense's stats, they are pitiful. You were never qualified for either of the jobs you hold, so please take your stat sheet and leave. By the way, I wouldn't use your stat sheet in your resume, it's terrible!!!!!
  • avatar

    Just think. We wound up being the same kind of team that we were beating last year. Sure is hard to listen to broadcasts talking about teams using the Tampa 2 . Seems like so many years ago. This game had to make John Lynch Sick. And then to see his friend Barber on the sideline.
  • avatar

    Hmmmm,,,,, Martyball???? I think I'd rather Fisher as head coach, Norv Turner as OC., Jack Delrio as DC and Herm Edwards as DB coach, and top it off with Mike Singletary as line coach,,, Fisher wasn't afraid to pull the plug on his starting QB and insert Collins, which put a fire under Vince Young and played well upon his return until the true child came through and he was relased and Fisher fired. If Rah would of had some balls and benched Freeman a game or two like other players, maybe just maybe his message would have gotten across but the hands off player's like Freeman, Talib, Winslow and others got the Free ride all yearand now look at this mess. Well can only wait and see what "Black Monday" brings forth and go from there.....
  • avatar

    fisher 16 seasons 5 winning, four playoff wins a few 8-8, screw him.marty shotteinheimer is the answer long as he doesn't bring his boy brian
  • avatar

    How about a list of all free agents that will be available we could beg the Glazers to bring in. After all if they fire Morris it's all on the fans not his record. So maybe we could force their hand to get free agents in here. Don't look to the draft to throw players in the fire. How did that work??
  • avatar

    It's an ugly cocktail of bad coaches coaching below average players. PR had the stat earlier this week, only 6-7 players from this squad would make another team. Outside of Freeman, Joseph, Penn, Clayborn, McCoy, Bowers, Price and Foster what do we have? Yes we need new coaches but they won't get much better when you have the worst LB and CB corp in history and no speed on offense. This needs to be a total overhaul and mindset change. Otherwise we will be having the same conversation next offseason.
  • avatar

    Top 5 pick, Hard to pass up Trent Richardson, cornerback and linebackers need so much love. Please get help in one of those position, and find a rb in free agency. No comment on game. Speaks for itself.
  • avatar

    cosdes, my guess is that the Vikings will pick him before us since AD has a long recovery period if he can ever come back to his original form; Caddy couldn't.
  • avatar

    This team just plain sucks. From the coaches to the players to the equipment managers to the ball boys. Morris will be fired which will only bring to light just how bad these players are during next season. When Morris isn't here to take all the blame fans will say, "Wow, these players really were just bad." My hope however is that they are only this bad because they are inexperienced. That doesn't go for everyone though. These are without a doubt the worst LB's I have ever seen at any level of football: NFL, college or high school. I just hope Foster is bad because he his at ILB instead of OLB. Biggers and S. Jones are history and I'm sure they aren't the only ones.
  • avatar

    Now that the nightmare is over, we can all crawl out from under our rocks and start picking up the pieces. The Glazers wanted a Mike Tomlin clone and now realize they never took in consideration that the Steelers had an implace support staff/owner that knew what they were doing and could catch the ball when Tomlin made a mistake. The Bucs had nothing and expected Raheem to build this thing himself. One day he might be able to do that, after years of experience in another organization, and he just might make a good head coach, for someone else. So, in the mean time we need a fixer upper, a builder, someone who will come in here and swing a big stick and whoever doesn't want to get with the program can pack his trash and move on regardless of his draft number or contract status. Not someone who will run with whats already in place, because obviously, their's nothing in place.
  • avatar

    Outstanding post, man.
  • avatar

    Let's see - Michael Turner was a free agent signing. Tony Gonzalez was a free agent signing. John Abraham was a free agent signing just to name a few. Glazer brothers, do you think the Falcons go to the play offs for three straight years without these guys!
  • avatar

    I don't believe we have ever given up 42 points in the first half: EVER!!!! Anyone who thought that the HC, DC, OC should be retained I hope that this game has finally shown you that we need a coaching change; a massive one. The players continue to get worse; just when you think it can't get worse it does. This is the worse coaching the Bucs have ever had. If I was the Glazer's I would fire them as soon as they get off the Bus at the Buc Parking Lot. I wouldn't contaminate the players anymore. Show some mercy for the players Glazer's if not for the fans. Please! This is a embarrassing and we are a complete joke to the NFL. I no longer have any sympathy for Raheem Morris because he just doesn't know what to do so he does nothing. You can't go from NFL Asst CB Coach one year to college CB Coach 1 year then to NFL CB Coach for two years and then to NFL Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. It has now been proven that this was a disaster in the making from day one and the Glazer's should be ashamed that they let this go on for so long. Just disgusting for Tampa Bay and the NFL; that's all I can say. I will no longer consider purchasing season tickets; I value my money more than this.
  • avatar

    Careful Horse. You know if the Glazers fire Morris we are going to get told that us fairweather fans forced the Glazers hand to do it. However. PLEASE CLEAR THE FIRING LINE PLEASE!!!lol Nice try. Good bye hopefully.
  • avatar

    dixieboy, we are now a mass of many. I believe that most fans have their eyes wide open now. I might also suggest Herm Edwards for the short term if they can't sign Fisher.
  • avatar

    I believe Jeff Fisher could be the answer, yes. I think his demeanor fits, his discipline. His record.... he often had an under-talented team overall and played in a tough division for a long time. No matter how you look at it, this is going to be a different team next season in many ways. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I know this team needs an upgrade in coaching but is Jeff Fisher really the answer? look at his stats, not really, WOWing stats...
  • avatar

    What this young team needs is a coach that isn't going to take any crap. Who disciplines his team as a whole without playing favorites with his players. We have young and talented players but we need to add some free agents. Jeff Fisher would be great for this young team. He would bring accountability to everyone on the team! Some of Fisher's best years were with a QB very similiar to Freeman. I doubt our ownership will do want is needed to secure any big name coach, so this probaly a useless point.
  • avatar

    This is the first week in 20 yrs that I couldn't bring myself to even watch the begining of this game, uggh!!! Jeff Fisher where are you?
  • avatar

    FIRE this Coaching Staff, Please!!!!!
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