Which Buccaneers offensive unit received the highest grade for its
performance from Pewter Report in Tampa Bay's 16-10 victory over
Carolina in the 2012 season opener? Find out in this Pewter Report
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played against Carolina in the Buccaneers' 16-10 over the
Panthers in the 2012 season opener, and dishes out the game grades for
each offensive unit.BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACKS
Josh Freeman started the game on fire going 7-of-7 for 52 yards, scoring on the opening touchdown drive, something accomplished just once in 2011. While Freeman’s stats weren’t gaudy by any stretch (16-of-24, 138 yards and one TD) the fourth-year pro managed the game to perfection for the most part.
Freeman looked very comfortable and his decision-making was much improved, rarely forcing throws, and scrambling when necessary.
2012 is an important year for Freeman and so far so good under the tutelage of quarterback coach Ron Turner and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.GAME GRADE= B+BUCCANEERS RUNNING BACKS
Doug Martin earned the starting nod with a solid training camp and preseason, and was the Buccaneers’ primary workhorse Sunday carrying the football 24 times for 95 yards (4.0 average) with a long of 15 yards that took place in the fourth quarter, icing the win for Tampa Bay.
In addition, Martin caught four Freeman passes for 23 yards including a great leaping catch over a linebacker in the first quarter.
Martin ran hard and physical and while he didn’t break off any highlight reel runs, the former Boise State star showcased his versatility with his running, receiving and pass blocking.
LeGarrette Blount had just three touches and managed just eight yards. Blount did have one of his patented leaps over a Carolina defender but was shaken up later in the series and didn’t return, making some question the nature of the injury. After the game Blount was seen jogging out of the locker room and didn’t appear to be suffering any ill effects of an injury.
Newly signed running back rried the football two times for 14 yards, with a long of eight yards. Ware, signed earlier this week, is still getting up to speed on the playbook but may provide the team the typical third-down back role in the upcoming weeks.
FB Eric Lorig had four receptions for 21 yards on the afternoon, matching his total in 2011.GAME GRADE = BBUCCANEERS OFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line wasn’t spectacular, but solid, and provided Freeman ample time in the pocket for the most part, except for a short span in the third quarter in which the offensive line gave up two sacks.
The dynamics of having Larsen replace Davin Joseph in the lineup was a big topic of conversation at One Buc this week and the results were mixed. Larsen was guilty of giving up on of the two sacks and also has a false start penalty plus a crucial holding call that negated a 31-yard Freeman-to-Vincent Jackson completion. But the Buccaneers were able to grind out a decent day on the ground and Larsen deserves some of that credit.
RT Jeremy Trueblood was solid for the most part expect for one play in the third quarter in which he was beaten on a speed outside rush by Charles Johnson which contributed to a sack of Freeman.
RT Donald Penn probably wouldn’t say he had his best games as a pro Sunday, but failed to give up a sack, although there were a few pressures coming from the left side.
The Panthers defensive line won’t be confused with the Giants defensive line any time soon, so this week was a good tune up. But for the Bucs offensive line they will need to play even better in order to leave the Meadowlands with a win next Sunday.GAME GRADE = B-BUCCANEERS TIGHT ENDS
If watched the Giants in 2011 you didn’t see a ton of tight end targets and it looks as if new Buccaneers Sunday, just Dallas Clark had a reception, but it was a big first half completion to Dallas Clark for 33 yards. Clark and Stocker both were used at times in short yardage and seemed to do a good job blocking.
While the tight ends were rarely targeted it could have been just this week’s game plan, and it may take a few weeks to determine how the staff plan to use Clark and Stocker.GAME GRADE =BBUCCANEERS WIDE RECEIVERS
When a team throw for just 138 yards the wide receiving corps usually isn’t very involved, and while the numbers indicate just that, both Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams were key in the victory Sunday against Carolina.
Jackson was the team’s tops receiver nabbing four Freeman passes for 47 yards. But the veteran had at least two drops, something that plagued him during training camp. Jackson also had a 33-yard reception in the second half but it was wiped out due to a Larsen holding call.
Mike Williams was quiet for the most part but with Jackson being doubled-teamed in the redzone the former Syracuse receiver was able to settle down in the end zone for the Buccaneers only touchdown of the game, a six-yard strike from Freeman.
Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter were both held without a reception Sunday.GAME GRADE = B
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