What grade did Tampa Bay's secondary receive from Pewter Report in Tampa Bay's 41-34 loss at New York? What Bucs defensive unit fared the best? Find out in this Pewter Report
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's
defense played against New York in the Giants' 41-34 victory over the Bucs, and dishes out the game grades for
each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.
BUCCANEERS DEFENSIVE LINE
Tampa Bay’s defensive linemen were nearly invisible against New York. Defensive tackles Gerald McCoy, Roy Miller and Gary Gibson each had two tackles against the Giants, and defensive end Michael Bennett only had one stop. After making big strides last week against Carolina with a sack and several pressures, McCoy didn’t come close to Manning this week.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn didn’t even show up on the stats sheet against New York. Clayborn has had a bad start to the season and has totaled one tackle in two games thus far.
What was even more disturbing is the fact that none of the Bucs defensive linemen registered a sack against Eli Manning despite the fact that he dropped back to throw 51 times and Tampa Bay had the lead for nearly three quarters of the game. Manning was only hit twice after he threw the ball and that’s disgraceful.GAME GRADE = FBUCCANEERS LINEBACKERS
Middle linebacker Mason Foster made a big play by intercepting an Eli Manning pass intended for tight end Martellus Bennett at the New York 28 to set up Tampa Bay’s first touchdown. Foster also knocked running back Ahmad Bradshaw out of the game with a vicious tackle that jammed Bradshaw’s neck in the first half. He finished with a game-high 13 tackles (12 solo), including two tackles for loss, and a pass breakup, and might have played his best game in his two-year NFL career.
Weakside linebacker Lavonte David was quite active, finishing with a career-high eight tackles (seven solo) and two tackles for loss. Strongside linebacker Quincy Black contributed six le dime linebacker Dekoda Watson had one tackle on defense.
The Giants were able to rush for 94 yards on 25 carries (3.8 avg.), led by running back Andre Brown, who picked up 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries (5.5 avg.) – most of which came up the middle. That takes away from some of the good stuff Tampa Bay’s linebackers were able to do.GAME GRADE = BBUCCANEERS SECONDARY
Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib was targeted by Manning early in the first quarter as Hakeem Nicks had two catches for 48 yards, and Domenik Hixon had a 12-yard catch down into the Tampa Bay red zone on New York’s second possession. Nicks finished the day with 10 catches for 199 yards and a 23-yard touchdown against Talib, but his biggest play might have been a 50-yard catch-and-run play down to the Tampa Bay 11-yard line that set up New York’s game-winning touchdown.
Talib has never surrendered as many big plays as he did to a single receiver as he did on Sunday. The fact that he broke up four passes and finished with eight tackles doesn’t make up for Talib’s nightmarish day against Nicks.
Cornerback Eric Wright played a role in allowing Victor Cruz to roll up 179 yards on 11 catches against Tampa Bay before leaving in the third quarter with a back injury. Wright did have an amazing 60-yard interception return for a touchdown just before halftime. Wright finished with three tackles and a pass breakup in addition to his pick-six, and the Bucs missed his play terribly in the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Brandon McDonald intercepted Manning and returned the pick 41 yards down the sideline to help set up Tampa Bay’s second touchdown in the first half. McDonald got extended playing time outside at cornerback in the second half when Wright was injured. He had seven tackles and two pass breakups in addition to his pick, but also gave up a game-tying 33-yard touchdown to Bennett.
Strong safety Mark Barron had a solid game with 10 tackles and two pass breakups, while free safety Ronde Barber had his good day, which consisted of four tackles and three pass breakups tarnished by giving up Cruz’s 80-yard touchdown catch. Reserve safety Ahmad Black had one tackle against the Giants.
If not for the three interceptions and 15 pass breakups, the Bucs secondary would have received an F for playing a huge role in surrendering 510 passing yards.GAME GRADE = C-SPECIAL TEAMS GRADES
Arrelious Benn replaced rookie Michael Smith as the team’s kick returner against New York and he fumbled his first attempt, but Tampa Bay recovered. Outside of Benn’s 55-yard return to start the second half, Benn wasn’t overly spectacular and averaged 25.7 yards per return.
Up-back D.J. Ware returned a squib kick 18 yards in the fourth quarter.
Sammie Stroughter only had two punt returns, totaling 16 yards. Punter Michael Koenen had a good day punting, averaging 42 yards with a 38.2-yard net. He had three punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
Tampa Bay’s coverage units did okay. David Wilson averaged 28.7 yards on kick returns, and had a long of 44 yards. Ruben Randle averaged 11.5 yards on two punt returns. Fullback Erik Lorig and Watson each had two tackles to lead the Bucs’ special teams.
Kicker Connor Barth drilled a 47-yard field goal for the Bucs’ first points of the day and also had a 52-yarder to remain perfect for the year.GAME GRADE = B
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