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September 16, 2012 @ 8:18 pm
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PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Offensive Game Grades vs. New York

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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What grade did Tampa Bay's offensive units receive from Pewter Report in Tampa Bay's 41-34 loss at New York? What Bucsoffensive unit fared the best? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's
 offense played against New York in the Giants' 41-34 victory over the Bucs, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.

Most Bucs fans are probably split on the play of quarterback Josh Freeman. Some think he was solid and did enough, others may criticize his decision-making and his two interceptions. I am among the latter.

While Freeman certainly played well enough to put his team in position to win, he did not take over the game and actually win it, as his Giants counterpart Eli Manning did. One plus – and a sign of confidence and growth – was Freeman’s willingness to take some shots down the field – something he did way too infrequently last season. At other times Freeman looked hesitant and unsure what to do. And for the most part Freeman was well protected, especially considering the pedigree of the Giants pass rush.

Part of Freeman’s lackluster play at times could very well have been a result of the game plan. Overall it was a step up from last week, but not quite enough to get the job done.

It was clear the Giants were determined to stop the run, and for the most part, did just that. RB Doug Martin was less effective on Sunday than he was last week against the Panthers. Martin averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on Sunday and found little running room for a majority of the afternoon. Martin also failed to be targeted in the passing game, something many thought would be an effective weapon against the Giants pass rush. Overall Martin did what was asked, which included scoring his first NFL touchdown.

LeGarrette Blount was nowhere to be seen except for one play, and didn’t register a touch. Blount may still be feeling the effects of the pinched nerve suffered last week, but most likely has found himself third on the depth chart behind Martin and former Giant D.J. Ware.

Ware played sparingly himself, only carrying the ball one time for six yards, and FB Eric Lorig had just one reception on Sunday.

Vincent Jackson showed why the Buccaneers shelled out $55.5 million to lure the former Charger to Tampa Bay with a five-catch, 128-yard, one touchdown performance on Sunday against New York. Jackson completely rebounded after his shaky game last week against Carolina and could have had another TD reception had Freeman not overthrown him in the first half on a play where Jackson had two steps on his defender.

Mike Williams had a highlight-reel type catch late in the fourth to briefly tie the game, reminiscent of his 11-touchdown rookie season. But Williams also had a drive-killing mistake in the fourth quarter, failing to turn up field and reach the first down marker. The Buccaneers came up a yard short on the play and were forced to punt, instead of at the very least, working another three minutes off the clock.

The only other receiver to notch a Freeman pass was Sammie Stroughter to who nabbed a 16-yard third down reception from Freeman.

The Buccaneers were without starter Jeremy Trueblood on Sunday but reserve Demar Dotson more than held his own in pass protection. For the most part the entire line did a good job protecting Freeman who was sacked just twice on Sunday.

Ted Larsen was better than last week and had no glaring errors, and fellow guard and teammate Carl Nicks played another solid game. Center Jeremy Zuttah will most likely draw praise from the coaching staff as he appeared to – along with QB Josh Freeman – make the correct line calls. All in all, the pass protection was solid.

Opening up running lanes was another story however, as Buccaneers running back averaged less than four yards per carry. Part of that falls on offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan's shoulders as it seemed the Buccaneers were determined to run behind Larsen and Dotson as opposed to the Nicks and Donald Penn.

For the first three and a half quarters one might have wondered if Sullivan completely forgot the Buccaneers signed Dallas Clark in the offseason. Moslty ignored until late in the second half, Freeman and Sullivan finally decided to get Clark involved and the veteran responded with four fourth quarter receptions, and finished the game with four catches for 33 yards.

The Buccaneers didn’t attempt to throw to Luke Stocker who missed at least two key blocks on running plays during the course of the game. Stocker looked late getting out of his stance on the two plays in questioned and allowed penetration that resulted in less than stellar results.

Last modified on Monday, 17 September 2012 11:54

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  • avatar

    I am losing confidence in Josh, he has not developed into the player I thought he could be.
  • avatar

    It is apparent to me, that the offense is being throttled back deliberately to avoid costly mistakes. In the fourth, after the Giants had scored 34, we saw what could happen when the shackles are taken off. Freeman quickly got the tieing score and after the Giants scored again, he moved us into position with two great throws despite having only 31 seconds and one time out. We will never know what would have happened if Williams' grab had been ruled complete, but we would have had two opportunities to score and I think they would have done it. This offense will get more explosive, when it gets more latitude to make plays. That will come as the coaches gain confidence in the players mastery of the scheme and ability to protect the ball. That said, the failure to be productive on the ground is what lost us this game.
  • avatar

    Sullivan's play calling needs to improve. In the last minute of the third quarter, just after the Giants had scored, the Bucs got the ball. All I was hoping for was for us to handle the kickoff cleanly and then run the ball once, and run out the quarter. The Bucs were still up, and they could have circled the wagons during the break and prepared for the final quarter. What did we get? A pass, incomplete. Okay, run the ball on second down. What did we get? Another pass, intercepted. I was not happy with that sequence at all. It was a key point in the game. Also, while I too would agree with some criticizing of Josh Freeman for some of his play in the first two games, we went ultra conservative for too long yesterday before finally throwing it a little more and to some different receivers other than V-Jax after we fell behind. The result? Alot more success. Josh needs to be sure to use his other receiving options. He has talented ones other than Jackson. I know Sullivan is learning, but he needs to learn quicker and call a better game. The same can be said for Bill Sheridan on the other side of the ball. He needed to adjust as Talib was repeatedly torched, and did very little. "Toes on the line"...it applies to not only players, but the coaching staff as well. Period. Plenty of room for improvement but a valiant effort none the less.
  • avatar

    I came away from the game fairly pleased overall. From what I noticed, we came out in totally different formations and plays from 1st to 2nd half. Maybe this was to counter any adjustments the Gmen might have made, but we looked very flat. Buddah mentioned J Free using his legs and I totally agree. More needs to be said of Josh picking up an easy 4 or 5 to shorten down and distance. 2nd/3rd & 6 are much more manageable than 2nd/3rd & 8-10. LOVED the down field looks. J Free has a cannon and I always wonder why he doesn't use it more.He needs to have more confidence in his receiving corps and throw a jump ball every now and then. That was the good I take away, now the bad. J Free PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! USE YOUR PROGRESSIONS!!!! It seems that J Free gets stuck on his first read and whatever side of the field that read is on. Dallas Clark knows how to find the open spots in the zone. HE NEEDS MORE FOCUS!!! Guy has great hands and needs to see the ball more. My feelings were hurt by the loss, but Donald Penn summed it up after the game "I know one thing, that everybody looking at this game, they know the Bucs ain't no joke. We ain't playing around this year." Keep the mentality up and fight to the final wistle! Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Way too tough on Freeman. He made one bad throw, which was immensely costly. I don't put much weight on the last interception, whenh he was in desperation mode. But he also threw some rockets and three of his four downfield throws were right on the money. He also threw the ball away several times when nothing was there. I think this game should give the coaches a lot of confidence. It's time to take the lid off and let the guy play. I do think he had some running lanes, but the Giants defensive front makes a lot of quarterbacks nervous. When he did have time, he was quite accurate. The drive that tied the game was a thing of beauty, 4-4 and some excellent decision making.
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