Which players made the most impact Sunday in the Bucs 16-10 loss to Dallas? Who had a sub-par game and needs to step things up next week
against the Redskins? Find out in this regular Pewter Report post-game
feature and let us know if you agree.
Pewter Report’s editor-in-chief Mark Cook takes a look at the Buccaneers' most impressive and disappointing players following a frustrating 16-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.Most Impressive BuccaneersDefensive end Michael Bennett
Bennett was nearly unblockable on Sunday at Dallas, dominating for most of the afternoon. Coming with a strong bull rush, and mixing it with speed rushes off the edge at times, Bennett had his best day as a pro against the Cowboys. On the afternoon Bennett was officially credited with four tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. With the apparent serious injury to fellow defensive end Adrian Clayborn, the Buccaneers will need to rely on Bennett even more as the season progresses.Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
McCoy, like Bennett, was a dominant force on Sunday against the Cowboys. McCoy used his quickness off the ball to get penetration often, disrupting not just Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, but also the running game. McCoy is already on track for Pro Bowl honors and even Comeback Player of the Year. On Sunday McCoy finished with identical stats as Bennett – four tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.Middle linebacker Mason Foster
Each week Foster makes more and more Bucs fan forget about the team not signing Curtis Lofton in free agency. Foster didn’t have a sensational game as he did last Sunday in New York, but he did lead all linebackers in tackles once again. The Buccaneers were able to corral the Cowboys' dangerous DeMarco Murray and part of the reason was because of the excellent play by Foster throughout the game on Sunday. The Bucs’ second-year starting middle linebacker finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and even added another stop on special teams, which saved a touchdown on Dez Bryant's 44-yard punt return.Cornerback Aqib Talib
After being torched and embarrassed by the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks last week, Talib knew he needed to bounce back. Saying all week in open locker room that he had already forgotten about New York, Talib played like a man of his word. Talib picked off Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo on the first drive of the game and Tampa Bay was able to take an early lead, scoring a touchdown a few plays later. Talib was eager to play in front of his hometown fans and it showed for the most part on Sunday.
Defensive tackle Roy Miller, linebacker Lavonte David.Most DisappointingQuarterback Josh Freeman
From all accounts Freeman has done all the right things this offseason to prepare himself to have his best season as a professional. From arriving early, staying late and being a more vocal leader on offense, Freeman is playing the part perfectly. Unfortunately all of the extra work and preparation didn’t pay off on Sunday with Freeman having one of his worst games in his Buccaneers career. At times Freeman appeared to be completely lost, extremely indecisive and unwillingly to take any deep shots. PewterReport.com will spend this week attempting to try and figure out the issues. Was it Freeman? Or maybe offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan or something Dallas did unexpectedly? Perhaps it was a combination of all three. Regardless, the Bucs will not win many – if any – more games with an offensive performance like they had on Sunday in Dallas.Running back D.J. Ware
Ware’s glaring error was huge in the grand scheme of things. With the Buccaneers up 7-0, Tampa Bay was working out of bad field position when Freeman checked down to Ware, who settled down in front of the linebackers. Freeman's pass came in hot but was still a catchable ball. Instead of making the reception Ware had the ball bounce high off his chest then intercepted by Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, leading to a Dallas touchdown a few plays later.Running back Doug Martin
It is tough to tag Martin on the disappointing list, as the rookie from Boise State ran hard and found few creases to sneak through. But with high expectations also comes tough criticism. Martin carried the ball 19 times for just 53 yards, averaging just 2.8 yards. Take away his 17-yard scamper and his average drops to just 2.0 yards per carry. While Martin has been dependable, he has yet to live up to the expectations created when he was selected in the first round of April’s NFL draft. Martin is far from being a bust, but also far from being a superstar worthy of being a first-round pick at this point.Wide receivers Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson and Arrelious Benn
There is no need to make individual mentions as all three made the list for the same reason – the inability to separate from single coverage in several instances. Sure, the replacement referees are allowing a ton of contact past the five-yard mark, but the Buccaneers' receivers need to start being aggressive physically just the same. The surprising thing is receivers coach P.J. Fleck continually drilled and stressed the fundamentals of that specifically throughout training camp. The Buccaneers receivers must improve and use the inexperience of the replacement referees to their advantage in the coming weeks. The way to defend Tampa Bay’s receivers is now on tape and most would expect the Redskins defensive backs to follow in their division rival’s blueprint.Wide receiver Jordan Shipley
Shipley’s arrival was supposed to be an upgrade at the punt returner position but on Sunday it was just the opposite. Shipley did his best Preston Parker impression on Sunday, muffing a punt that cost the Buccaneers as Dallas converted the turnover into three points. Even on the punt returns he fielded cleanly, he was unable to change field position, averaging just 3.3 yards.Linebacker Dekoda Watson
Watson could have been a hero on Sunday but instead turned into a goat with a terrible angle he took on a second quarter attempted punt block. Watson easily beat the protection and was in perfect position to block Cowboys punter Chris Jones' kick. Somehow Watson missed and slammed into Jones, drawing a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. The only thing that worked in Watson’s favor was the punt was the one that Shipley ended up fumbling. However, the penalty still added an additional 15 yards from the recovery spot for Dallas.
Tight end Danny Noble, cornerback Eric Wright
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