Which Buccaneers players stood out in the loss to the Redskins on Sunday? Which players will watch the game film with their hands covering their faces? Find out what editor-in-chief Mark Cook thinks and tell us if you agree in this PewterReport.com weekly feature.
The Buccaneers squandered a great opportunity to enter the bye week sitting at .500, but were unable to hold off a late charge by the Washington Redskins led by rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. Below is the list of the most impressive and most disappointing performances from the 24-22 loss.Most ImpressiveKicker Connor Barth
In the world of sports the term being “in the zone” is used quite frequently. For Connor Barth, being “in the zone” may be an understatement. Barth had three field goals on Sunday, from 50 and 57 yards, then calmly – with the game on the line – nailed a 47-yarder than put the Buccaneers in front 22-21. Barth isn’t just making field goals – he is splitting the uprights. It will be interesting to see how he responds when he finally misses one. For now the Buccaneers and their fans are enjoying the former Tar Heel and his franchise record streak of 25 in a row.Defensive End Michael Bennett
When the Buccaneers signed Bennett in the offseason to a one-year, $2.7 million deal most felt that seemed about right for a defensive end with 6.0 career sacks, including career-high 4.0 sacks in 2011. So far Bennett may be the best move the Buccaneers made in the offseason. On Sunday against the Redskins, Bennett managed just two tackles, but one was for loss, and also added his team leading fourth sack of the season. With fellow defensive end Adrian Clayborn out for the season with a knee injury, defenses will begin to key on Bennett, and things may get much tougher. However, if Bennett continues his stellar play the Buccaneers may not be able to afford his next contract.Quarterback Josh Freeman
For the first time in Pewter Report history a player made both the most impressive – and disappointing list. Freeman struggled in the first half, but as he did often in 2010, led a fourth quarter charge, and put the Buccaneers in the lead. Freeman plays better when challenged and when he takes chances down the field. No one questions his athletic ability, but more his decision-making. Hopefully the coaching staff realizes it is time to take the reigns off and see exactly what Freeman is made of. Sink or swim – the Buccaneers need to know if Freeman is the Freeman of 2010 or the Freeman of 2011. On the day Freeman finished 24-of-39 for 299 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Linebacker Lavonte David
While rookies Mark Barron and Doug Martin came to Tampa Bay with much more fanfare, first-year linebacker Lavonte David has outplayed the two players chosen ahead of him in last April’s draft. On Sunday against the Redskins David missed a couple key tackles but still led all defensive players with 14 stops, including a whopping three for loss. David is a tackling machine with 33 tackles on the season, including six for loss.Wide Receiver Mike Williams
Williams was the recipient of Freeman’s willingness to finally take a shot downfield, and Tampa Bay’s third-year receiver made the most of it, hauling in a 65-yard pass to spark the dull offense on Sunday. Williams did a nice job of also running after the catch and didn’t have any drops on the day. On the afternoon Williams hauled in four receptions for 115 yards.Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson
Jackson showed why the Buccaneers forked out $55.5 million for the former Chargers’ receiver with his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. Jackson and Williams were the first Buccaneers receiving duo to go over the 100-yard mark in the same game since 1992 when Mark Carrier and Lawrence Dawsey accomplished the same feat.Honorable Mention:
Punter Michael Koenen, linebacker Mason FosterMost DisappointingQuarterback Josh Freeman
As mentioned prior, Freeman is the first player to receiver both impressive and disappointing honors since PewterReport.com began this post-game feature. Freeman started the game off hot, then went cold, and then finished strongly. But it was the times when he was cold that hurt the Buccaneers the most. Yes the play calling could have helped, but there was a stretch midway through the second and into the third quarter (5-for-13 and 24 yards) when Freeman’s passes were off target with receivers open. It is clear Freeman may not be the type of quarterback who will consistently put up 23-of-27 for 300 yard type days, but for the Buccaneers to succeed, he must help at least extend drives and give his receivers an opportunity to make plays. Fullback Eric Lorig
Lorig wasn’t bad the entire game, but had a two-play stretch where he committed two penalties in a row. The first was a holding call on a punt return backing the Buccaneers up to their own 6-yard line, then on the first offensive play of the next series, committed a false start pushing the Bucs back to their own 3-yard line.Guard Ted Larsen
Larsen was decent in pass protection, however, it is clear the Buccaneers struggle when running to his side. Larsen’s most glaring error was a critical false start in the fourth quarter when the Buccaneers were attempting a two-point conversion after LeGarrette Blount’s 2-yard touchdown run. Tampa Bay was backed up to the 7-yard line and Freeman was unable to connect on the next play.Defensive Tackle Roy Miller
Miller has been an important part of the Buccaneers’ defensive success in defending the run, but Sunday found himself washed out of several plays allowing the middle to be wide open. The Buccaneers were gashed up the middle by the Redskins Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III on several plays. While all the blame can’t be placed on Miller, looking at the stat sheet (one tackle, one assist) it is clear Miller didn’t have his best game.Linebacker Quincy Black
Black didn’t commit any glaring errors but was beaten in pass coverage twice, losing sight of Redskins tight end Fred Davis, and fullback Darrel Young during the course of the game, surrendering first down receptions. With Mason Foster and Lavonte David combining for 24 tackles, Black’s lack of numbers (one tackle, one assist) really stands out.Dishonorable Mention:
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, safety Ronde Barber, tight end Dallas Clark
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