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October 21, 2012 @ 6:25 pm
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PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Defensive Game Grades vs. New Orleans

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The Bucs defense failed to record a sack against Drew Brees on Sunday. What type of grade does the D-line get? What type of grade does Tampa Bay's secondary deserve after surrendering 377 passing yards and four touchdowns? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's
defense played against New Orleans in the Bucs' 35-28 victory over the Chiefs, and dishes out the game grades for
each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.


Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy made his presence felt early on the Saints’ first possession. He deflected a Drew Brees pass at the line of scrimmage, which was intercepted by free safety Ronde Barber to set up Tampa Bay’s first touchdown. Unfortunately, that was it for McCoy and his fellow defensive linemen, who didn’t get close enough to Brees to pick him out of a police lineup.

The Bucs finished the game with any sacks or quarterback hits, which was disappointing and gave Brees plenty of time to throw the ball as he completed 27-of-37 passes for 377 yards with four touchdowns and only one interception.

On several third down situations, especially in the first half, Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan had the Bucs rushing just three defensive linemen against New Orleans on obvious passing downs and it backfired.

The defensive line did well against the run as McCoy finished with three tackles, while nose tackle Roy Miller had two stops. Defensive end Michael Bennett was invisible with one tackle for loss, and fellow end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was active against the run with three stops.

But this was a game in which pressuring was Brees was paramount, and the defensive line failed miserably – even though the Saints were often in max protection situations with tight ends and running backs staying in to block.

Against the run, Tampa Bay’s linebackers fared well, holding New Orleans to 81 yards rushing and one touchdown on 26 carries (3.1 avg.), but this unit did little in pass coverage, especially on third downs where the Saints converted 60 percent of their third downs (9-of-15) en route to rolling up 35 points and 458 total yards.

With the Buccaneers in nickel and dime defense throughout most of the game, strongside linebacker Quincy Black didn’t play much, recording only an assist. Middle linebacker Mason Foster had five tackles, including a tackle for loss, but did nothing sensational. Rookie weakside linebacker Lavonte David was tied for the lead with eight tackles, including two tackles for loss, and performed the best of all of Tampa Bay’s linebackers, but appeared to give up a touchdown to David Thomas right before halftime.

The Bucs linebackers had an average day, but did not make any splash plays outside of a pass breakup by David on Thomas in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay’s linebackers have to become playmakers – not just tacklers.

A week after recording his second interception of the season, which was returned 78 yards for a touchdown against Kansas City, Barber picked off Brees and returned it 30 yards to the New Orleans 13. That takeaway set up Tampa Bay’s first touchdown.

Brandon McDonald had a lapse in coverage in the first quarter and allowed Devery Henderson to record a 40-yard catch. That wasn’t the only miscue by Tampa Bay’s secondary as Marques Colston was wide open for a touchdown in the first quarter and a 17-yard gain in the second quarter to move the ball down to the Tampa Bay 10.

Strong safety Mark Barron missed a tackle that allowed Henderson to break free for a 30-yard gain in the second quarter, and he and Eric Wright also missed a tackle on Josh Morgan’s 48-yard touchdown right before halftime. Barron, who had a bad game and finished with seven tackles, and Wright, who had a game-leading eight, kept biting on Brees’ pump fakes, which helped Morgan, Colston and Lance Moore get open several times throughout the game.

Moore finished with nine catches for 121 yards, Colston had seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, in addition to Morgan’s 48-yard score. The Saints receivers were just getting open too easily against Tampa Bay’s secondary, which failed to adjust and clamp down in coverage in surrendering 377 yards passing to Brees.

Roscoe Parrish was true to his average on his first punt return, which was a 9-yarder, but finished with 15 yards on two carries (7.5 avg.) and did nothing special. Kick returner Arrelious Benn got impatient and foolishly decided to return a kickoff from eight yards deep in the end zone out to the Bucs 8-yard line, which was a huge mistake. Once again, Tampa Bay’s return game struggled mightily and it’s becoming a recurring theme.

The Bucs coverage units were sound, allowing just a 15-yard punt return from Darren Sproles, which proved to be harmless. All five of Michael Koenen’s kickoffs were touchbacks.

Koenen did a superb job punting, averaging 51.3 yards with a 47.5-yard net. He had two punts inside the 20 and no touchbacks with a long of 57 yards.

Kicker Connor Barth missed his only field goal attempt, a 42-yarder, which was a disappointment. Barth nailed 25 kicks in a row dating back to last year before missing from 55 yards last week. He’s now missed two of his last three field goals.

The Bucs also had a couple of special teams penalties in the game, including a running into the kicker call, but none worse than an unsportsmanlike conduct call after forcing New Orleans to attempt a 51-yard field goal. That gave the Saints 15 yards and an automatic first down, which led to their final touchdown and that proved to be the difference-maker in the game.

Last modified on Friday, 26 October 2012 01:02

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  • avatar

    I dont know if we can give the defensive line a D. You could have 3 reggie whites out there and they wouldnt have been able to get to Brees. Coaching again why the hell with a paper thin defensive line would you go just three and rely on horrid coverage. It made no sense!
  • avatar

    can anyone tell me why michael smith is not returning our kick offs? Parrish has done nothing special so i say activate smith and let him handle the return duties...dropping 8 in coverage and rushing 3 on those 3rd down situations all game was terrible...the 15yd penalty on 4th down was HUGE! the explanation of the rule is still confusing to me and you won't see that call again for 30 years, only on the bucs...i blame coaching for this loss, we have so many journeymen players plugging holes on defense that we need better called games on defense, put these guys in better position to make plays...
  • avatar

    Blamed the D.C. for blitzing to much against the Giants, now we blame him for rushing 3 to much.Truth is our D line sucks, address it in draft and F.A..Move Ronde to corner until Talib comes back.
  • avatar

    Looks like Sheridan broke out his gameplan from the Giants "season" and ran it again. But in his defense its tough when you are minus your top corner and pass rusher against the Saints. With that said playing coverage on every 3rd down will never be the answer, hopefully they take that away from this loss.
  • avatar

    That injury to Clayborn really hurt this team. There are only three DE's on the 53 man roster right now and they were all street free-agents. Throw in the journeymen DT back-ups and you have an extremely weak group in which McCoy has little chance to succeed. Each lineman was double-teamed allowing Brees to pull off his little pump fakes because he was never threatened. Hopefully Bowers can return to give McCoy a linemate who will command attention. Talib might have helped a little, but the issue was lack of talent up front.
  • avatar

    We knew going into the season that this was a young team. The last thing that any team can build is quality depth. hey, we've lost our best DL and our best OL so far this year, so they are doing OK trying to mask these issues on both lines. At least we're competitive this year so far - in every game.
  • avatar

    It's a shame our defensive coaches didn't learn more from watching the lasts 3 years of video on the Bucs vs. Saints games because Raheem Morris sure seemed to have Brees' number. Or maybe they just decided to try and beat them their own way. At any rate, I agree wtih these grades.
  • avatar

    Isn't there anyone in the Bucs coaching staff who knows the rules and regs? That goal line play (shift) was illegal in the NFL. Is their problem lack of knowledge or arrogance? My guess is a little of both. Bucs played a great game, but some of their coaches had their "toes off the line". If I were their coach, I would be thinking that this loss is on ME!
  • avatar

    jiggyjoe, you might want to take a refresher course on the rules, because that play was NOT illegal. There is a distinct difference between spoortsmanship and gamesmanship. In my opinion, calling what the line did on that field goal attempt unsportsmanlike conduct is akin to calling a playaction, a flea flicher, a hard count, oe a zone blitz unsportsmanlike conduct. Lateral shifts along the defensive line and lateral movements by linebackers are COMPLETELY legal. Schiano calling for that (or whoever made the call) was gamesmanship, not unsportsmanlike. I've still livid at the call that was made, and it's even more frustrating to hear fans try to defend the call. Unless someone on the defense yelled out signals to fool the offense, which I haven;t heard was the case, then there was no transgression.
  • avatar

    I agree that the shifting of the D Line is a legal move. That's why it has to be assumed that the penalty must have been one of our guys calling something out like a false snap count, etc. Looked to me like Foster may have been the culprit, as the DL moved on his gesturing.
  • avatar

    McCoy is so hot and cold this year. He is getting some tackles but no sacks and no pressures today. Brees made it look easy. We have to get some pressure on opposing QB's or we are going to have a long season. Rushing three defensive lineman is a mistake. We gotta blitz more
  • avatar

    Agreed. And it seems like the team wanted to run stunts which has never been McCoys strong suit. He is at his best when he pins his ears back and drive through the line. That along with the occasional blitzing will do wonders for the line. O and getting Bowers back. We need him desperately
  • avatar

    The Defensive Line caused many of the secondary problems. They get an F from me. The Defensive Coordinator gets an FFFF! I guess Sheridan has never seen Drew Brees play before????
  • avatar

    Three down lineman. We will never get there with the invisible Te, Bennet and McCoy. 4 down linemen and sometimes bringing 5 man.
  • avatar

    Teams are going to throw, throw , throw unless they can prove they can stop it.
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