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October 21, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Offensive Grades vs. New Orleans

Written by Dory
LeBlanc
Dory LeBlanc

Dory
LeBlanc

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
How did the Tampa Bay offense fare in the 28-35 loss to New Orleans Sunday? Did OC Mike Sullivan and the Bucs take advantage of one of the league’s worst defenses? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report’s Dory LeBlanc offers up her analysis on how Tampa Bay’s offense played against New Orleans in the heartbreaking 28-35 loss Sunday, and dishes out the game grades for the offensive units.

QUARTERBACK
Josh Freeman had a career-high 420 yards passing after completing 24-for-42 and three touchdowns without an interception Sunday against the Saints. The fourth-year QB was sharp for most of the day, but did have his inaccurate moments. Freeman has a tendency to get himself into a situation where he is throwing a series of incomplete passes, particularly in the fourth quarter. Against New Orleans, this lull in performance came in the fourth quarter when Freeman threw eight incomplete passes out of 15. The different against the Saints Sunday was that several New Orleans penalties kept the drive alive. The end result was Dallas Clark’s first touchdown of the season. 

One of the things that stood out the most was Freeman’s ability to make the short-to-intermediate throws. RBs Doug Martin and D.J. Ware, FB Erik Lorig, and TEs Clark and Luke Stocker were all involved in the short passing game in addition to Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Tiquan Underwood. Freeman’s favorite target, Jackson, saw the majority of targets and yardage and has proved to be one of the best free agent signing in recent Bucs history. 

Along with the 420 yards in the air, the former Wildcat ran twice for nine yards; the first  a 13-yard scramble to pick up a first down in second offensive drive of the game for Tampa Bay. His second run was after the 95-yard pass to Jackson in the third quarter, when on a 4-and-1 Freeman ran out of bounds for a loss of four, turning the ball over on downs. 

Freeman had some low release points which were tipped or batted down and ran backwards instead of into the end zone after Jackson’s 95-yarder in the third quarter but overall it was his best performance on the season; Freeman looked confident in the pocket, moved around it well, and was much more focused than in previous games.  
Grade = A

RUNNING BACKS
If there was ever a more yin and yang on Sunday, it was the Bucs’ run game. 

Doug Martin once again averaged over five yards per attempt after rushing for 85 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. For the second straight week, the rookie running back had a breakout over 20 yards in a 36-yard TD run in the first quarter that sent the Bucs to a 14-0 lead. The former Boise State Bronco was effective in the passing game once again, catching all three targets thrown at him for 37 yards. 

After last week, Bucs fans were clamoring for more LeGarrette Blount, some even saying he should be the starter. Following Sunday’s five attempts for minus-2 yards and minus-0.04 average per carry, there shouldn’t be many cries for Blount to replace Martin, and rightfully so. Blount’s performance is a big reason the Bucs’ didn’t break 100 yards on one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. 
Grade = C

WIDE RECEIVERS
Because Freeman spread the ball around to nine different receivers, Mike Williams wasn’t as involved as he had been the past few weeks. Also credit (or blame) Sullivan’s use of Clark and the mismatch between Vincent Jackson and Saints CB Patrick Robinson and it all added up to more receivers involved and one setting a franchise record. Williams was close to being the hero of the game as it appeared he caught the game-tying touchdown as time expired, but the play was called no good because Williams was pushed out of bounds, then re-entered the playing field and was the first player to touch the ball. Williams was legally pushed out by the Saints defender, due to Freeman being out of the pocket at the time he threw the ball. 

Jackson’s 216 receiving yards on seven catches eclipsed Mark Carrier’s 212 yards set in 1987 against the Saints. His 95-yard reception from Freeman also set the mark as the longest play in team history. The eight year veteran was leading the NFC South in average yards per reception, and after Sunday’s 30.9 yards per catch, he is sure to catapult even farther ahead of the rest of the pack. 

Tiquan Underwood was once again the third wide receiver and caught two passes for 35 yards, but more importantly, his first touchdown as a Buccaneer. 
Grade = A

OFFENSIVE LINE
Freeman is one of the least-sacked quarterbacks in the league, with nine in six games, so the offensive line is doing a steady job holding off the incoming pass rush assault, but Freeman is also getting rid of the ball quickly. On Sunday, Freeman dropped back 45 times, was sacked once and hit three times after letting go of the ball. In run blocking, the line helped Martin to a 5.3 yards per carry average, but the run game overall was held to only 98 yards on 25 attempts.

LT Demar Dotson and LG Jamon Meredith both committed an illegal use of hands penalty, while center Jeremy Zuttah had a bad snap that in the final quarter that sent Freeman back quite a few yards to retrieve the ball, then to throw it out of bounds to avoid the loss of field.

The most glaring error was the third down sequence when the Buccaneers failed to score on three straight runs from the one-yard line. Regardless of the play-calling, or Blount's inability to move a pile, the offensive line was challenged and failed miserably.
Grade: C-

TIGHT ENDS
Although it isn’t to the extent many thought it would be when he signed in May, Dallas Clark was a solid contributor against New Orleans on Sunday, finishing the game as the Bucs’ second leading receiver with 51 yards on five catches. The ten-year veteran also was able to grab his first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter, receiving a three-yard laser from Freeman. 

Second-year tight end Luke Stocker also got involved on Sunday, catching the one pass for 33 yards. 

Against the Saints’ Cover-2 defense, tight ends are left open often, so it was good to see offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan plan the offensive attack against a heavy-zoned scheme.

Clark and Stocker caught a combined 6-of-7 passes thrown at them for 84 yards and a touchdown. For tight ends it doesn’t get much better that that – from what we’ve seen of Sullivan’s playbook thus far.
Grade = A
Last modified on Sunday, 21 October 2012 19:49
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    so if the qb leaves the pocket, but is still behind the line of scrimmage, a defender is allowed to push a WR because of the threat of the qb running...wow! i've seen several penalties called on the defender after the qb starts to leave the pocket and slings the ball downfield...if the qb hasn't left the backfield and began to run, you can't redirect, push or hold a WR after 5 yds...there should have been off setting penalties on that last play...if the ref watched williams enough to know he stepped out, he should have also seen the push from the defender. and def not on jackson that he was caught from behind on that play...6'5" 230 and was "questionable" before the game because of a calf injury...he put us in position to score and the off coord called he worst sequence of plays for the entire game...
  • avatar


    The reason for this is that once a QB leaves the pocket, he's a threat to run. Receivers are allowed to block for their quarterback once he leaves the pocket, so it only makes sense that defensive players be granted the latitude to also get physical. However, if the QB throws the ball after leaving the pocker, pass interference can still be called. So Freeman leaving the pocket eliminated any chance of an illegal contact call. Had a receiver been pushed after he had thrown the ball, though, a flag for PI would have been thrown.
  • avatar


    If i was Blount i wouldn't dare resign with this garbage team thats been rebuilding for 6 or 7 years now! I'd walk an let them go back to the draft to find a new complement for Doug Martin
  • avatar


    Toss sweep on goal line. Second down should have been the play action roll out, not 4th down.
  • avatar

    Blount's average should be a minus-0.4 not 0.04. Not really a huge issue since the point is still the same
  • avatar


    Dory i can't agree with you that Blount is the reason we didn't crack 100 yards rushing on the day. Point blank, the guy carried the ball five times the entire game an 3 of them were on the goalline when the defense new it was coming. Even if Blount was so 1 dimensional as everyone claims, over the past two years he has been this teams only highlight reel machine. Arguably our best player on offense an we didn't draft him. Doug Martin wasn't drafted to compliment Blount he was drafted to replace him ( I wonder whose bright idea that was :- x )! Don't blame blount because he isn't getting close to the number of touches he needs to be productive. Doug Martin can't rush for 100 yards behind an OLine with so much invested in it but i recall Blount nearly breaking the 1000 yard mark in 2010 when we were shuffling Ted Larsen & Derek Hardman in the starting rotation all season long! Not to mention he didn't become the starter till after week 5 or so!
  • avatar


    And to think some people weeks ago thought Josh Freeman wasnt the answer at quarterback and that we needed another one, smh. The absence of Talib cost us this game. Also i hope they can get Mr. Bowers up and running bc McCoy is being double and triple teamed the whole game and needs another presence to take the attention off of him. And after Michael Bennetts big start where has he been? The DLine needs to step up, Minnesota is a must win and that will start with stopping Mr. Peterson. Good Luck fellas!
  • avatar

    Oh Stlbucsfan - The story is not over. The Saints' defense has made every QB this year look like Dan Marino. Now... I can't take anything away from him, because he took what they gave him and played an excellent game. Freeman will do enough to get another year next year, but I won't be surprised if we are going through these same discussions next year. As for yesterday... Great job Freeman!
  • avatar


    You again ehinote, lol. All I say is that i hope you're as wrong then as you are now.
  • avatar


    I was excited when we signed XJax this past offseason, but I have to say, even I have been surprised at the level he has produced at. As of right now he looks like one of the best wideouts in the game. His ability to run routes as well as he has is a very pleasant surprise. I didn't think of him this way when we signed him, but I think it's safe to say that there's no route on the tree that he can't execute with precision. Did anyone see that route he ran in the 2 minute drill on the first play of the last drive? It was artistic. Another one that stood out to me was when he continued working his way back to the ball when he was initially well-covered on a comeback route earlier in the game. On top of that, he has shown good hands, great leaping/body control, good blocking ability, and very good speed (his slow, injured run to the 1 yardline today notwithstanding). If things keep up like this, he'll go down on a short list of the best FA signings in team history along with Simeon Rice, Brad Johnson, and a select few others. Gotta love what we're getting from him.
  • avatar


    I was excited when we signed XJax this past offseason, but I have to say, even I have been surprised at the level he has produced at. As of right now he looks like one of the best wideouts in the game. His ability to run routes nearly as well as he has is a very pleasant surprise. I didn't think of him this way when we signed him, but I think it's safe to say that there's no route on the tree that he can't execute with precision. Did anyone see that route he ran in the 2 minute drill on the first play of the last drive? It was artistic. Another one that stood out to me was when he continued working his way back to the ball when he was initially well-covered on a comeback route earlier in the game. On top of that, he has shown good hands, great leaping/body control, good blocking ability, and very good speed (his slow, injured run to the 1 yardline today notwithstanding). If things keep up like this, he'll go down on a short list of the best FA signings in team history along with Simeon Rice, Brad Johnson, and a select few others. Gotta love what we're getting from him.
  • avatar


    What are your credentials? This is GARBAGE analysis!
  • avatar


    I don't blame Blount for the offensive line failing to drive the defenders back. I really like Blount and his hard-nosed style. But after watching # 27 for going on three years now, I have come to the conclusion that he is a big, athletic back who is difficult to tackle in the open field, but he is NOT a "power back" in the mold of the great # 40. He tends to tippytoe at the LOS instead of hitting the hole and churning forward. Martin is more of a powerback as evidenced by his valiant effort to gain every inch on a similar play.
  • avatar


    It's unfortunate, but I agree with your assessment of Blount. It doesn't really seem to make sense, but Blount is actually more of an elusive runner than he is a power back. Well, actually, it would probably be more true to say that he has power once he gets going and reaches the second level. He sure can deliver and take some hits once he's 2 steps beyond the D-line. That said, it's tough to argue at this point that he can be a short yardage guy. The comparisons of Martin to Rice were over-the-top and premature, but one way in which I think it's accurate is that Martin's small frame and quick feet could make him an excellent goalline back.
  • avatar


    Dory, I typically really respect both your thoughts and your writing overall, but I have a couple of issues with some of what you said. When you say that Blount was poor as a RB today it makes it sound like you simply checked a stat sheet rather than actually watching the games. The defense gave up penetration on ALL THREE of those goalline runs. Not once did LGB even get back to the line of scrimmage without getting hit. There was both interior and perimeter penetration. To blame Blount for even one of those goalline failures just doesn't make sense. Except for a select few RBs in history, a back can only be as good as his line. A RB typically shows his worth once he gets beyond the first level. I'm not saying all of this to say that LGB should be the lead back, because that's silly. DM is dynamic and significantly more multi-talented than Blount. But Blount isn't the "reason" we fell short of 100 yards rushing. That falls on (1) the O line failing to run block for either Blount or Martin in the 2nd half and (2) the team as a whole for getting down so much that it had to give up the run. These two points are not opinions - they are just facts.
  • avatar


    I am starting to think Jackson is as good as anyone in the NFL and better than most! There, I said it!
  • avatar


    To say Blount should not be the starter because he didn't have a good game, well you can say the same about Martin. To ask Blount to go in when everyone knows it's a run is not fair to Blount. Martin is a good third down back and until he can run for a couple of hundred yard games thats all he is. This is his sixth game and no hundred yard games as of yet. Blount playing half a season each of the last two years has a better yard per carry than Martin and a couple of hundred yard games, enough said.
  • avatar

    I assure you, Blount is not the only RB in the league who enters a game and the defense says "Oh, it's a run play." Schiano wanted a complete back. Martin has had three games with over 100 yards combined. That may not matter to you or other Blount fans, but it matters to the head coach.
  • avatar


    Thank you for the insight. You are the first to explain about the last play. Now I am not so unhappy with the call. Keep writing............
  • avatar


    He DEFINITELY slowed down. I hadn't though about the calf injury but it also didn't help that he kept looking back. We ALL know that you doing that slows you down too.
  • avatar


    Horse, I think you are a little unfair. He had a great game. And the terrible play calling on the 1 was even a bigger issue. You would have to admit, you would take that play from you own 4 yard line EVERY time.
  • avatar


    thunderchunky; I am not saying that jackson played bad, he played a good game. I am calling him out on one play, that's why the WR's get an A- from me and not an A. I have no complaints other than that one item mentioned for the Offense.
  • avatar


    I think you were a little tough on the OL; I'd give them a C+. WR's should have gotten an A-. Jackson should know better than run the left sideline down the field with the ball in his right hand versus the left hand where he could have stiffed armed the CB with his right hand when he caught up with him; he should have made the end zone for a touchdown. That was a college freshman error.
  • avatar

    This is my opinion only, but I think the calf injury had something to do with it. I'm rewatching, but from the Press Box it appeared he slowed down around the 30.
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