The Bucs defense had three sacks and three takeaways against the Vikings on Thursday night.
What type of grade does the defensive line get? What type of grade does Tampa
Bay's secondary deserve? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's
defense played against Minnesota in the Bucs' 36-17 victory over the Vikings, and dishes out the game grades for
each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.
Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim recorded his first NFL sack in the second quarter and the first sack by the Bucs in 10 quarters. Te’o-Nesheim also had a big hit on Christian Ponder and finished with three tackles, including a tackle for a loss. Te’o-Nesheim had a great game at Minnesota, perhaps the best of his young NFL career.
Da’Quan Bowers saw his first action of the 2012 NFL season at right defensive end in pass rush situations and got his feet wet in game action since tearing his Achilles tendon last April.
Defensive end Michael Bennett had a sensational game and forced a fumble on Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson that was recovered by middle linebacker Mason Foster at the Bucs' 46 in the first quarter. Bennett now leads the team with three forced fumbles.
He also had five tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a sack, which was his team-leading fifth of the season. Bennett’s five sacks is a personal best. The only thing that marred his night was the fact that he injured his right ankle/foot in the last minute of the game.
Nose tackle Roy Miller was stout against the run and had one tackle for loss, while defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a quiet game with one tackle.
Ponder was hit, hurried and sacked all night thanks to pretty good pressure from Tampa Bay’s defensive line, especially Benett and Te’o-Nesheim.GRADE = BLINEBACKERS
Foster recovered a fumble by Simpson at the Tampa Bay 46 in the first quarter. Foster added his first sack of the season and the third of his career in arter. The Bucs middle linebacker had five tackles, including a tackle for a loss.
Bucs strongside linebacker Quincy Black recovered Adrian Peterson’s fumble at the Minnesota 36 in the second quarter, and finished with two tackles. Weakside linebacker Lavonte David was rather quiet with two tackles, which was the fewest of his young NFL career.
The linebackers did a reasonably well job against the run, although Peterson rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and could have done more to help out in the rushing game. Free safety Ronde Barber had to help out too much in run support and led the team with nine tackles, including eight solos.GRADE = B-SECONDARY
Barber led the team with nine tackles and forced a fumble on Peterson and had a tackle for a loss. It was another strong performance for the 37-year old veteran.
Strong safety Mark Barron had a solid game, but didn’t show up much in the stats sheet, finishing the game with two tackles.
Cornerback Eric Wright had a rather sub-par game with four tackles and a pass breakup. However, Wright gave up an 18-yard touchdown catch to Percy Harvin and missed an arm tackle on Peterson’s 64-yard touchdown run.
Cornerback E.J. Biggers had five tackles but disappointed in pass coverage by giving up a couple big passes to Simpson, including a 33-yarder on third-and-12. Biggers’ lack of awareness was on display on Thursday night.
Rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson got his first NFL start at nickel corner on Thursday night and had a team-high three pass breakups and his first career interception. He also had two tackles in a very strong performance.
Tampa Bay’s secondary gave up seven catches for 90 yards to Harvin and four passes to Michael Jenkins and allowed a mediocre quarterback like Ponder pass for 251 yards. GRADE = CSPECIAL TEAMS
Michael Koenen did a great job of keeping the ball away from Vikings return men Percy Harvin and Marcus Sherels. Harvin was forced into touchbacks seven times, but did return one kickoff for 43 yards. Sherels returned three punts for 31 yards with a long of 16.
Koenen averaged 46.8 yards on six punts with a 41.7-yard net.
Bucs return man Roscoe Parrish muffed his first punt return, but recovered the ball at the Minnesota 47. His next two punt returns were bobbled and almost fumbled, too. He finished with one yard on three attempts.
Kicker Connor Barth was 3-of-3 on field goals, nailing kicks from 28, 40 and 38 yards. Barth has only missed two field goals this year.GRADE = B
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