Tampa Bay's defense had a pair of sacks and INTs, including one for a touchdown against San Diego on Sunday, while the special teams scored a TD on a blocked punt.
What grade does Tampa
Bay's special teams deserve? What grade did the Bucs secondary receive? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's defense played against San Diego in the Bucs' 34-24 victory over the Chargers, and dishes out the game grades for each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.
The Bucs defensive line did too much stunting, which resulted in Tampa Bay not putting enough pressure on Philip Rivers in the first half. The Bucs went to a more conventional pass rush in the second half and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, who played a lot of defensive tackle in passing situations with Da’Quan Bowers being inserted at right defensive end, record a 10-yard sack. The sack was Te’o-Nesheim’s second of the season and he finished with five tackles, including one for a loss.
Defensive end Michael Bennett didn’t record a sack, but teamed with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to pressure Rivers on his second interception in the fourth quarter. Bennett finished with three tackles and a tackle for loss.
McCoy had another quiet game on the stats sheet with one tackle, but his two quarterback pressures were both on Rivers’ interceptions. McCoy needs to make more splash plays, but he was able to affect the outcome of Sunday’s game with a couple timely pressures.
Defensive tackle Roy Miller had three tackles, while Bowers and reserve defensive tackle Gary Gibson were shut out of the Bucs’ stats sheet. Tampa Bay’s defensive line has to generate more than one sack when a quarterback drops back to throw 37 times.GRADE = CLINEBACKERS
Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster gave up a 13-yard touchdown to tight end Antonio Gates because he didn’t drop deep enough in cover two in the first quarter. Foster made amends by dropping Rivers for a 4-yard sack in the second quarter, which was his second sack of the season. Foster finished with five tackles, including a tackle for loss.
Weakside linebacker Lavonte David is playing better than Derrick Brooks did as a rookie. David was an animal on Sunday and led the team in tackles with 14 (13 solo), including one for a loss. The Bucs’ second-round pick leads Tampa Bay with 81 tackles.
Strongside linebacker Quincy Black was having a great game for the Buccaneers with five tackles, including a tackle for loss, before being carted off the field with a head injury with 3:52 left in the third quarter. The Bucs went to nickel defense after Black was injured.
The Bucs linebackers didn’t do a great job in pass protection nor did they shut down the run as the Chargers rushed for 103 yards on 26 carries (4.0 avg.), but some of that blame must also fall on the defensive line.GRADE = BSECONDARY
Cornerback Leonard Johnson and free safety Ahmad Black didn’t make the tackle on Danario Alexander’s 80-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Johnson made up for that gaffe with a clutch, fourth quarter interception that he returned 83 yards for a touchdown. The pick was Johnson’s third in as many weeks and he is now tied for he team lead with three. Johnson finished the game with five tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
Starting cornerback Eric Wright injured his ankle in the first quarter and was replaced by LeQuan Lewis, who recorded his first interception in the NFL, in the fourth quarter. Lewis finished with one tackle and a pass breakup in addition to his pick.
Cornerback E.J. Biggers surrendered a 3-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Floyd right before halftime and struggled in coverage, as did Myron Lewis. Biggers posted four tackles and Lewis had two stops.
Strong safety Mark Barron was picked on in the first half by Philip Rivers, but played much better in the second half. He finished the game with six tackles and a pass breakup.
Free safety Ronde Barber didn’t have a particularly great game as he was penalized for defensive holding on a third down on San Diego’s second touchdown drive. He finished with four tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
Black played sparingly at free safety in the game and recorded three tackles.
Tampa Bay’s secondary allowed Rivers to throw for three touchdowns in the first half and 337 yards in the game. Yet for the third straight week, the beleaguered defensive backs have risen up in the fourth quarter with some interceptions that have sealed three straight victories for Tampa Bay.GRADE = C-SPECIAL TEAMS
Kick returner LeQuan Lewis bobbled his first kick return at the goal line and only managed a 10-yard return on his first attempt for Tampa Bay. But he made amends by downing a Michael Koenen punt at the 2-yard line in the third quarter. Koenen averaged 44.7 yards per punt with a 41-yard net. He didn’t have any touchbacks on his punts and had one downed inside the 20-yard line.
Koenen had five touchbacks on his kickoffs and only had two kickoffs returned for 51 yards. Eddie Royal only had one punt return for 11 yards for the Chargers, while Roscoe Parrish had a five-yard punt return for Tampa Bay.
The big play on special teams was a blocked kick by linebacker Dekoda Watson on a punt by Mike Scifres. Linebacker Adam Hayward scooped up the ball and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to put Tampa Bay ahead 24-21 in the third quarter.
Kicker Connor Barth made his lone field goal attempt, a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter, to add to Tampa Bay’s lead.GRADE = A-
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