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November 12, 2012 @ 11:37 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

PR Analysis:Tampa Bay's Offensive Game Grades vs. San Diego

Written by Pewter
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The Buccaneers offense didn't light up the stat sheet but still came out on top with a 34-24 win over the Chargers to improve their record to 5-4. What grade did QB Josh Freeman deserve? How kind of job did the line do on Sunday and how did the receivers and running backs fare? Find out in this Pewter report weekly feature.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook and Dory LeBlanc offers up their analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played against San Diego in the Bucs' 34-24 victory over the Chargers, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.


Josh Freeman is making it an easy decision whether to re-sign him in the offseason instead of waiting until his contract ends after the 2013 season. With five straight games boasting a QB rating over 100, Freeman is maturing into a weapon as opposed to just a game manager.

On Sunday the Chargers did a good job of keeping running back Doug Martin from reeling off any back-breaking long runs as he did the week before at Oakland, and also of disguising their secondary coverage. But Freeman waded through the pre-snap chess game and made the correct reads for the most part. He had a couple errant throws but for most part made seemed to know exactly where the correct read was, something Freeman has struggled with in season’s past.

Freeman finished 14-of-20 for 210 yards and two touchdowns and a 137.5 QB rating. Maybe more impressive, and more importantly, is the intelligence and poise Freeman has shown since the bye week.

The Chargers were probably just as amazed with Martin’s performance last week as the rest of the league. San Diego did a good job of limiting Martin in the second half, but the former Boise State star still did enough damage to keep Norv Turner and his staff impressed.

Martin was just an ankle tackle away on a couple of occasions from reeling off some more highlight reel runs on Sunday. Still, for the afternoon, Martin collected over 100 yards from scrimmage with 68 yards rushing and another 51 as a receiver, including a 42-yard reception in the first half.

LeGarrette Blount was again used sparingly; totaling just one carry for three yards, and D.J. Ware also added just one carry for minus-1 yard.

The Buccaneers targeted their receivers just 14 times on the afternoon but when their numbers were called, they delivered.

Former Charger Vincent Jackson didn’t have a monster game as he has had a few times this season but still managed to inflict enough damage on his former teammates to help the Buccaneers come out on top. On the afternoon Jackson finished with five receptions for 59 yards.

Mike Williams continued his amazing bounce back season with another solid outing, catching two Freeman tosses for 64 yards, including a Buccaneers team long 54-yarder on a pass that was a little underthrown.

Tiquan Underwood goes stretches without much of an impact but when he is called upon the former Rutgers receiver makes the most of his limited opportunities. Underwood had two receptions for 22 yards on Sunday and a touchdown.


With one minute left in the first quarter, San Diego ILB  Donald Butler took Freeman down  for a loss of five yards, but aside from that sack Tampa Bay’s patchwork O-Line gave the fourth-year QB great protection on Sunday. Freeman had plenty of time on certain plays to find open receivers and notched his fourth game without an interception.

The Chargers entered the game fourth in the league in run defense, holding opponents to 84 yards on the ground per contest, so Martin was in for a battle from the opening kickoff. The Bucs’ run game has been outstanding the past two weeks largely due in part to the blocking in the trenches. Against San Diego, the Bucs backs had 21 rushing attempts and Freeman had a four-yard scamper. The rookie sensation only tallied 68 yards on the ground and averaged 3.6 yards per carry.


After weeks where the Tampa Bay tight ends looked like they were being used more in the playbook, the corps seamed to fall a few steps back Sunday, but there’s good reason for it.

Generally tight ends are used most often against Cover 2 schemed teams. as the coverage favors open TEs in the middle of the field, but San Diego’s 3-4 allows the linebackers to cover more space in the passing game.

Dallas Clark and Luke Stocker were each targeted once for a combined 11 yards. On the opening drive, Freeman marched the Bucs down the field and capped off the 80-yard drive with a three-yard toss to Clark who was wide open across the end zone threshold.

On a second-and-nine in the fourth quarter, Freeman fired a pass to Stocker for 11 yards, picking up the first down. Stocker’s blocking has been steady this year and he has caught five passes (one for a score).

The Bucs will utilize the tight ends more as the matchups are favorable, but for the little they are asked to do, they do well.

Last modified on Monday, 12 November 2012 11:51

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  • avatar

    To the Haterade crowd I can tell from your responses that you have not been to many games or even watched them on TV. I fly 1000 miles to games and have been to 3 so far. The way I know what the pre-snap read is, is the same way the DBs do. Free's head almost NEVER moves. He takes the snap, immediately stares at the WR he has decided to throw the ball to, and uses his athleticism to fit/force it in there. He only looks away from his preselected target when he is forced to scramble out of the pocket. On that long downfield pass referenced earlier, he only saw that WR in the middle left of the field because he was continuously staring at the WR on the left, and he held the ball long enough that the other WR drifted toward the left and into his field of vision. I was in the stands, I watch Free's head movement on virtually every pass play. What do you have to back your argument up with? That he is hitting on big exciting pass plays? I conceded that when I said his big play ability is impressive. All I am saying is that the guy RARELY goes thru a traditional QB progression. PR, I would love to hear your take on this, even if you need to smooth it over for sake of political correctness. Josh has physical talents but he misses open WRs because he so infrequently looks at the other half of the field. As I said, now tha Rah is finally gone and we have some good coaches, Free will learn to play the QB position more completely. Geez. Watch the guy play a little more carefully and then argue your point.
  • avatar

    Yeah... Freeman is progressing wonderfully. 2 more years into this system and ill be he's going to be unstoppable and be able to master any defense. He's been at a huge disadvantage with the change in coaches/systems/players that the top qb s never had to deal with so we should be awed by his progress this season. Heck, he's playing more consistenly than Eli in the same system right now! Don't you think that bodes well? As good as this team is right now, think about how amazing they could be next year when nicks, Joseph, clayborn and a new draft class comes in. I know we need corners, but I really hope they draft Hopkins and the rb from Clemson those two would make this offense unstoppable.
  • avatar

    Wow - have to disagree with you too Matador...what does Freeman have to do to impress some people. I have said it several times before on PR...Freeman is the best QB we have ever had (Steve Young issue aside). "Teams that can show confusing alignments will feast"....don't you think ever team we've played this year has been trying to show confusing alignments...come on man, give the boy some credit!
  • avatar

    "He almost never deviates from his pre-snap decision". So Matador, how do you or any of us know what his pre-snap decision is? Oh, it's the primary target of the play which I can assure you isn't announced to the crowd. Watch the other QB's in this league, aside from the certain Hall of Fame candidates, and # 5 compares favorably with any of them. How about Freeman's draft class member Mark Sanchez and even Mathew Stafford? Would you trade Josh for either of them? Instead of picking apart his game seeking perfection; how about be thrilled that this important piece of the puzzle is solved? Don't forget, Brees was run out of San Diego at this point of his career.
  • avatar

    PR what game were you watching the under thrown 54 yard pass from? I watched a replay of that play and it was basically picture perfect. Williams didn't break stride or have to stretch for it, he simply put his arms out and it fell perfectly in his hands. So perfect the two dbs had no play until after he caught it. It was almost just like the td pass to V Jack last week. Are you saying under thrown because it didn't go for a td? It was because they were right there when he caught the ball. Freeman has one of the prettiest long passes when he connects. Hey matador what are you talking about Free not reading his progressions or forcing passes? Did you know on the Underwood td he was the 3rd read? Freeman doesn't do anything different that other good qbs who have a legit #1 receiver do and that is they lock in on them until they have no play on them. If Jackson got open every play any qb would throw it to him every time . Drew Brees even misses wide open receivers from time to time. How do you figure Freeman is not an intelligent qb? Michael Vick plays on his athletic ability not Free. Not sure if I like where your head is with that one. When you listen to him speak he doesn't sound the least bit ignorant. He is "so well spoken". Wonder if you know why that is in quotation marks. Peyton Manning one of the most cerebral in the game doesn't always see every player on the field. As for forcing passes a 13 to 1 td/int ratio in the last 5 games shoiws he's not forcing his throws. I think you're still stuck in last year.
  • avatar

    With all due respect Matador, I couldn't disagree more. There were many doubters of Freeman after last year...many posters calling for the Bucs to replace him and most citing that he is not a "franchise QB". Thus far this year...through 9 games...I believe he has proven that he is a franchise QB and contender for the Pro Bowl...completing passes without interceptions (knock on wood). He may not yet be the caliber of Manning, Brees, and Brady, but the level he is currently playing puts him in the top 8 or 10 in the league. IMO, he has the skills to eventually take this team to the Super Bowl...yes, I said eventually.
  • avatar

    TE's appear high as noted before; everything else i agree with.
  • avatar

    Free is impressing me with his big play ability. It is encouraging to read that he is working through his pre-snap reads and accurately selecting the correct WR to throw to before the ball is snapped. What he still needs to learn to do is to go thru the progression once he has the ball in his hands. He almost never deviates from his pre-snap decision, even if it means forcing the ball where he shouldn't, at the expense of not seeing (really, never even looking for) wide open WRs far too often. Teams that can show confusing alignments will feast on that. Free's home run hitting ability, in the form of a big arm capable of getting balls far downfield with reasonably, though not great, accuracy, has been enough the last handful of games, but he MUST progress to where he is playing the game like a real, intelligent QB who sees the whole field, instead of playing like an instinctive QB who is getting by on his athleticism. No sign of that progression this season, hoping that another offseason with this quality coaching staff can help him get there.
  • avatar

    The TE's were eached targeted once for a total of 11 yards? Clark had 3 yard touchdown and Stocker caught a pass for 11 yards and a first down. 11+3=11? and that performance deserves an A. Underwood had 2 catches for 22 yards and a TD. Does he get an A also?
  • avatar

    I like to be positive but I think the TE grades have been a little too high this year.
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