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November 25, 2012 @ 8:19 pm
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PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Defensive Game Grades vs. Atlanta

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Which Tampa Bay defensive unit earned a "D" grade against Atlanta? Which part of the Bucs defense earned the highest grade? Find out in this PewterReport.com article.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's
defense played against Atlanta in the Bucs' 24-23 loss to the Falcons, and dishes out the game grades for each defensive unit and the
Bucs special teams.


After being on a roll for the past month Tampa Bay’s defensive line failed to record a sack against Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. The most active defensive lineman was Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, who had four tackles and two tackles for loss. Te’o-Nesheim has been getting better over the past few weeks and played the best of any of his defensive linemates against Atlanta.

Fellow defensive ends Michael Bennett and Da’Quan Bowers didn’t show up on the stats sheet. Bennett, the Bucs’ leading sacker, had just one tackle, while Bowers didn’t post a tackle. However, he did have a hit on Ryan on the quarterback’s interception.

Defensive tackle Roy Miller and Gary Gibson played well against the run and had two tackles apiece, while fellow defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recovered a fumble, but didn’t record a tackle. McCoy needs to become more of a factor in the stats sheet and make more impact plays down the stretch.

Once again weakside linebacker Lavonte David led the Bucs with eight tackles (seven solo), but he did miss a couple of tackles in the run game. Still, the Falcons only rushed for 79 yards on 24 carries (3.3 avg.). However, the two rushing touchdowns were the killer in the end for Tampa Bay.

David had a tackle for loss, as did middle linebacker Mason Foster, who finished the game with six stops. Strongside linebacker Adam Hayward, who started his second game in place of Quincy Black, who was placed on injured reserve after the San Diego game, notched five tackles.

The Bucs linebackers corps didn’t have an overly strong performance against he pass, and missed tackles allowed the Falcons to gain too many yards after contact as Atlanta amassed 434 yards of total offense. Atlanta’s running backs – Jacquizz Rodgers, Michael Turner and Jason Snelling – all combined for eight catches for 76 yards, including a 32-yarder by Rodgers, which is way too many yards to surrender through the air.

A couple of Tampa Bay’s playmakers on Sunday came from the secondary. Free safety Ronde Barber had eight tackles, which tied David for the team lead. Barber also had a tackle for loss and notched his 47th career interception in the second quarter, which led to a Tampa Bay field goal. The pick was Barber’s fourth of the year, which leads the team.

Cornerback E.J. Biggers had a fairly solid game with six tackles (all solo), a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble on his first career sack. His sack came in the fourth quarter and set up a Tampa Bay field goal. Biggers might have played his best game of the season on Sunday.

The same could not be said of the other members of Tampa Bay’s secondary. While rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson had a career-high seven tackles against Atlanta, he gave up a momentum-changing, 80-yard touchdown catch to Julio Jones in the third quarter. Johnson missed a tackle on that play, in addition to several other missed tackles throughout the game. Jones finished the game with six catches for 147 yards and one touchdown.

LeQuan Lewis surrendered a 29-yard catch-and-run play by Roddy White, who had five catches for 57 yards. Lewis had two tackles while playing in place of injured cornerback Eric Wright, who was inactive with a sore Achilles tendon.

Cornerback Danny Gorrer saw his first action as a Buccaneer and played sparingly, but didn’t show up on the stats sheet.

The play of the team’s other safeties, Mark Barron and Ahmad Black, was average at best. Barron didn’t make any game-changing plays and finished with five tackles. Black had one tackle, but did commit a costly defensive holding penalty in the end zone on Harry Douglas on third-and-goal from the Bucs’ 5-yard line. The result of the penalty was a first down at the Tampa Bay 3 and running back Michael Turner scored on the next play.

As usual, the secondary gave up more plays than it made over the course of the game and allowed Matt Ryan to complete 26-of-32 passes for 353 yards and one touchdown with one interception. The Falcons converted 8-of-13 third downs (62 percent), many of which came via Ryan’s passes.

The Bucs played reasonably well on special teams against the Falcons. While kicker Connor Barth missed a crucial 56-yard field in the fourth quarter that could have provided the team with the necessary points to win, the miss was forgivable due to the distance. Barth connected on his first three field goals from 22, 42 and 48 yards, and now has 20 made field goals this season.

Michael Koenen had two punts that averaged 50 yards with a net of 45 yards. Four of his six kickoffs were touchbacks, while the two that were returned by Jacquizz Rodgers averaged 36.5 yards, including a long of 43.

Donald Franks had a 10-yard punt return for the Falcons, while Roscoe Parrish fair caught his only punt return attempt of the day. LeQuan Lewis returned three kickoffs and averaged 21 yards per return with a long of 24 yards.

Last modified on Monday, 03 December 2012 09:23

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  • avatar

    Last year I was not happy with the play of Roy Miller, but he has improved and has been good at stopping the run this year. I think Bowers will develop into an outstanding player, but he has not had enough starting experience yet. Even our backup Defensive Linemen have been decent this year. When we get Claiborne back next year, I think our Defensive Line wil be a lot better at pressuring the passer. We also will have some experienced DBs that just needed to get some experience on the field, who will be solid backups when we get more talented starters in the draft next year or pick up some from other teams. As usual, Scott, another very informative article and fair grades too.
  • avatar

    With the release of Babin by the Eagles, any chance we make a play for him?
  • avatar

    "Black had one tackle, but did commit a costly defensive holding penalty in the end zone on Harry Douglas on third-and-goal from the Bucs’ 5-yard line. The result of the penalty was a first down at the Tampa Bay 3 and running back Michael Turner scored on the next play." If you count turning a close win into a loss, then I guess you can say it was "costly."
  • avatar

    Note to Dominik, We need pass rushers and TWO CB'S next year. We need two TOP CB'S not six and seventh rounders or non drafted players.
  • avatar

    Eastend, 'm looking at the Giants blue print. They never seem to run out of guys who can get to the Q.B..Osi goes down, Strahan retired no problem, Paul comes in the pressure continues. No doubt we need to up grade at corner, but you can't ever say we have enough pass rushers.
  • avatar

    Well said macabee. It's amazing how impatient and ultra-critical some fans can be. There is no question that our group of CB's has to be the least credible in the league. The highest draft choice is a 3rd round turd, a 7th rounder who missed all of training camp, an injured free agent whose play has been spotty and a collection of cast-offs. Barron is still learning. The great # 47 rarely was on the field his first year and neither was # 20. I have to agree though, there are times when McCoy is practically invisible since Clayborn went down. Always need pass rushers and right now there is no one who is feared by the opponent.
  • avatar

    Patience brothers, our veterans are playing hurt, many of them on IR, and our rookies (more than any other NFL team) are still learning to play the game and have never played this many games before. We are competitive despite these disadvantages, but we are far from being that team. It will come, but it will take time. Of all the things I dislike, it is losing I dislike most. But in this case, I understand why.
  • avatar

    Surfer dudes- I hear your point and totally agree that the only times our defense looks serviceable is when we get pressure on the QB....but I think what you're asking for was meant to be Clayborn/Bowers/mcCoy/price ...price is gone, McCoy is playing well, I think Clayborn Will get another shot next year, I think Bowers will too, and if we keep Bennett he'll be in the mix, so I can't really see more money being spent on he D-line right now.
  • avatar

    Horse - I understand the desire to see Barron as good - he's a big investment, but what can you say in his defense? He is getting worse against the run as the year goes on , he is awful in coverage, what's he doing right? I haven't given up on him...I still think he can be a good run stopping safety but he's a long way from being an elite safety like some of the guys he was compared to were early in their careers.
  • avatar

    A lot has been said about drafting corners, but what college kid is going to come in and shut down the likes of J Jones, and R White? Watching the 49er's today take down the Saints they did it by taking down Brees. The Giants are on top of the Pack by being on top of Rogers. The rules of the game are set up to favor receivers, if any Q.B. gets time someone will be open. We need game changing pass rushers, not cover guys. I'm hoping the Bucs use their first pick on the best pass rushing player they can get.
  • avatar

    We will never be a good team until this Defensive Line starts to play as good as their Draft positions would indicate. McCoy has all but become a non factor in the game. It is time for Bowers to step up and take a leadership position and start playing like he did in college. Bennett was having a pro bowl year but seems to have slipped as well. If not for our Linebacking corps this team would be in real trouble. Thank goodness Barber still plays like he did when he was in his mid twenties.
  • avatar

    Good grades Mark. Why are some Soundoff's all over Barron? He played okay and I agree that he had no stand out plays, but he also had no major mistakes. I think he is banged up and is working through it all. Also the same for the backfied coach? He has done nothing wrong infact; considering the situation he has done a good job with what he has.
  • avatar

    Was Mark Barron even on the field....the 2012 draft will go down as one of our best ever but it will be thanks to Martin and David.
  • avatar

    I give Barber an A, David an A, Foster a B, everybody else an F
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