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November 25, 2012 @ 8:28 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Come Close, But Can't Prevail: Most Impressive And Disappointing vs. Atlanta

Written by Eric
Horchy
Eric Horchy

Eric
Horchy

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Which players had outstanding games despite losing to the Falcons 24-23? Which players' performance came up short of expectations? Find out what Pewter Report thinks in the weekly Most Impressive and Disappointing feature.
The Buccaneers saw their four-game winning streak come to a halt on Sunday, dropping a tough 24-23 decision to their division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons. The loss leaves Tampa Bay with a 6-5 record and staring a tough remaining schedule.

The Buccaneers moved the ball well at times and even had some bright spots defensively, but overall the effort came up just short.

Most Impressive
RB Doug Martin
This certainly wasn’t Martin’s flashiest performance, yet the rookie still found the end zone on two occasions. He also managed to set a Buccaneers single-season rookie record for touchdowns with nine, breaking a three-way tie with Errict Rhett (1994) and Lars Tate (1988). Tampa Bay’s patchwork offensive line had trouble creating running lanes for Martin to hit cleanly and that contributed to a rather pedestrian stat line of 50 yards on 21 carries (2.38 yards per attempt). He pulled in two catches on two targets for another 13 yards, although Martin’s biggest splash play (a 42-yard catch-and-run in the second) was negated by RG James Meredith’s penalty for having his hands in a defender’s face. The Falcons actually had their choice of infractions to choose from on that play. RT Demar Dotson was also whistled for holding.

WR Vincent Jackson
Tampa Bay’s leading receiver again turned in an impactful effort, catching five of his seven targets for 96 yards. The highlight of Jackson’s day was making a beautiful 28-yard catch along the left sideline between two defenders. Even when QB Josh Freeman was without the ball, Jackson was the go-to target. One of the veteran’s five grabs came from WR Mike Williams when he dropped back after catching a receiver screen.

CB E.J. Biggers
The fourth-year corner’s play in Tampa Bay is probably known most for its unevenness. One step forward, one step back. He showed a little bit of both Sunday afternoon, but leaning more toward the positive. Biggers’ star shined brightest while owning an early fourth-quarter series that resulted in a turnover. He got in on four of Atlanta’s six plays, making four tackles, recording his first-career sack and forcing a fumble of QB Matt Ryan that was recovered by DT Gerald McCoy.

S Ronde Barber
Barber stepped up again as a defensive leader of this unit, tying for the game-high in tackles with eight and picking off Falcons QB Matt Ryan in the second quarter. After returning the interception 28 yards, Tampa Bay took over possession at the Atlanta 31 and eventually tied the game at 10-10 with a 22-yard Connor Barth field goal. Barber recorded one of the Bucs’ six tackles for loss.

QB Josh Freeman
Freeman ended his day with 256 yards on 19 of 30 passing, no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bucs passing attack didn’t come out guns blazing in terms of deep shots, but Freeman hit his receivers accurately almost all day. He and the Bucs did miss on a handful of red-zone tosses Sunday, but the Falcons secondary also locked down when it counted and Freeman didn’t compound any problems by getting picked off in the end zone. On the fourth-quarter drive following E.J. Biggers’ sack and forced fumble, Tampa Bay settled for a Connor Barth 48-yard field goal that put the Bucs ahead 23-17. The Bucs went three-and-out leading up to the kick, but TE Luke Stocker and WR Tiquan Underwood dropped first- and third-down passes, respectively.

MOST DISAPPOINTING
CB Leonard Johnson
The Tampa Bay defense had been doing a quality job limiting Atlanta from connecting on big plays. The Falcons’ highly ranked passing attack going against the Bucs’ lowly secondary earned plenty of attention leading up to the game and Tampa Bay could not escape without getting burned. Atlanta WR Julio Jones burst off the line midway through the third quarter, turned Johnson around and burned him on a 9 route for an 80-yard touchdown. The rookie from Largo High threw his helmet around and combined for a career-high seven tackles, but he was caught off guard and with no help when Jones and QB Matt Ryan attacked in the third.

OT Demar Dotson
Piecing together a high-quality offensive line from week to week has been a challenge this season and it showed at times Sunday afternoon. The unit surrendered two sacks of QB Josh Freeman and could not help jumpstart Tampa Bay’s ground game (21 carries for 50 yards). Although Dotson handled himself relatively well at times while often going against four-time Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham, he was whistled for two illegal hands to the face penalties. One of those negated what would have been the Bucs’ longest play from scrimmage, a 42-yard Doug Martin catch-and-run in the second quarter.

G Jamon Meredith
The right guard was in on that nullification of Martin’s 42-yard reception, though his penalty was waived in favor of Dotson’s. Meredith, a fourth-year backup forced into a starting role after multiple O-line injuries, had a rough day handling the likes of DTs Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters on the inside and was noticeably slow to pull on at least two occasions.

DE Michael Bennett
Tampa Bay’s sacks leader was practically invisible Sunday, registering just a single tackle on the final stat sheet. Atlanta never managed to get its ground game going against the Bucs front but Bennett and Tampa Bay rarely pressured QB Matt Ryan, either. The team’s sack and fumble came from CB E.J. Biggers and Bennett rarely had his number called while frequently being shoved out of the picture.

Last modified on Sunday, 25 November 2012 22:17
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    Barry - spot on; we must convert TDs in teh red zone.....at a minimum with first and goal we cannot ever get stopped...unfortunately that's more than once this year already that we have been stopped on first and goal. Jim - yes Freeman missed Williams...bad mistake. But come on man, if Freeman hasn't convinced you he is our franchise by now, what does the guy have to do....even Ryan threw a pick yesterday.
  • avatar


    Seriously!!! Josh was bad and that is two in a row minus the end fourth quarter last week.He Missed Three Touchdowns 1. Bucs roll Free right,cut the field, VJ primary read wide wide wide open in the right seem at the five, dead in front of him turns and throws it away, 2. Under throws VJ as he blasts by db has three times the gap in coverage and is seperating faster than atlanta's megatron on TD catch the previous pla,Ball was 8 yrds under thrown maybe more.3. Mike williams settles down at one yard line nobody covering him since the 15, safety is way late and Free now over throws the ball 8 yrds again. Seriously maybe one is acceptable but this is just plain poor play!! He just has to Hold and read way to long but is doing a better job over the middle in this aspect. BTW Barth makes five or six out of ten and ya gotta figure that is the last chance you have at a lead ? is would Matt B make the game Winner
  • avatar


    I would liked to have seen us go for the 4th and 7 . I think a 4th and 7 would have been easier to make than a 56 yard field goal, your not going to beat a team like atlanta kicking field goals. We had the lead , we needed to keep that drive going.
  • avatar


    I can't put Freeman on the list. No interceptions is great, but he's getting into Jeff Garcia-at-the-end-of-Gruden territory - missing wide open receivers and leaving points on the board. That series after the Biggers fumble was atrocious - it's one thing to just ignore an easy throw to Jackson, but then to miss Williams for a TD on the very next play is inexcusable. Sheridan's playcalling is finally getting guys open, but Josh can't miss those throws if we are going to be a playoff team and him be our franchise QB.
  • avatar


    Michael Bennett wont get starters money but the Bucs need to bring him back. When you are able to put him in a rotation with Bowers and Claiborne then he can stay fresh and have more impact when he's on the field. LJ was left alone in man coverage with one of the top WRs in the league with plenty of green in front of him, what did we honestly expect. If Tampa had handled business in the redzone the way they should have then none of this matters. The Bucs lost this game but with a few correctable changes they could have prevailed. I would like to see the offense occasionally pick the tempo up in an attempt to quickly tire the defense which could lead to holes in the running game. Focus on next week Bucs and keep pushing as most wild card teams lost anyway so we really didnt lose any ground. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    Perfectly said macabee.
  • avatar


    I WAS HOLDING ONTO MY CHAIR THAT 4TH QTR. TWO I WAS PUZZLE WAS WHY DIDN'T BUCS PUNT THAT TIME INSTEAD OF ATTEMPTING THAT LONG FG, THE BUCS STEP UP LATE IN THE GAME, AND WHY DID'T COACH CALLED TIME OUT BEFORE THE LAST 2:00 MINUTE WANRNING! I THOUGHT CONSIDEREDD ALL THE PLAYER HURT THEY ARE REALLY COMING OF AGE. IAM SO PROUD OF THEM. SOME OF THE PLAY CALLING LIKE THOSE TWO LONG BOMBS COULD HAVE BEEN INCEPTED, BESIDES THAT. TAMPA DID GOOD. WHAT THE TEAM NEEDS NOW IS CONCENTRATE ON DENVER WITH SAINTS LOOSING TO SF. AND I THINK THE SAINTS CAN WIN AGAIN AT ATLANTA ON THURSDAY. TAMPA STILL HAS A CHANCE WITH SAINTS, COWBOYS, SEATTLE ALL LOOSING. TAMPA HAS A CHANCE. I SEE THAT WITH TWO 4 RD PICKS-I THINK TAMPA SHOULD GO AFTER TWO CB NEXT YEAR DRAFT-GO BUCS
  • avatar


    Yeah, it’s the pits to lose a game especially one that you could have won. But I have to put things in perspective before I make too big a deal of it! First, we played arguably one of the best teams in the NFL and with a 2nd string offensive line and a rag tag secondary made up of primarily rookie UFAs with names like Danny Gorrer for crying out loud! For the Falcons to walk away with only a 1 point win should give them pause as they are preparing to go to the playoffs. I’m not making any excuses, I’m just saying It’s a testament to the Buc coaches and the player’s never-give-up attitudes that we are even able to be competitive. I like this team and its potential going forward. In my opinion, they are a player or two in FA and another good draft away from playing with the best of NFL teams. However, there are a couple of things that need attention right away – like clock management and being able to score when you have a 1st and goal at the 2 yard line. This is no casual observation. This is happening regularly enough for the suits at 1 Buc Place to be concerned. You can never be elite if you can’t manage the most basic elements of the game. Hear that Greg Schiano! This can and must be fixed now!
  • avatar

    Well said macabee. We continue to max out results with the roster we have given how little depth we had coming into the season and how badly we have been impacted by key injuries. Clock management and goal line offense are my two biggest concerns as we have seen that impact the outcome of yesterdays game, but also the Saints, Redskins, and Giants games.
  • avatar


    Eric you're disappointed in a walk on corner trying to cover one of the best receivers in the league one on one? While Barber was impressive, you could also say he let up on Jones T.D., and certainly was no help to Johnson on that play. If the Bucs didn't give Ryan time to step up in the pocket, and make a great throw there is no 80 yd T.D.. We need pass rushers.
  • avatar

    I agree with these grades completely I think Barron should be listed on disappointing list with A. Black.
  • avatar

    Agree, Barron is hitting a rookie wall of late and he has been on the losing end of many tackles and blown coverages. Love the potential but he is getting exposed by our CB issues. He has not really made that many plays of note in the past few weeks. Hes still a rookie, but can still be on the disappointing list for the past few weeks.
  • avatar


    Agreed, he is supposed to be the back-stop that prevents the long plays, but he takes bad angles and is terrible on pass coverage. I ralied against the Bucs for not taking Kuechly (Who leads the lead in tackles). Hopefully they can coach him up before next year because he is responsible in large part for the defense not being able to get off the field on third down.
  • avatar


    Has McCoy been having that good a year? Every announcer says it but not sure I see him dominating games
  • avatar


    I think we did good considering the team and qB we played against.
  • avatar


    Toofamiliar17 I too worry about Dominik overpaying Bennett. I think Bowers can play just as well if not better with a full healthy offseason in this defense. Also, Te’o-Nesheim looks like a fine backup at either DE position. I say we let Bennett walk in FA if someone else offers him starter's money. However, I can't say I'm disappointed in L. Johnson. He is who I thought he were. He was never fast which is why he wasn't drafted but he has great instincts. He ran a 4.6 and J. Jones ran like a 4.38. What did Sherridan expect to happen in man coverage? I see Johnson as our future nickel CB and that's not a knock on him. I think that's excellent value for a relatively slow CB who played primarily zone in college.
  • avatar

    Hey too familiar - totally agree on the feeling about the game - that sums up every loss (except the Cowboys) for me this year. But I totally disagree on Johnson - Julio was licking his chops all game long and I was just waiting or the 80 yarder to hit us. Johnson is a good ( not great) nickel corner and he should never ever ever be covering Julio Jones - especially not 1-on-1. In fairness I thought our secondary played about as good as I expected - that's to say not very good - and I think we were right in this one despite that as we have been and will be all year....we just need to make the plays that count more consistently...we did that on turnovers today but first and goal from the 2 has to equal TD if we're going to win with the defense that we have.
  • avatar


    I continue to be really concerned that we might overpay Michael Bennett in the upcoming offseason. Elite pass rushers do not just disappear for entire games. Even if they are slim on the stat sheet, great players still impact the game in other ways (see: Gerald McCoy). Also, I was disappointed in LJ. I thought that he would ho0ld up better today, but he is still just a rookie with the skills to improve over time. Today was such a disheartening loss for me primarily because it was so winnable. Despite the increasing pressure of a playoff race, I still think that whether we make it in or not, this season is already a great success. I look forward to watching this team at RAY JAY for years to come. Hope to see you there.
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