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December 10, 2012 @ 12:03 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

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

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers managed just 314 net yards in their 23-21 loss to the Eagles on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. How did QB Josh Freeman grade out? What about the Bucs offensive line. Find out these answers and more in this weekly postgame Pewter Report feature.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how each Buccaneers
offensive unit performed in Sunday's 23-21 loss to the Eagles and dishes
out game grades for each individual unit.


For the second week in a row quarterback Josh Freeman had a subpar game. In both games Freeman showed periods of solid play, but again, inconsistency, proved too much, and the lackluster quarterback play doomed the Buccaneers chances for winning.

Freeman started the game off 5-for-16 for 61 yards in the first half. That’s right, 5-for-16, the kind of numbers that are usually reserved for rookies, not four-year veterans. And the misses weren’t close misses, they were uncatchable balls for the most part and had the Eagles defenders not have had hands of stones, there might have been a couple interceptions to go along with the paltry numbers.

When Freeman is on, he is one of the best in the NFL, when he is off – just the opposite. Freeman did rally in the second half and played better, leading the Buccaneers to 21 points, but if Freeman only played average in the first half, the Buccaneers most likely win by double digits.

For the game Freeman ended up 14-of-34 for 189 yards, with two touchdowns and a QB rating of 79.2.

Doug Martin’s day started off like the rest of the offense – slow. At halftime the Bucs leading rusher had just 34 yards on nine carries. But as the game progressed and Freeman began to have a little success the Buccaneers running game began to come alive.

And Martin’s numbers weren’t inflated by a super long run. That may not make sense on the surface, but here is the explanation. Often running backs are shut down continuously then break off a long 30-plus yard run late. While everyone would have loved a long Martin jaunt, along with the steady four or five yard runs, the stats say that Martin didn’t get lucky or earn his totals cheaply. It was just steady production, and proved Martin got stronger as the game wore on. In fact, Martin’s longest run of the day was just 14 yards, again, meaning that the rookie began to see the field better, the offensive line start exploiting weaknesses in the Eagles defense and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan didn’t panic and abandon the running game.

On the day, the Boise State rookie had 128 yards on 28 carries (4.6 yard avg.) and one touchdown. Martin added three receptions for four yards.

LeGarrette Blount saw his first action in the last three games, but carried the ball just once for two yards.

Vincent Jackson continues to be one of the best free agent signings in Buccaneers history. With 131 yards on six receptions (21.8 avg.) and a touchdown, Jackson is earning every penny of his five-year $55.5 million contract.

Mike Williams wasn’t targeted as often as Jackson (10 for Jackson, seven for Williams) and had just three catches for 18 yards, however, one was an important TD catch in the third quarter that got the Buccaneers back in the game. Williams made a great adjustment on a back shoulder catch that was thrown a little high, and out=battled the Eagles cornerback for the score.

Tiquan Underwood had just one reception for 17 yards on Sunday.

Overall the receivers did their job when the ball was thrown in their vicinity.


When your running back gets 128 yards rushing, the offensive line had a big hand in the success on the ground. Sunday was no different, as the Bucs offensive line played well as a unit in the running game, creating, sometimes not big holes, but enough to get Martin through some creases.

The pass protection was mediocre at best, with Freeman being sacked twice and hit on a regular basis.

The most glaring errors were a couple penalties that hurt the Buccaneers, maybe none more than center Ted Larsen’s holding infraction on the Buccaneers final drive. Larsen pulled to the right and used poor technique on an Eagles defender, wrapping his left arm around the upper body of the defender. Martin gained three yards on the play but after the penalty it went from second-and-7, to second-and-17. The Buccaneers failed to convert and punted to the Eagles, who we know drove 65 yards for the winning score on the game’s final play.

In a game where Freeman was out of rhythm early, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan could have used the Buccaneers tight ends to help Freeman in the first half. Perhaps a few more short passes to Clark or Stocker could have helped get Freeman into more of a flow. Of course there is no guarantee with Freeman’s poor accuracy that he could have delivered catchable balls.

Clark was targeted five times on the afternoon but notched just one reception for 17 yards and Luke Stocker was held off of the stat sheet.

Last modified on Monday, 10 December 2012 19:06

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  • avatar

    I re-watched the game today, I have watched multiple Eagle games and this is the most inspired CB play, I have seen this season from Asomugha and Roger- Cromartie . Almost all game there was a safety over the top for VJ. I was impressed with Roger Cromartie's coverage of VJ eg. Undercut VJ on second offensive series almost intercepted a well thrown ball by Freeman. Rogers Cromartie seemed to be in every play it was frustrating to watch how the deep throws were so well covered. Josh Freeman made 3 bad throws in the first half, overthrew MW on third down play(easy throw), Tried to thread the ball to a well covered Luke Stocker and Throwing high to Dallas Clark(in all fairness to JF that was a catchable ball) Tiquan Underwood did not run crisp routes all game for a guy with a 4.3 speed, his routes aren't smooth to say the least. Examples: on a 3rd down play where he needed to run a comeback route, he runs what looks like a go route, Freeman threw the ball to the spot where he should have been. I counted at least 3 bad routes leading to incompletions, in the first half. In a game where blanket coverage was shifted to VJ, he did not step up. Did Freeman have a bad game sure but after further review this how we lost this game: play calling was conservative in the last two series + you have 2 premier cornerbacks deciding to play their best game after being criticized by the media and being called out by their coach + Penalties at inopportune time halting drives + New defensive scheme by new defensive coordinator ( scratching the wide nine for tighter ends) + no separation by WR number 2 and 3( Mark, an A for WR???). Hey if all these reasons appear too complicated we can always blame Freeman, it's the easiest thing to do.
  • avatar

    Not sure where some posters are interpreting comments about Freeman equating to blaming Freeman entirely for the loss. In my opinion, MC's grades are accurate (including Freeman's D). That doesn't mean he's solely to blame for the loss because there is plenty of blame to go around...coaches, DBs, OL, WR, etc. I understand that some are going to love Freeman no matter what he does, and some are gonna be haters no matter what he does. When he has done well, I've given him credit for a job well done in my posts...So it's fair that it be noted when he hasn't played well. Simply put, he had a terrible game Sunday, and I believe he knows that.
  • avatar

    Also, PewteRreportMC, you can call the Eagles secondary atrocious if you want, but it isn't, and it certainly didn't play that way Sunday. Has it been for much of the year? Absolutely. But there is ample talent there, and it played near (not at, but near) that talent level on Sunday. Our receivers were bad for much of the game, and part of that is because of some blanket coverage by DRC and Asomugha. I'm not a huge fan of either player individually, but they played well, particularly in the first half.
  • avatar

    I tend to be a "Freeman supporter", if we have to give labels, but I agree with this grade. That said, the :A"; grade for receivers absolutely stunned me. The numbers were there, but the play was not. The entire offense as ATROCIOUS for the 1st half. There was very, very little separation by any receivers from PHI coverage in the first 30 minutes. Josh was bad in the first half, but his receivers might have been worse. It was a tale of 2 cities for the corp: D" in the first half, "A" in the second. That has to be no better than a generous "B", and it more likely should be a "C" or "C+" overall in my book. Where you get an "A" overall is beyond me.
  • avatar

    Always love your posts macabee. You seem to have a thoughtful, unemotional calmness about you.....like Scubog without the sarcasm and humor. We fans tend to focus on our own team's flaws and imperfections without ever acknowledging that all NFL teams, players and front-offices also have their share of failings by comparison. We always want to compare Freeman to future Hall of Famers instead of recognizing that he is a good QB who at times plays great and at other times poorly. He might not have won the game for his team Sunday, but he didn't lose it for them either. As I recall, when he left the field the Bucs had a 21-16 lead. Of course he could have played better but so too could have Ted Larsen and Demar Dotson whose untimely penalties contributed, Mike Koenen who picked a bad time to have a 31 yard punt that inspired the Eagles and our collection of CB's who allowed a rookie to pass for nearly 400 yards in spite of being sacked 6 times. As I always say, football is a team game not a QB duel.
  • avatar

    I don’t know if Josh will ever be an elite QB or not. I know that he didn’t lose this game yesterday. There were several so-called elite QBs that lost yesterday. Did Freeman have a bad game yesterday? Yes, a horrible performance, but he didn’t throw a pick six or take any part in this loss – he simply played bad. When a QB, good or bad gives a team an 11 point or 2 TD lead with 6 mins remaining, that team should win the game. Now if you want to blame Josh for not having an even bigger lead to cover over the inept defensive playcalling or the sins of a pourous secondary, then you might have a gripe! But once we got a 2 touchdown to win lead, Josh didn’t do one single thing to cause that loss. Now deal with the facts!
  • avatar

    Why is no one talking about how Tampa Bay game planned for the wide nine but the Eagles fired there dl coach there was no film! I mean come on I don't expect the "regular" fan to understand but come on Mark. After the half there were adjustments made and Freeman had a much better second half you guys are so hilarious matter of fact a lot of Tampa Bay fans are hilarious Freeman is a franchise quarterback
  • avatar

    MC I agree. It seems as though free has lost his fire. The season was on the line and free could've converted on third down several times by taking advantage of WIDE open running lanes yet he chose to "play it safe" with the ball. It wasn't time to live to fight another series- that was it. He should've done whatever it took and bulled his way to a first down like he did in 2010. That being said, there were several miscommunications on routes, especially by underwood and I think some of the errant throws were also intended to throw it away.
  • avatar

    Yo you guys want to see a franchise qb, Brady is shredding the Texans d. You want to see real play calling? They send Woodhead out on a halfback route looked just like a receiver then play action fake on a stretch run turns and hits Hernandez for td. We should call plays like that but can Josh hit them?
  • avatar

    Having read all that. ONLY 4 QBs have more touchdowns - Drew Brees,Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Arron Rodgers. Of them ONLY Brady has fewer interceptions. I was quite surprised! And the "Dougernaut" (Warren Sapp's word) is 3rd in rushing. Imagine how he would be doing with Nicks and Joseph playing. And Zuttah back at center. Bet even better rushing numbers and one more year's familiarity with the offense will turn it around. Wonder what the defense would be like with our having taken Luke Kuechly instead of Mark Baron and keeping the rest of the draft? Kuechly is leading the NFL in tackles with Lavonte David 5th. Oh, yea, Mason Foster would be the Sam backer. Oh well . . . .
  • avatar

    These grades are spot on in my opinion the wr's would have had a huge day if not for Freeman's inaccuracy
  • avatar

    I agree with Mark- Freeman deserves a "D" he missed key throws on 3rd down and his checkdowns came late to the rb they didn't have a chance to make a play he was very inaccurate on passes 20+ yds he would have gotten an "F" if not for the Jackson deep ball.
  • avatar

    Mark, I think the Receivers were a B no where near an A. There were a couple bad routes and miss communication and that shouldn't be happening by now. Also, I didn't see the WR's continuing moving around when Josh had to step out of the pocket. I am still not sure how well some of the WR's are improvising enough. Everything else was close enough for me on the grades.
  • avatar

    Mark I agree with all your grades. I think part of the problem Sunday is that the Eagles Defense overachieved. Perhaps they heard plenty about how they were the number one seed when we beat them and then won a superbowl and all our players would be honored at halftime of their game, and that really fired them up. When you put the kind of pressure on a QB and an offensive line, you are going to see bad throws and penalties for holding by the line. I think the Eagles were also hearing in the media that their coach might be fired at the end of this season and they got more motivation from that too. Too bad you don't rate the coaching too. The call to run with seven yards for a first down yesterday was the worst and dumbest call of the day. I said so the minute that happened as I was watching it happen. It was hard to watch, but I happened to dial up the Giants game and really enjoyed watching them take the Saints apart. The Bucs need to look ahead and lay it on the Saints too.
  • avatar

    and in case anyone wants to claim that I am blaming the loss on Gorrer - I am not - there is plenty of blame here...why run the ball on 3rd on 8; why play the sfaeties so deep that WRs cut off their routes for 20 yard gains in teh final minutes; why can't Barron cover a pilon; yes why can't Josh complete more than 40%; but in all that poor play the easiest play of the game had to be the lob pass by Foles to Gorrer.....that's all I'm saying, a lot could have been forgiven with a W.
  • avatar

    No doubt, SR and I said if the Bucs win no one is ready to jump off the Skyway and Freeman gets a C grade. I am writing, as we speak, about the numerous missed chances in that game, not just by Freeman but Gorrer, Larsen's hold, Koenens terrible last punt...too many wasted chances. Danny felt sick after that game, had a chance to seal it. but he is way down the list in my opinion. How does it eve get to that point, you know? Danny stood up tot he media's questions in the locker room and earned more respect from me yesterday. Thanks East End.
  • avatar

    Hi Mark - thanks - I hear your point - not a good game - I was just wondering outloud really what an F would look like if that was a D...not arguing that he had a good game overall....but I have seen other franchise QBs put up that sort of game, get their team in the lead late in the game and end up with the win....I think Josh would get a lot more room for 13-34 passing if Gorrer catches that ball...I think we would all be talking about the come-back kid again and how time and again he brings us back in the 4th no matter how bad things went before that....alas Gorrer has hands of stone...
  • avatar

    What no one talks about other than his terrible day was he brought us from 10-0 to 21-10 late in the 4th. The defense, oline and coaching staff let the win slip away.
  • avatar

    I like Freeman, but gotta agree with PR that Freeman's game was just etrocious Sunday. He was off target pretty much all day. His grade was clearly a D and I'm not calling for his head. We've got to be realistic and unbiased...and grade a player solely on his play. Hopefully he will bounce back. I do like his confidence and calmness...maybe too calm (?) because it's hard to tell from the stands if he has the fire. Seems like he's best when using the 2-minute offense...maybe less time to think about things? One other thing I've wondered about is why during time-outs when the Bucs have the ball, Freeman stands 15 yards away from the rest of the offense. It seems like they would get the play call ready and discuss what each player's responsibility is on the play being called instead of standing around with the QB 15 yards away. Not sure it really makes a difference, but jusat wondering what that's about.
  • avatar

    East End I like Josh, good kid has talent. But 13-of-34 against a terrible Eagles team? Sorry I have to disagree. And the Eagles gave him a gift TD from the five yard line so really 14 points, against a team that gave up 37 the week before. Plenty of other players who share in the loss, no question. But he is the face of the franchise, in his fourth season and MUST play better than he did Sunday.
  • avatar

    I'm not sure how Freeman's game = D. What if he threw 2 INTs, no TDs and funbled the ball, and was replaced....I guess that's an F but it would seem his play yesterday was surely better than a D. I'm not saying he had a great game, but he did march us to 21 straight points and a two score lead when the game counted....his bombs to VJax in that stretch were great. Again, he didn't have a great game but he did what he needed to in order to give us a chance to win....can you say the same about Gorrer or Barron or the coaches? Other QBs in this league have bad games too - put their team in a place to win, and get the win...and all is forgiven...our QB has a bad game, comes back to put us in position to win, and is let down by the D (coaches and all) combined with an awful decision to run the ball on 3rd and 8...and people call him a D and call for his head....crazy!
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