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.GRADE = DRUNNING BACKS
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.GRADE= AWIDE RECEIVERS
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.GRADE = A
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.GRADE = C-TIGHT ENDS
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.GRADE= C+
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