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December 23, 2012 @ 8:18 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Defensive Game Grades vs. St. Louis

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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How did Tampa Bay's secondary fare against St. Louis? What grade did the Buccaneers defensive line get against the Rams? Find out in Pewter Report's defensive game grades.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's defense played against St. Louis in the Bucs' 28-13 loss to the Rams, and dishes out the game grades for each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.


Tampa Bay’s defensive line got very little pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford on Sunday. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy got two of the Bucs’ five quarterback hits, but no Tampa Bay defender recorded a sack against one of the more immobile passers in the NFL, which was disappointing.

McCoy finished the game with no tackles, while fellow defensive tackles Roy Miller and Gary Gibson combined for three stops.

Defensive end Michael Bennett did not have a good game and finished with three tackles, including a tackle for loss. Da’Quan Bowers and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim tag-teamed at right defensive end and combined for just two tackles.

The defensive line wasn’t particularly effective in stopping the run as the Rams ran for 89 yards on 27 carries (3.3 avg.) and also struggled to get any pressure on Bradford. It was not a winning effort by Tampa Bay’s defensive line.

As usual, rookie linebacker Lavonte David was quite active on Sunday, recording a team-leading nine tackles for Tampa Bay – all of which were solo stops. David now has 133 tackles on the year, which is the second-most in team history for rookies behind Hugh Douglas (151 in 1981). David surpassed Mason Foster’s total of 126 tackles as a rookie in 2011. 

David notched one of the Bucs’ five tackles for losses and leads the team with 19 on the season.

Middle linebacker Mason Foster finished the game with four tackles, including a tackle for a loss. Rams running back Steven Jackson rushed for 81 yards on 19 carries with a lot of that yardage coming right up the middle.

Strongside linebacker Adam Hayward had two tackles and broke up a pass. He had a huge hit on Jackson on St. Louis’ first offensive series of the game, but didn’t make many impactful plays after that.

There was a busted coverage on tight end Lance Kendricks’ 80-yard touchdown catch to start the third quarter, and although Bucs head coach Greg Schiano didn’t want to reveal the guilty party, Tampa Bay typically has its linebackers cover tight ends. Without the ability to go back and watch the game film yet, it’s a safe bet that a linebacker had an assignment error in pas coverage on the huge play-action pass that gave St. Louis a 21-6 lead in the third quarter.

While the Bucs linebackers combined for 15 tackles, including two tackles for a loss and a pass breakup, the linebacking corps didn’t make any splash plays. And the linebackers didn’t do enough in keeping Jackson from having a couple of breakout runs.

Tampa Bay’s secondary actually played rather well against Bradford, who completed only 13-of-27 passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Bradford’s lone pick came courtesy of cornerback Danny Gorrer, who got his first career interception on Sunday. Gorrer played well and finished with two tackles and a pass defensed.

Cornerback E.J. Biggers, who finished with one tackle, injured a hamstring in the first quarter and missed most of the game. Anthony Gaitor replaced him, and although he didn’t record any tackles he did break up two passes, which led the Buccaneers.

Cornerback Leonard Johnson forced a fumble with a big hit on wide receiver Danny Amendola and recovered it, only to lose the ball when he fumbled on the way to the end zone. Johnson played reasonably well against the Rams.

Strong safety Mark Barron had another strong game against the run, notching eight tackles, including a tackle for loss. Barron needs work in pass coverage as he did allow a couple of completions in his vicinity.

Free safety Ronde Barber had a very quiet game with just three tackles and one pass breakup. Backup free safety Ahmad Black gave up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis and finished with one tackle.

Unlike in previous weeks, Tampa Bay’s secondary wasn’t lit up like a Christmas tree on Sunday. Bradford didn’t complete 50 percent of his passes and the Bucs were able to break up seven passes and pick off another. It wasn’t a great game by the secondary by NFL standards, but given how bad Tampa Bay’s defensive backfield has been this year due to talent issues, suspensions and injuries, it was actually pretty good by the Buccaneers’ standards.

Tampa Bay’s return game was terrible as Roscoe Parrish struggled in the punt return game. He inexplicably didn’t field one punt from the Rams end zone, which traveled 57 yards, and he only returned three punts for seven yards and fair caught two others.

All five of the Rams’ kickoffs were touchbacks, while the Bucs’ had two touchbacks on kickoffs. Tampa Bay’s coverage units were solid on Sunday.

Michael Koenen punted once for 25 yards and the ball was downed inside the 20.

Kicker Connor Barth made both of his field goal attempts against St. Louis from 29 and 49 yards and has 113 points this season. That’s the fifth-most points in a single season in Tampa Bay history. Barth is six points away from moving past Matt Bryant (118 in 2007) and into fourth place. Tampa Bay’s kicker has made 25-of-30 field goals this year (83.3 percent).

Last modified on Sunday, 23 December 2012 21:16

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  • avatar

    Fellows... stop. This is the coaches first year and unlike Jeff Fisher, he had no time to adjust his roster because he took the job so late. He will weed out the non-producers. McCoy is even triple teamed on occasion. The DL is the best in football against the run. Obviously, we need a corner or two. I think what we really need is a designated pass rusher/blitzer that is big time. It is okay to blitz, but not when you have no blitzer that can pass rush and get to the QB. The defense will get fixed. The OL will be fine when our pro Bowl guards come back. I am worried about Freeman, but this is his 3rd OC in 4 years and his 3rd offenseive system. Give him a year in it. SCOTT, since when is holding a top runner to 87 yards a bad thing? Also, I believe you meant David has the most stops since the great Hugh Green in 1981, not Hugh Douglas.
  • avatar

    So now a DE who gets 7 sacks his rookie year is "average"? Of course he's average.....he is just starting his career. Just how do you make that call after one season's observation? My goodness, I wonder sometimes how rookies are now expected to be immediate Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers and if not they're declared busts. I don't know about you guys, but I got better at my job as the years went on.
  • avatar

    We are about to go into 2013 . I think it is safe to say the youth movement and rebuilding that took place after the 2008 season and ended just before the 2010 season , did not pan out . We have a few players on offense and a few on defense that are worthy of being starters . Schiano inherited most of this bunch. I think we all just need to be patient , give Schiano a couple years to build this team with his players , then i think we will be fine. Shanahan in Washington is a good example.
  • avatar

    Scubog, say all you want. I am sticking to what I have said. Schiano will dump many of these underachievers. It's a business and like a business you cut the players who are not making it as to what was expected.
  • avatar

    Horse - I respect your opinion but can we take a breath and remember that Claiborne is coming back next year? I think our biggest problem is 0 depth at any position. Injuries have taken this team way back. I don't think we can afford to cut anyone. We need to add good football players who will unseat Biggers and Bennett. I guess I do agree that we should not sign Bennett to a monster contract but i don't think he'll get that from anyone else either.
  • avatar

    Mr. Incrdible, I did take a breath and I still feel this way. Clayborn is average, He tries hard, but we still need a speed pass rusher, he is not that. The positive is that we now will have legit backup at many positions, but that doesn't mean our starters are any better. Some of need to go and some need to take pay cuts so we can bring in more competition. Nope, I have seen enough and I am standing by what I am suggesting to do.
  • avatar

    Horse: It's "Fire the Cannons!" not "Fire the Team". You seem to have disdain for anyone who makes more money than you think they should. Do you really think they should cut our two starting tackles and starting defensive end? From your perch in the upper deck, you might try watching Gerald McCoy instead of just looking up sack or tackle statistics. I'm not saying he's living up to his draft status, but like you said, there are no Simion Rice's for opponents to fear. There is no way in the world McCoy gets released or is asked to take a pay cut. There are still salary cap ramifications. You don't have to cut starting players to bring in competition. Wouldn't having former starters as experienced backups be desirable?
  • avatar

    Scubog, say all you want. I am sticking to what I have said. Schiano will dump many of these underachievers. It's a business and like a business you cut the players who are not making it Aston what was expected.
  • avatar

    Here is an observation I saw since my seats are on the 40 yard line upper deck; the DE's are lined up like they are speed type rushers. They line up way to far out. This is a big Bill Sheridan mistake! We have no Simeon Rice's on this team. No wonder we had no sacks. I would not resign Bennett and let Bowers start; I would demand McCoy take pay cut or release him as we could use that money on a Free Agent; ditto for Wright & Q. Black; I cut Miller and draft a big DT; I would draft a speed rusher who could play DE or LB; I cut Biggers and draft a CB. All of the above draft picks go in rounds 1,2,3. We will go no where without first fixing the Defense.
  • avatar

    Interesting that you comment on Roscoe Parrish and our return game. Our former return man, Michael Spurlock returned a punt 65 yards for a TD for San Diego.
  • avatar

    Though I can't exactly argue with any of the grades given here, I think this loss falls more on the offense than the D. The D made plenty of stops, but it's got to be frustrating when the offense can't get any points off of your good efforts.
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