What grade did Josh Freeman earn in Sunday's 28-13 loss to the Rams? How did the other offensive units fare? Find out in this weekly postgame feature from Pewter Report.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played against St. Louis in the Bucs' 28-13 loss to the Rams, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.
Josh Freeman’s recent slide has been a major talking point for many Bucs fans recently, and while those still optimistic hoped last week’s four-interception game was just as aberration, two games in a row with four picks signals some serious issues. That’s not to say it isn’t correctable, but for now Freeman’s play – and future – bears some significant discussion.
The start of Sunday’s game went just as the pregame script was drawn up. 15 plays, 9:38 and three points, was nearly everything offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Freeman could have expected. Sure you would have liked to have seen seven points instead of three, but on the opening drive Freeman was 5-of-6 for 52 yards.
But as we have seen all too often this season, the wheels soon came off. On Tampa Bay’s second drive, a pass thrown to Mike Williams – who slipped – was intercepted and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. Even had Williams not slipped, the pass was still somewhat ill-advised and a bit lazy with terrible mechanics and footwork.
At time on Sunday Freeman looked like the same quarterback who led the entire league earlier this season in yardage and quarterback rating. Then other times he looked like last week’s confused and lacking-confidence quarterback that threw four picks and numerous errant balls in the 41-0 loss at New Orleans.
So exactly which QB is Josh Freeman? Probably somewhere in between the two. But until Freeman regains some confidence and improves his overall accuracy and consistency, the Buccaneers offense will continue to struggle.
As frustrating as Freeman has been in 2012, the Bucs signal caller has already set the franchise record for passing yards in a season with 3,843 yards and is now tied with Brad Johnson for TDs in a season (26) and with Vinny Testaverde for all-time TD passes (77).
On the afternoon Freeman finished 30-of-54 for 372 yards with one TD and four interceptions.GRADE = DRUNNING BACKS
Defensive coordinators in the NFL are pretty darn smart. After seeing Martin’s record-setting pace midway through the season, opposing coordinators have decided to gamble and focus on stopping Martin, and taking a chance that Freeman can’t beat them with his arm alone. So far – or at least through the last five games – it has worked out well.
Sunday was similar to what we have seen over the last five weeks (the Philadelphia game excluded), with teams bringing an additional defender in the box on obvious running downs and bottling up Martin.
Martin averaged just 3.4 yards a carry Sunday, and finished with 62 yards on 18 carries. Martin did add seven receptions for 57 yards to notch another 100 total yard game but there was no big game-changing run or reception from the Muscle Hamster on Sunday.
LeGarrette Blount and D.J. Ware both were not called on to run the ball in Sunday’s game.GRADE = CWIDE RECEIVERS
Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson both had terrific games against a pretty good secondary, each notching over 100 yards receiving.
Jackson’s 108 yards on seven receptions now puts him just 89 yards from breaking Mark Carrier’s single season yards receiving record (1,422) set in 1989. Jackson continues to show he is worth every penny of his $55.5 million salary he received this past spring in free agency.
Williams 132 yards on his seven receptions shows how much having Jackson as a teammate has helped the third-year receiver from Syracuse. Williams is also putting up a tremendous season, and now has 931 yards and eight TDs on the year.
Tiquan Underwood added one reception for 18 yards on Sunday.GRADE = AOFFENSIVE LINE
The offense is certainly feeling the effect of four-out-of-five preseason starters on the line either injured or playing out of position.
On Sunday, Freeman was sacked five times and also hit twice as many times. The Rams have a talented defensive line and took advantage of the makeshift offensive line to keep Freeman uncomfortable in the pocket.
Demar Dotson has a particularly rough game giving up a sack and several pressures to Chris Long, son of Hall of Famer Howie Long.
The Buccaneers also failed to get much of a running game going finishing with just 80 yards on 22 attempts (3.6 avg.).GRADE = DTIGHT ENDS
The Buccaneers tight ends were average on the day, not making any glaring errors, but at the same time not setting the world on fire. This is more of a result of Mike Sullivan’s offense than anything else.
Dallas Clark had his typical type four-reception, 33-yard afternoon and Luke Stocker nabbed two receptions for 16 yards.
It would have been nice to have seen the tight ends more involved in the red zone offense on Sunday, but it is hard to determine if the lack of productivity was play-calling, their ability get open or Freeman not recognizing the routes.GRADE = C
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