While the Bucs avoided a blowout loss unlike last week, there were still several players and a couple units that struggled on Friday night. Which player's drop killed first quarter momentum? Which unit was below par most of the night? Find out in the Most Disappointing List from Friday night's loss to New England.
After the first quarter it appeared the Buccaneers were well on their way to an embarrassing blowout loss. Fortunately for the Bucs defense, the Patriots pulled Tom Brady and the Buccaneers reserves played much better than the starters on both sides of the ball.
Despite some bright spots, there were several players and units that didn’t play up to par and are singled out in this weekly post-game Most Disappointing List feature.Safety Ahmad Black
While there was some discussion between safeties Black and Mark Barron on who was at fault on the the Patriots first touchdown pass – a 26-yard strike from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola – replays appear to show Black out of position, and also linebacker Mason Foster trailing behind by five yards. Without benefit of knowing what the call was, at least part of the blame was surely on Black. But to solidify himself on the disappointing list Black drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty soon after, something that will make head coach Greg Schiano pull his hair out. For the game Black was credited with three tackles. Linebacker Mason Foster
Foster is a liability in pass coverage. While he will come up and thump you, rarely is Foster in the correct position when dropping into coverage, and even when he is, he just doesn’t have the wheels to stay with a receiver or even a tight end at times. On the above-mentioned play, the Patriots TD reception by Amendola, Foster’s drop was poor. No one expects Foster to beat a receiver in a foot race but getting proper depth is crucial for the middle linebacker when dropping into coverage. On the ensuing successful two-point conversion, Zach Sudfeld exploited Foster. While Foster should have had more help from Barron, the play demonstrated Foster’s penchant for sometimes lacking field awareness in pass coverage. Foster finished his brief game action with just one tackle.
Wide Receiver Kevin Ogletree
While a very good argument could be made to put Ogletree on the Most Impressive list also, the former Cowboys receiver had a momentum-destroying drop in the first quarter. After a spectacular kickoff return of 63 yards by Michael Smith, the Buccaneers were poised to answer Brady and the Patriots, with excellent field position. On third-and-10 from the Patriots 42-yard line, quarterback Josh Freeman threw a great ball over the cornerback and in front of the safety. While it wouldn’t have been an easy catch, it was one a starting receiver has to come up with, especially when facing a prolific offense like New England who you know will score a ton of points. Every drive is crucial when facing a team like New England. Instead of a first down near the Patriots 20-yard line, the Buccaneers were forced to punt, killing any momentum established with Smith’s excellent kick return.Bucs Offensive Line
It was too difficult to select just one offensive lineman for the disappointing list, as early in the game Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks were constantly harassed and dropped to the turf, including Freeman who was sacked three times. While the Bucs did average 4.6 yards per carry on the ground, Tampa Bay’s offensive line gave up four sacks on the night.
Pewter Report has talked up both Demar Dotson and Donald Penn all camp, but both struggled on Friday night, each giving up one sack. Chandler Jones gave Penn fits early and while it could be argued that Freeman has to get rid of the ball sooner, one more than one occasion the pocket was collapsing before Freeman ever set up to throw.Tight End Luke Stocker
Stocker had a three-play series midway through the first half that will be difficult to watch with his teammates in the tight ends next film session. One back-to-back running plays, Stocker barely touched his guy who made the tackle including one play that resulted in a four-yard loss for Peyton Hillis. After two straight whiff blocks Stocker released from the line of scrimmage and showed little effort in trying to get open and the Buccaneers were forced to punt. For someone who is competing for a starting role, and coming off a two-week stint on the exercise bikes, it was a less than stellar performance for the former Tennessee tight end who is trying to live up to his fourth-round draft status.Dishonorable Mention:
The Bucs pass rush
was once again non-existent on Friday night, failing to record a single QB take down, and rarely getting a hand on Brady, Ryan Mallett or Tim Tebow...Guard Jace Daniels
was blown up in the fourth quarter on a key second down running play. Fortunately one play later the Patriots committed a penalty giving Tampa Bay a fresh set of downs and the Bucs ended up scoring on a Glennon TD pass.
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