WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 18-17 LOSS AT NEW YORK
Tampa Bay started the regular season just like it finished the preseason – in incredibly sloppy fashion, and with a loss. The New York Jets capitalized on a host of Buccaneers mistakes to pull off a miraculous, come-from-behind, 18-17 victory thanks to a 48-yard field goal by Nick Folk.
The Bucs committed an unacceptable 13 penalties for 102 yards, but the most damaging was Lavonte David’s personal foul for shoving Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith on a scramble as he stepped out of bounds with Tampa Bay leading 17-15 with 15 seconds left in the game. Smith’s scramble picked up 10 yards down to the Tampa Bay 45, but David’s 15-yard penalty allowed Folk to kick the game-winning field goal from the 30-yard line.
“That wasn’t the only penalty,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “We’ve been good with penalties. It has not been an issue of ours, and I don’t anticipate that it is going to be an issue of ours to tell you the truth.
“Lavonte plays at a high speed and plays all out, and unfortunately that got him that time. He’s a great player. He made one penalty and I know it’s a big one, but I’m going to keep Lavonte.”
“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman said when asked about David’s costly gaffe. “I know he’s got to be upset and he’ll learn from it.”
Schiano continued to focus on penalties and undisciplined play in his post-season press conference.
“Today at the beginning of the game we were probably trying a little too hard … is the best way to put it,” Schiano said. “There were too many third down defensive penalties that would have gotten our guys off the field [had those not occurred]. One of them ended up in a touchdown and another ended up in a field goal – so that’s 10 points right there.”
Schiano lamented about the offense’s failure to get into rhythm, which had been a problem during the entire preseason.
After Freeman completed a 7-yard pass to Mike Williams and a 20-yard strike to Vincent Jackson to move the team near midfield on the team’s first drive, the offense stalled due to a sack, two delay of game penalties and a false start penalty, which set up a third-and-30 situation and ultimately a punt.
It didn’t get any better on the Bucs’ next offensive series as it started at Tampa Bay’s own 2-yard line and ended with a safety as Jeremy Zuttah snapped the ball into the end zone when Freeman wasn’t looking. Wisely, Freeman kicked the ball out of bounds before a Jets defender could fall on it. But those two points were critical as the Buccaneers lost by one point to the Jets.
“The beginning of the game I don’t think we handled very well with the noise,” Schiano said. “For whatever reason, I don’t know if we were too amped up or what it was but we didn’t efficiently operate. We had a couple of delays, which were inexcusable, and some false starts. We had nine penalties in the first 19 minutes. We can go two weeks and only have nine penalties. We have to get that fixed.”
“Offensively, it’s frustrating for everyone because we have good players,” Schiano said. “We will find a rhythm with this offense. We certainly haven’t found it yet, but we will.”
Freeman completed 15-of-31 passes for 210 yards with a 17-yard touchdown to Mike Williams and one interception, but was outdueled by Smith, the rookie who was starting his first NFL game. The Jets’ second-round pick completed 24-of-38 passes for 256 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Smith overcame five sacks and a fumble, and rushed for 47 yards on six carries (7.8 avg.).
Jackson, who had seven catches for 154 yards, was the lone bright spot for Tampa Bay’s offense, which was missing starters in left guard Carl Nicks, fullback Erik Lorig and tight end Tom Crabtree.
Former Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow had four catches for 33 yards and a TD in the first half, and finished as the Jets’ leading receiver with seven catches for 79 yards, including a 25-yarder late in the fourth quarter on New York’s game-winning drive.
The Jets defensive front completely overwhelmed the Buccaneers offensive line, sacking Freeman three times, with left tackle Donald Penn surrendering two. The offensive line, which saw Gabe Carimi start in place of Nicks at left guard, couldn’t open many holes for running back Doug Martin, who was held to just 65 yards on 24 carries (2.7 avg.) with one touchdown. Martin also dropped three passes.
“Doug has not played a lot,” Schiano said. “So you think, okay with Doug in there it will be better and Davin [Joseph] is in there, but it wasn’t good.
“It’s not the running game we’re going to have, that’s what I mean when I say the rhythm of our offense. I just don’t feel like we’re in a rhythm. We better to get it figured out fast – six days to be exact.”
There were a few bright spots for Tampa Bay. Cornerback Darrelle Revis had a successful return to New York while seeing his first NFL action after tearing his ACL in Week 3 last year as a member of the Jets. Revis broke up two passes while playing roughly half the game.
Outside of David’s penalty, Tampa Bay’s linebacking corps were the real playmakers on defense with middle linebacker Mason Foster recording two sacks totaling 24 yards and a key forced fumble that led to a Bucs touchdown, strongside linebacker Dekoda Watson also notching a sack, and David recording an interception.
“It was great to be out there and ready to go,” Revis said. “I was happy to be out there with my teammates. Our goal was to win the game and be 1-0. We failed to do that today, but it was a great game. Tomorrow we’ll watch the corrections and move forward.”
New Bucs free safety Dashon Goldson made a huge impact – literally – knocking tight end Jeff Cumberland and wide receiver Stephen Hill out of the game for a while with massive hits. Unfortunately, both he and strong safety Mark Barron, who momentarily knocked out wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, drew 15-yard penalties for targeting the heads of Cumberland and Kerley, respectively.
“When adversity strikes we have to be a better team to handle it,” Revis said. “We don’t want to be a team that has a bunch of penalties in a game – we want to be a smart team.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Buccaneers, who will be trying to avoid a 0-2 start as the NFC South rival New Orleans Saints (1-0) come to town for Tampa Bay’s home opener.
“The Saints don’t care what happened in our game,” Freeman said. “They don’t care if we won or lost. They’re coming to town.”HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. JETS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Jets 2, Buccaneers 0
On third-and-5 from the Tampa Bay 8-yard line, Bucs center Jeremy Zuttah snapped the ball when quarterback Josh Freeman wasn’t looking. Freeman kicked the ball out of bounds for a safety to avoid giving the Jets a touchdown.First Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Jets 2
After receiving great field position at the Jets 44-yard line, Freeman was 3-of-3 for 36 yards on the drive, including a 17-yard touchdown strike to Mike Williams, who beat rookie cornerback Dee Milliner for the score in the end zone.Second Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Jets 5
Smith hit Tommy Bohanon with a 21-yard pass down the right sidelines to the Tampa Bay 44. Smith scrambled for 13 yards and the Bucs were penalized five more yards on a defensive holding call, which set the Jets offense up at the Tampa Bay 24. But after three more plays the drive stalled and Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal was good to cut into Tampa Bay’s lead. Second Quarter – Buccaneers 14, Jets 5
Middle linebacker Mason Foster sacked Smith and forced a fumble, which was recovered by rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence at the New York 5. On the next play, running back Doug Martin ran five yards up the middle for a touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 9-point lead.Second Quarter – Buccaneers 14, Jets 12
Smith shook off a 19-yard sack by Foster to drive the Jets 31 yards for a touchdown.
Smith was 5-of-5 for 44 yards on the drive, including back-to-back catches of 18 yards and seven yards – the last of which was a touchdown to tight end Kellen Winslow, a former Buccaneer, who beat Foster and safety Dashon Goldson on the play. With 34 seconds left before halftime, the Jets cut the Bucs’ lead to just two points.Fourth Quarter – Jets 15, Buccaneers 14
The Jets used a 14-play, 65-yard drive to score the go-ahead field goal with 5:05 left in the fourth quarter. A 5-yard defensive holding call on cornerback Leonard Johnson on third down gave the Jets an automatic first down. Smith, who was 5-of-7 for 51 yards on the drive, also completed a 6-yard pass to Bilal Powell on third-and-2.Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 17, Jets 15
Trailing by two points, Martin ripped off a 17-yard run on a draw to advance the ball to the Tampa Bay 37. Freeman found Vincent Jackson on third-and-10 with a 37-yard strike down to the New York 26. Three runs by Martin picked up only seven yards, but did force the Jets to use their final three timeouts before Rian Lindell’s 37-yard field goal gave Tampa Bay a short-lived 17-15 lead.Fourth Quarter – Jets 18, Buccaneers 17
With 29 seconds left, Smith completed a 25-yard pass to Winslow before scrambling for 10 yards down to the Tampa Bay 45. But a late hit by Bucs linebacker Lavonte David gave the Jets 15 yards and Folk was able to connect on a 48-yard field goal with four seconds left to give New York an improbable 18-17 win.WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?
Rookie Akeem Spence got his first NFL start with Tampa Bay’s first-team defense and finished with two tackles and a fumble recovery. … Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis and Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson saw their first action as Buccaneers. … New Bucs lineman Gabe Carimi got the start at left guard in place of Carl Nicks. … Eric Page returned his first NFL punt 28 yards for Tampa Bay in the first quarter. … Running back Brian Leonard recorded his first catch as a Buccaneer for 3 yards in the second quarter. … Middle linebacker Mason Foster had eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble to set up a Bucs touchdown in the second quarter. … Weakside linebacker Lavonte David recorded his first interception of the season in the second quarter and finished with eight tackles and two pass breakups. … Strongside linebacker Dekoda Watson recorded his first sack of the season. … Defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim recorded a sack and had two tackles for loss. … Cornerback Leonard Johnson led the Bucs with nine tackles and had a pass breakup. … Tampa Bay is 15-23 in season openers, with an 8-13 mark on the road. … The Bucs converted 6-of-16 (38 percent) third downs on offense, and were outgained 304-250 yards by the Jets.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
The following Bucs were inactive against the Jets: TE Tom Crabtree, FB Erik Lorig, LG Carl Nicks, DE William Gholston, DT Chris Jones, CB Rashaan Melvin and QB Dan Orlovsky.
The following Jets were inactive against the Bucs: QB Mark Sanchez, LB Danny Lansanah, G Will Campbell, OT Ben Ijalana, OT Oday Aboushi, DL Quinton Coples and LB Scott Solomon.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
• Wide receiver Mike Williams went down with leg cramps in the middle of the third quarter, but returned to action.
• Center Jeremy Zuttah suffered a left ankle injury with six minutes left in the third quarter and missed a few plays before returning. He was momentarily replaced by Ted Larsen.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
• Tampa Bay’s penalties! The Bucs were as sloppy as they were in the preseason, recording 13 infractions for 102 yards, including six penalties in the first quarter alone.
• The Bucs had some serious communication equipment issues on Tampa Bay’s first offensive series. The team was called for two delay of game penalties on the first drive because quarterback Josh Freeman could not hear the play calls in the headset in his helmet. Freeman had to twice switch out his helmet in order to get the intercom system working properly.
• Pass protection was an issue in the preseason for the Bucs and Tampa Bay tight end Luke Stocker and left tackle Donald Penn gave up early sacks in the first quarter, and Penn gave up another one in the fourth quarter.
• The referees flagging Bucs safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron for alleged helmet-to-helmet hits on tight end Jeff Cumberland and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. Both were knocked out of the game by the safety duo on what looked like good football plays. But the skirt-wearing rulemakers in the NFL that seem to be taking the masculinity out of the game deemed those hits to be illegal.
• Tampa Bay’s starting field position was not ideal for a good portion of the game, mostly due to penalties. The Bucs had more than half of their offensive series start at or inside their own 20-yard line.
• The Bucs faced way too many third-and-long situations in New York, primarily because Tampa Bay struggled to run the football successfully on first and second downs. The Bucs faced third-and-30, third-and-35, third-and-10, third-and-9, third-and-16 and third-and-7 in the first half, and third-and-8, third-and-9, third-and-9, third-and-12, third-and-9 and third-and-24 in the second half.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay (0-1) will travel home to face Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (1-0) in the 2013 season home opener. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on Fox.
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