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September 8, 2013 @ 6:40 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/4 Votes

Jets Deliver Bucs A Crushing 18-17 Defeat; Unit Game Grades

Written by Haley
Haley Cornish


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The Bucs suffered one of their toughest losses in recent memory by the hands of the New York Jets and rookie QB Geno Smith. How did each unit fare? Get PewterReport.com's thoughts as she grades each unit of the Bucs performance on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the New York Jets, 18-17 in the first game of the regular season. The Bucs started and ended the game with terribly sloppy play, and that has resulted in poor game grades for most of the units.

Josh Freeman started the game with communication issues, resulting in wasted timeouts. Then, on an early snap from center Jeremy Zuttah, Freeman had to kick the ball out of the end zone resulting in a safety. And after that, Freeman was under pressure all game long. Most of his success came on quick slants to wide receiver Vincent Jackson because it was all he had time to do. On their first touchdown drive, Freeman strung together a few nice plays, capped off by a great throw to Mike Williams between two defenders for the touchdown. But there were still too many balls throw inaccurately to allow the Bucs to put any breathing room between the Bucs and Jets, coming back to haunt Tampa Bay in the end.

After that drive, the Bucs and Freeman struggled to find a rhythm. Freeman’s worst mistake of the game came on an overthrow that was intercepted. The Jets turned that pick into a touchdown and the momentum shifted for the rest of the game.

Even with the poor offensive line play, Freeman was able to drive the Bucs downfield for the go-ahead field goal with under a minute left in the game. Freeman, as he did much of last year, did enough for the Bucs to win this game. But, somehow, the defense found a way to give the win away.

Freeman ended the day 15-of-31 for 210 yards, with one touchdown and one interception and was sacked three times.

Not only did the offensive line struggle in pass protection, but they gave Doug Martin zero room to run all game long. Martin only needs a tiny crease to be able to wiggle into the open field, and he didn’t have that at all. Aside from the touchdown run and a draw play in the fourth quarter, Martin was non-existent.

You can’t really blame the running game’s struggles on Martin. He did everything he could with what was given to him, although he did have a couple dropped passes. Martin finished the game with one touchdown and just 65 yards on 24 carries, which is an average of just 2.7 yards.

Vincent Jackson was the only bright spot on offense against the Jets, spending much of the game against his former teammate Antonio Cromartie. Jackson won that battle and ended the day with seven catches and 154 yards, including a huge play to get the Bucs into field goal range.

Mike Williams wasn’t as involved in the game as Jackson, but did make a nice catch for a touchdown, and ended the game with four catches and 52 yards. No other wide receiver had a catch in the game, although Kevin Ogletree was targeted twice and dropped a great pass from Freeman late in the game.

It almost seemed like the Bucs didn’t have any tight ends playing against the Jets. The blocking was poor, and no one was able to create separation in the passing game. Their only completion came on a drop off pass to Nate Byham for four yards. Luke Stocker, who is running out of chances, was invisible all game. Tom Crabtree could have that starting position when he gets back from his injury.

The offensive line play was so terrible it seemed like none of the starters were playing, instead of just missing Carl Nicks. While Nicks is a big piece missing, his absence is no excuse for their performance against the Jets. Guard Davin Joseph, who is coming back from a knee injury, did not look like himself against New York. He failed to create any movement in the run game and was also called for a drive-killing holding call.

Left tackle Donald Penn, who is in the best shape of his career, was definitely not playing like it. He got beat on a number of plays in the pass game and gave up at least one of the sacks on Freeman.

Center Jeremy Zuttah made the second worst play of the game when he snapped the ball to Freeman before he was ready, resulting in a safety. The Bucs probably would have won the game if it weren’t for that play early in the game. On top of that, Zuttah was also called for a false start and failed to create any push in the run game.

Guard Gabe Carimi, who is in for Nicks, was just as mediocre as the rest of the line and could hardly hold his own in pass protection. Carimi did have nice block on the Doug Martin touchdown, but other than that played poorly. Right tackle Demar Dotson was called for a false start and was also poor in pass protection.

A huge question mark coming into the first game was how the defensive line would perform. They answered by chasing rookie quarterback Geno Smith all over the field, all day. Gerald McCoy was in the backfield on most of the plays despite the attention the Jets gave him. McCoy ended the game with just two tackles, but can be credited with several incomplete passes. Rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence also had a solid debut, nabbing two tackles and a fumble recovery.

Defensive end Daniel Te’o-Neshiem, who won the starting position over Da’Quan Bowers, had a good game with one sack and three tackles (two for a loss). Bowers, who is trying to prove he can be an every down player, also had a good game with a tackle and two quarterback hits. Bowers was getting pressure pretty consistently when in the game.

Defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who is coming back from a knee injury, had a great game with three tackles (one for a loss) and two quarterback hits. Clayborn was getting good pressure all game, which is a great sign because the Bucs really need him to step up this year if Bowers struggles. 

As a whole, the defensive line picked up where they left off last year in terms of run defense. They tackled very well and only allowed 43 yards on the ground from the Jets’ running backs.

The main issue with the defensive line was that without blitzing, the front four struggled to create their own pressure. Geno Smith had too much time to throw the ball when the Bucs weren’t blitzing, which resulted in a lot of Smith’s success.

The linebackers had both a great game and a terrible game against the Jets. As a unit, they nabbed four of the five sacks the Bucs had. Middle linebacker Mason Foster had two of those sacks, one of which resulted in a forced fumble, leading to a Tampa Bay touchdown. Foster’s eight tackles on the day along with those two sacks, but struggled in the passing game. Foster got beat several times through the air, including on the Jets’ touchdown pass.

Dakota Watson, who beat out Jonathan Casillas for the starting strong side linebacker position, had a solid game with three tackles and a sack. Watson and Casillas shared the field, and Casillas had a good game, nabbing four tackles along with a forced fumble.

Lavonte David was having a fantastic game until his last play of the game. He had eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, two broken up passes, and one interception. But all of those great plays were forgotten when he hit Geno Smith after he stepped out of bounds, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and putting the Jets in field goal range to hit the game-winner. It was a terrible play by a terrific player that played a huge part in the loss, but for those who saw his face after the play, you know he is taking it harder than any fan out there.

The Buccaneers’ revamped secondary was in full effect on Sunday. Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis looked like he did last season before tearing his ACL, which should have fans extremely excited. Revis had two passes broken up and only allowed one catch for 13 yards against him.

Leonard Johnson, who led the team with nine tackles, had one of the most costly mistakes of the game when he was called for a holding penalty. The penalty gave the Jets a first down when their drive should have been over, but instead got the go-ahead field goal.

The Bucs main free agent signing, safety Dashon Goldson, had a few huge hits against the Jets’ receivers, sending three of them off the field. However, one of those monster hits resulted in a killer 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. Safety Mark Barron was also called for an unnecessary roughness call later in the game. Both calls were questionable, as it didn’t deem like wither player led with their head.

By looking at Geno Smith’s stat line (24-for-38, 254 yards, one touchdown, one interception) it might look like the secondary struggled against the rookie. But most of the big plays given up by the defense were on the linebackers for poor coverage. The secondary was very solid all game, with the exception of the costly penalties.

Connor Barth’s replacement was a big question mark during training camp, but Rian Lindell came in late to win the job. Against the Jets, he hit a clutch 37-yard field goal that should have won them the game.

Punter Michael Koenen had a great game with an average of 46.6 yards per punt, pinning the jets inside the 20-yard line three times. Eric Page was solid as a punt returner, including a nice 28-yard return.

Last modified on Sunday, 08 September 2013 19:25

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  • avatar

    About the offense, it all starts up front and out front stunk. Last year we played without Davin Joseph and mostly without Carl Nicks. This year we changed a couple of pieces, got Joseph back and changed our OL Coach. Result, the worst performance in a couple of years. The OL coach is the former OL coach for Wisconsin. Wisconsin had great OLs with him but this coach has no recent pro experience. Maybe that is the probem. If you upgrade the talent, what else is left?
  • avatar

    Surferdudes: Just where did you read anything here where I mentioned anything about Josh Freeman? No doubt his play was sub-par; but my comment was recalling a similar case of losing a game in the opponents stadium that was all but won.
  • avatar

    Looking at the schedule, it is easily possible for the Bucs to go 0-16. We don't play Oakland, Cleveland, or Jacksonville, so where are the wins?
  • avatar

    What did anyone expect from Freeman ? He only played about 35 plays in 4 preseason games. I get sick of Monday morning QBs jumping on Josh Freeman. We got people who can't even manage their own life criticizing a guy who is good enough to earn millions a year. Freeman has been undermined here in Tampa by a bunch of subversive newspaper experts and stupid fans that believe what they read. I hope Josh wins the Super Bowl in 2015 and tells the Bucs to go pound sand up their *censored* !!!!
  • avatar

    The team was robbed. PURE AND SIMPLY ROBBED. 1. When a QB takes off running for first downs he's a running back and should be looked at as such. 2. David was in hot pursuit and it looked as if Smith could have gone for even more yardage. How was David supposed to see the sideline under those conditions. He was running hard to stop a breakaway run. He barely pushed the guy, just to assure he was out of bounds. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NO CALL. The NFL might as well go to flag football. To lose to that outfit flies all over me. I hate the Jets, I hate Rob Ryan and especially hate the ZEBRAS. Zebra is the only job an escaped convict can get without changing clothes. Revis looked very impressive. Johnson played pretty well too. The NFL ought to just do it now and make it flag football. QBs can decimate your team with their arms and their feet along with over protection by the stupid rules. Enough is enough !!!!!!
  • avatar

    The whole team lost yesterday, not just freeman, there was 13 penalties, both sides of the ball had their issues. First Freeman played poorly. This is what you get when you only play about 20 30 snaps in preason. Offensive line sucked, they had no pass protection and couldnt get douggie any room to move. Kevin Olgetree needs to learn how to catch. On the defense. I felt really bad for David. He played really well but that last play was a overated penalty. he barely pushed the man but it is what it is. Leonard johnson was poor in the flex and i think some of the zone blitzing was weak. But the d line was doing its thing. i liked what i seen from clayborne and mccoy. good job d. Just win us the games back when sapp and derrick was in. GO BUCS lets win next week!
  • avatar

    Sorry Scubog,but our star Q.B. only put up 10 points on a bad Jet team. It's time to admit he's never going to be good enough to win consistantly in the NFL. What do I base this on? His 50 percent completion percentage, and oh yes, his won, loss record. Yeah I'm grading him on his four years worth of work in the league. Take the colored glasses off, you'll see he's lost way more then he's won. If he starts all 16 this year, he'll have lead us to four losing seasons out of five. Of course he's not all to blame. I've scratched my head over the coaching, the O line play, the D play, draft, and personal decisions. All that aside, he doesn't have it between the ears to be an NFL quarterback. We lost that game because of his pick before the half. If he was only bad enough to where we had to punt there, maybe we go in at the half up 14 to 5. If he's good enough to get us a field goal, or heaven forbid a T.D., we win, but no, he has to throw high, and late over the middle like a meat head, and let the Jets back in the game. Blame everyone else if you like, Freeman just doesn't have it.
  • avatar

    Freeman is not elite but he is better than about 5-10 qbs right now
  • avatar

    Thank you for representing us EastEndBoy. It must have been difficult for you to have to take the abuse from JET fans who knew the game was lost as much as you must have believed the game was won. I learned a long time ago that the game isn't over until 0:00 is on the scoreboard. I once thought victory was in hand in New Orleans and started mocking the Who Dat cheer. Unlike, Lavonte David, CB Mike Washington thought the receiver was going to run out of bounds so he held up and Hokie Gijan (sp) tip toed the line and ran for an 80+ yard TD with about 12 seconds left. Not sure if we fans still blamed our QB.
  • avatar

    Can we stop making excuses for Freeman, the truth is Haley he didn't do enough to win, or we would've won!! One drive at the end for a field goal won't get Josh off my hook. He stunk for 57 minutes. If you had no clue who the players were out there, raise hands, how many would've said Freeman was the rookie quarterback? When his head set went out he was totally befuddled. You would think after 5 years in the league he'd be able to line his team up and run a play without a call from the sideline. Fear, and panic was what I saw in his eyes all game, the poor bugger doesn't have a clue. Why did the Bucs keep running the ball when it wasn't working? because they don't trust Josh throwing it, that pick before the half was in excusable. Third and short he stares a wheel route down without once looking the other way for another option. Fran Tarkington was right. He's god awful, and doesn't have it between his ears to be an NFL Q.B..
  • avatar

    If you followed my comments this year you will know now why we lost and who was responsible and I have also told how this team could still make the playoffs this year, and nobody wanted to listen and one even thought it was laughable. I don't hear any laughing now. We will be 0-4 by the break. Arizona gave the Rams a hard time today even. Read my past comments before this game. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
  • avatar

    Haley, I disagree on Stocker, he was QUITE visible on the whiff block that led to a sack! When are the Bucs going to stop drafting ANY player from Tennessee? After calming down, I am hoping this is just one of those bad games and they will rebound at some point. If they are truly this bad and they can't beat the Jets, they will not win a game all season. Going to give the benefit of the doubt for another week or two.
  • avatar

    Haley, the only reason Josh "did enough" to win this game is that the defense kept us in the game. One play at the end does not offset 59+ minutes of offensive struggles and some pretty good defense. Don't forget, the D gave us the ball at the Jets 5, so effectively, they accounted for one TD and the offense accounted for one TD. If you look at the collective game and the stats... this really came down to an ineffective offense. Josh wasn't the worst player on the offense, but he didn't perform to the level we need.
  • avatar

    @Creamsicles freeman put the team in position to EASILY win the game. I didn't say he played well the rest of the game, which is why he got a C. And he would have gotten a much lower grade if he didn't execute at the end. Also, Freeman's struggles had more to do with the terrible play of the offensive line and lack of a run game which is another reason why he wasnt graded lower.
  • avatar

    Thought this team was a 6-10 team but after today I think I gave them 4 wins to many. There is so many things wrong with this team it is a shame ! Another six Thou wasted on poor entertainment. NFL and the players have ruined this game.
  • avatar

    Well, I was at that game...what an awful experience. To those who want to blame Free - sorry folks but this one was not on him. Sure he could have played better, but he played well enough - and that's what we need and can get from Free - he's not going to be Brady but when Our left side can't block my grandma and Martin is getting 2 yards per carry and Ogletree can't catch a beachball and we might as well not dress a TE...what do you expect from Free. Despite the horrendous effort by all he still got us the lead with 40 seconds to go on a nice pass to. VJax. My losers of the game - 1) coaches (should have been screaming at D "no penalties, keep them inbounds" with 7 seconds to go, 2) Goldson/Barron/David personal fouls that all cost us huge - no excuses they should know the big hits and late hits will get called, 3) Leonard Johnson...does not belong on field - poor play And terrible penalty. Tones of sloppy play all around, lots of players could have been better, but no excuse for losing with 40 seconds to go - clearly learned nothing from the Skins game last year .. EEB is p.o.'d at this effort.
  • avatar

    I don't understand why the coaching staff has Freeman emulating Eli Manning when clearly his talents are similar to Kapernick. 3yrs ago Freeman was more effective when they move him around in the pocket and allowed him to run on certain plays that placed more pressure on opposing defense. I predict he will not be resigned after this season and will move on to another team with a much more successful career as did Young, Trstaverde and Williams. Why did the OC continue to run D Martin up the middle when he had no success except for one 14yd play in the last two minutes. With one of the largest coaching staffs why did the Bucs have 13 penalties? The coaches lost this game not the players. It was a disgrace.
  • avatar

    @76Buc: lol!! Right now, I'm all for it (John McKay).
  • avatar

    Golfniblick@gmail.com is right on about this being the same OL as last year and what offense were they trying not to reveal? stlbucsfan the grade for coaching is F-. Freeman did not lose this game. He did enough to win, but he still is average at best. Guys I am tired of Schiano blasting his players performance during his news conferences. He needs to man up and place the blame on himself and his coaching staff. He needs to fire some of those Rutgers coaches. Let me ask you all; what do think about the execution of the offense?;)
  • avatar

    The Jets had their team ready to play. We did not. Infact, I have noticed a pattern over the past year. Why does it take our team two quarters to start playing righteous ball? You tell me.
  • avatar

    I'm not making excuses, but the NFL is turning into quite the pansy league. Everyone is lawyered up. The pendulum has swung too far. It's to the point where confused officials are automatically tossing laundry on a hard hit or a push out of bounds. It's absurd and frankly unwatchable. Buc4life said it better on another thread...we should not have let it get in to the point where officials would be able to influence the game, but we did. And we lost.
  • avatar

    Dr. Goldson was passing out concussions. The officials were not used to seeing nor hearing those types of collisions. So they flagged him for them. Schiano will be talking to the NFL since he has no intention of changing that. I quote, "We gonna hit."
  • avatar

    Freeman is not capable? Martin is worse. Absolute garbage as a back. But the guy who should have everyone's attention is Penn. Granted Martin is over hyped and everyone who thought he could be the focus of an offense is deeply embarrassed at this point I'm sure, but Donald Penn is simply not a competitive football player. And just think, people had the nerve to say that Freeman was surrounded by talent!!! What he is surrounded by is a average back with a 2 yard per carry avg, the worst o line in the league by far, no TE, a third receiver that can't catch, a number one receiver who once again can't outrun a defender (a lb Vince?) and God awful play calling. And even with the garbage that this franchise has put around Josh, in 17 Schiano era starts, he left the field for the last time with the lead in 11 games. Today was fourth time in those 17 games that the defense lost the game in the last possession. The good news is Josh will go make $15mm for some other franchise, and next year we can all watch Teddy Bridgewater fail with what is clearly the least talented offense in the nfl, both line and skill positions.
  • avatar

    Vjax and Martin are the least skilled in the league? Not if they have a starting caliber QB running the offense. Please. You can't have a 50% completion percentage with INTs in the teens and expect to win. As I wrote weeks ago, we'd prob be better off with Alex Smith as QB. Pathetic. Again this yr.
  • avatar

    Pathetic is the only word to describe the execution. Foster is terrible in pass coverage and unless replaced not only on obvious passing downd but permenantly will be exploited over and over. I have to laugh when players where saying the preseason was "vanilla" in Oder not to reveal their offense, I saw no creativity in this offense at all. Was not Nicks out most of last year anyway, how could offense line turned so terrible?
  • avatar

    Horse you are correct. Freeman stunk the place up most of night but at the end of the day he did enough for us to win. The coaches claim they were vanilla in preseason bc they were saving it for the season....well I'm still waiting. The offenses conservative attack was awful and Sheridan proved yet again that he doesn't have the testicular fortitude to call a defense down the stretch. Coaches grade F!
  • avatar

    I still think that if the OL improves ( Nick's Return if that is in the cards) that the Offense will be ok. Once Martin is on track and the safeties have to move in to stop him Freeman is going to have more options. The worst thing is that the rest of the OL played so badly. Maybe it is time to say that Nicks is to this line what McCoy is to the DL. Not having a TE to use in the passing game or as a blocker is really not going to work. Did anyone notice that Winslow still has it ? I don't agree with the grades on DL.Clayborn had a few plays that looked really good, and McCoy defintely was effective on the run, but if we cannot get some pressure from our line consistently this is going to be a long season. The next two games are going to be tough and we are looking at 0 and 3. Adjustments are desperately needed and coaching needs to step up concerning the penalties. We looked like the Raiders out there with all of the personal fouls, holding and false starts.
  • avatar

    @Morgan and @76Buc. Thank you gentlemen, my point exactly. This is what I have feared all offseason and finally time's up and this team has to take the field. I suspected that we would go 4-12 this year, but after that performance 2-14 is realistic.S.O.S.....
  • avatar

    Horse, I agree.
  • avatar

    I will say this over and over. Freeman needs to work on his accuracy. But, the offensive line has to give him time to locate his receivers. I saw Penn get his butt chewed on the sideline. He slammed his water bottle down. When Josh got time he hit his money throws. Schiano, during his press conference, acknowledged his offense stinks. He vowed to fix it. Let's hope he can.
  • avatar

    Well, the end of the Freeman/Dominik/Schiano era has officially begun. Really it was too bad, the game was salvaged. But losing to probably the worst team in the league, because your team was under-talented, undisciplined, and full of excuses means one thing... RIP current Bucs. Hello crappy rebuilding in 2014.
  • avatar

    Everyone picks on Sheridan, but this is Schiano's defense. As Mark said the DL can't rush just 4. The LBs are not good in pass coverage. The OL can't pass or run block. Our QB who is average, but not does not have enough composure or enough between his ears to call his own play. Other than what I just listed we are in great shape. How do you call 2 timeouts in a row and then get a delay of game penalty. The team plays like it does during exhibition game. The rust was all over the place.Did any body else see Freeman's eyes when he came out of the tunnel. He was nervous and looked scared.
  • avatar

    I have to disagree Mark. Freeman was a D. He was slow, mechanical, and if you are just waiting for a call to come in from your helmet and, you can't call a play on your own, tells me that you are not a very good QB. The LB's deserved a B despite one penalty error on David. My goodness the Offense was bad! A good QB can get you out of trouble and we don't have one on this team that can do that; most of the teams we go against have that talent to do so. On the positives; the Defense played good, the pass rush was good, the coverage were good, so I am encouraged by that despite going into a "prevent defense" three man rush at the end of the game. Didn't we lose to the Saints, Eagles, Giants with that strategy last season? I am not as comfortable with our Coaching Staff now that we have seen a year of conservative play calling by Sullivan and Sherman.
  • avatar

    Freeman isn't a capable. Qb - the Bucs should have had several prolonged drives but Freeman isn't capable of keeping the Bucs in a drive. Game never should have even been close.
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