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September 15, 2013 @ 9:45 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Two Straight Weeks, Bucs Lose In Similar, Heartbreaking Manner

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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For the second straight week, Tampa Bay loses a slim, fourth quarter lead in the final seconds of the game to a field goal to drop to 0-2. On Sunday, the Saints came back to beat the Bucs, 16-14, thanks to a late field goal from Garrett Hartley.
Seven days ago, the Buccaneers defense surrendered a late, game-winning field goal to the Jets in an 18-16 upset loss in New York in the 2013 season opener. On Sunday in the 2013 home debut, Tampa Bay lost in similar fashion to New Orleans as a 27-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley as time expired gave the Saints a 16-14 victory at Raymond James Stadium.

With the exception of the final minute in both defeats the Buccaneers revamped defense played well enough to win. Tampa Bay sacked Drew Brees four times and picking him off twice, with middle linebacker Mason Foster scoring on an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown to give the Bucs a 14-13 lead with 12:40 left in regulation.

“That was a great play,” Bucs center Jeremy Zuttah said. “Mason is all over the field and he made that kind of play. We were struggling [on offense] and [the defense] kept bailing us out.”

But after Tampa Bay’s offense, which struggled mightily against New Orleans, got in field goal range with 1:10 remaining in the game, Rian Lindell’s 47-yard field goal was wide left. That gave Brees the ball at the New Orleans 37-yard line with 1:06 left on the clock.

“The only decision is if you go for it on fourth-and-3 or do you kick the field goal?” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “I have confidence in Rian and I will have confidence in Rian moving forward.”

Lindell was clearly disappointed with his missed field goal after the game.

“Guys battled,” Lindell said. “I didn’t do my part. You want to contribute … I guess I didn’t.”

Brees completed 26-of-46 passes for 322 yards with one touchdown and two picks, and quickly drove the Saints downfield for Hartley’s game-winner. He hit tight end Jimmy Graham, who had 10 catches for 179 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown, for a 15-yard gain to start the drive. An 8-yard pass to running back Darren Sproles set up a 31-yard pass to Marques Colston down to the Tampa Bay 9 with six seconds left in the game to set up Hartley’s victorious field goal.

“The defense played great today,” Zuttah said. “We didn’t put them in great situations and they kept bailing us out. We had the chance to end the game again and we couldn’t get it done. That’s completely on us. The defense played a hell of a game against the best quarterback in the league.

“We’re six yards in this game and two yards away [last week] from ending the games and being 2-0. It’s discouraging because we haven’t done it, but it’s right there for us to take and we have to get it done.”

Dating back to the preseason, quarterback Josh Freeman has failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes all year, and that was true again versus the Saints as he connected on just 9-of-22 of his throws for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception. After ranking ninth last year in total offense and averaging 24 points per game in 2012, the Bucs offense has averaged just 12 points per game and failed to generate 300 yards of total offense for the second straight week in 2013.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Zuttah said. “The defense has basically handed us all of our points so far. We let them down. We have to hold up our end and get this corrected. They are playing great football right now.”

Both Schiano and Freeman said that a pre-game report by CBS’s NFL insider Jason LaCanfora about the quarterback likely seeking a trade before the trade deadline next month was news to them. When asked if Freeman would remain the team’s starter for next week’s game at New England, Schiano said he would.

“Yeah, I see no reason why he shouldn't be,” Schiano said. “I mean I have to evaluate the tape. This is kind of out of left field a little bit. I'm not even thinking about that.

“I’m going to have to look at the tape to see what's going on. It’s just not the quarterback. It's squarely on me. I’m the head football coach and when we’re not doing things offensively that we’re capable of doing – mostly in the pass game. I thought we ran the ball very well today. Doug [Martin] and the line, I thought it was a good effort that way. We have to look at what we're doing coaching-wise, what we’re doing execution-wise, and again it falls on me. Doesn’t fall on anybody else. It’s my job to make sure we get it prepared and executed on game day and certainly we didn’t do that today.”

The only bright spot for Tampa Bay’s offense was the play of Martin. A week after Martin ran for just 2.7 yards per carry in New York while rushing for 65 yards, the Bucs’ Pro Bowl running back erupted for 144 yards on 29 carries (5.0 avg.) against New Orleans, including a season-long 28-yarder.

“Doug is a great back,” Zuttah said. “If you give him a little bit of daylight and he’ll find it and burst through it. You just have to keep doing a better job of getting him clean to the second level and he’ll make guys miss and get the extra yards. We didn’t close it out the way we should have.

“We have to sustain drives. There are plays that we make and then there are stupid penalties.”

After amassing 13 penalties for 102 yards last week in Tampa Bay’s 18-17 loss at New York, the Bucs racked up 10 penalties for 118 yards, including three costly personal fouls on defense. After a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Jets that cost Dashon Goldson $30,000 last week, the Bucs free safety drew another similar foul. Free safety Ahmad Black also had a personal foul against Graham, who was a defenseless receiver on a deep pass in the first half.

But perhaps the biggest foul occurred on defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who was flagged for hitting Brees’ helmet on a play in the first half in which he had a sack and a forced fumble. The fumble was negated and the Saints were awarded a first down and 15 yards.

“We just need to keep working on the strike zone and make sure we’re hitting where it's legal,” Schiano said. “You don't get to practice that because you don’t hit live during the week, so you just have to emphasize it. We’ll continue to emphasize it. But our guys are playing very hard. I’ve been through stretches like this and it kind of balances out usually. So hopefully that’ll occur.”

For the second straight week, Tampa Bay’s linebacking corps made huge plays for the defense. Last week against the Jets, Foster had two sacks and a forced fumble, weakside linebacker Lavonte David had a sack and an interception, while strongside linebackers Dekoda Watson (sack) and Jonathan Casillas (forced fumble) also made big plays.

Against New Orleans, Foster made a goal line stop on running back Mark Ingram on fourth down just before halftime to create a turnover on downs, in addition to giving the Bucs a 14-13 lead in the fourth quarter with an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown. David had 1.5 sacks and Watson recorded an interception.

The Saints nearly took a 17-7 lead just before halftime after an apparent 30-yard touchdown pass to Graham, but instant replay overturned the call and showed that the tight end was down at the Tampa Bay 1. That proved to be crucial as the Bucs defense forced a 20-yard Saints field goal attempt from the Tampa Bay 2, which was good.

However, the Saints decided to take the points off the scoreboard and accept an offside penalty on cornerback Leonard Johnson. Brees and the offense returned to the field on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Foster stuffed Ingram for no gain and the Bucs defense held the Saints without points just before the half ended.

The Buccaneers blew a chance to take a 14-13 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter as a 65-yard touchdown catch by Vincent Jackson, who caught five passes for 77 yards, was negated due to an illegal formation penalty. Two plays later, Freeman would throw an interception to free safety Malcolm Jenkins that was returned 31 yards to the Tampa Bay 39.

With two close losses, the Buccaneers are now 0-2 as the team prepares to travel to New England to play the 2-0 Patriots. History shows that just 12 percent of the NFL teams that start the season 0-2 reach the playoffs.

First Quarter – Saints 3, Buccaneers 0

On third-and-5 from the New Orleans 40, Drew Brees hit tight end Jimmy Graham for a 21-yard gain to the Tampa Bay 39. On third-and-3 from the Tampa Bay 32, Brees hit Marques Colston with a 13-yard gain to get a first down inside the red zone. But on second-and-10 from the Bucs’ 19, Gerald McCoy sacked Brees for a 7-yard loss. Brees was 3-of-6 for 49 yards on the Saints’ opening possession, but the Saints had to settle for a field goal. Garrett Hartley’s 44-yard kick was good and New Orleans was out in front 3-0.

First Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Saints 3
After a rain delay that lasted an hour and nine minutes, Josh Freeman gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree. The Bucs drive was set up by an interception by Tampa Bay linebacker Dekoda Watson at the New Orleans 35. Freeman was 3-of-5 for 18 yards on the Bucs’ opening drive, and had a key 13-yard run to get the Bucs into the red zone. Doug Martin carried five times for 20 yards, including a 12-yard run.

Second Quarter – Saints 10, Buccaneers 7
Brees threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham, who was wide open with middle linebacker Mason Foster and Watson trailing in coverage. That score gave the Saints the lead again, 10-7.

Third Quarter – Saints 13, Buccaneers 7
The Saints took over at the Tampa Bay 40-yard line after Cameron Jordan sacked Josh Freeman and forced a fumble that was recovered by Junior Galette. On third-and-10, Lance Moore gained 15 yards to pick up a first down. But on third-and-13 from the Tampa Bay 17, linebacker Lavonte David recorded a 6-yard sack that forced a 41-yard field goal by Hartley to increase New Orleans’ lead to 13-7.

Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 14, Saints 13
Tampa Bay middle linebacker Mason Foster intercepted Brees and returned the pick 85 yards for a touchdown to give the Bucs a 14-13 lead with 12:38 left in the game.

Fourth Quarter – Saints 16, Buccaneers 14
Taking over at the New Orleans 37 after a missed 47-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, Brees hit Graham for a 15-yard gain to start the drive, followed by an 8-yard pass to running back Darren Sproles. That set up a 31-yard pass to Marques Colston down to the Tampa Bay 9 with six seconds left in the game to set up Hartley’s game-winning field goal as time expired.

After sacking New Orleans QB Drew Brees four times on Sunday, Tampa Bay’s defense is tied for the NFL lead with nine on the season. Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded his first sack of the season in the first quarter against Saints QB Drew Brees. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn notched a sack and forced a fumble. Linebacker Lavonte David recorded a career-high 1.5 sacks, and strong safety Mark Barron, who led the team with a career-high 13 sacks, got half a sack. … Tampa Bay strongside linebacker Dekoda Watson recorded his first career interception of Brees in the first quarter. … Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster recorded his first NFL touchdown when he returned a fourth quarter interception 85 yards for a score. The pick was Foster’s third of his career and was the third-longest in team history. … Wide receiver Kevin Ogletree recorded his first touchdown as a Buccaneer on Sunday. … Bucs running back Doug Martin recorded his first 100-yard game of the season with 144 yards rushing. Martin has six 100-yard rushing games in his career. … Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman had nine completions against New Orleans and now has 1,125 completions in his career. With two more completions he’ll surpass Vinny Testaverde (1987-92) for the most in team history with 1,127. Freeman scrambled for 13 yards on Sunday, which gives him 918 yards rushing in his career, which surpassed Testaverde’s 905 yards. … The game was delayed one hour and nine minutes due to thunderstorms in the Tampa Bay area. … The Bucs honored Gene Deckerhoff for 25 years of service as the “Voice of the Buccaneers.” The radio booth will now be known as the “Gene Deckerhoff Radio Booth.”

The following Bucs were inactive against the Saints: TE Tom Crabtree, CB Michael Adams, LG Carl Nicks, DE William Gholston, RB Peyton Hillis, DE Steven Means and QB Dan Orlovsky.

The following Saints were inactive against the Bucs: RB Khiry Robinson, S Isa Abdul-Quddus, OT Terron Armstead, DE Tyrunn Walker, DT Broderick Bunkley, WR Nick Toon and DT Glenn Foster.

• Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered an injured right ankle early in the second quarter, but later returned.

• Defensive tackle Derek Landri injured his knee right before halftime and was out for the remainder of the game.

• The Buccaneers had a busted coverage in the first quarter that allowed Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to get wide open for a 56-yard touchdown to give New Orleans a 10-7 lead.

• The officials being ridiculously judicious with personal fouls in the second quarter. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn and free safety Dashon Goldson each picked up 15-yard personal foul penalties for alleged helmet-to-helmet hits on quarterback Drew Brees and running back Darren Sproles, respectively. The NFL is absolutely sissy-fying the game of pro football and some form of helmet-to-helmet contact is inevitable. Why not flag offensive and defensive linemen on every snap then?

• Left tackle Donald Penn giving up a sack in a second straight game. Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan got around Penn on third down in the third quarter and sacked Josh Freeman, forcing a fumble that was recovered by New Orleans and set up a field goal.

• Josh Freeman stared down Vincent Jackson in the third quarter and threw into double coverage, which denied the Bucs chance for offensive points in the second half.

• Tampa Bay’s defense has given up two late, game-winning field goals after the offense has failed to run enough time off the clock to prevent late-game comebacks by both the Jets and the Saints in consecutive weeks.

Tampa Bay (0-2) will travel to New England to play Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (2-0). Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on Fox.

Last modified on Sunday, 15 September 2013 22:04

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  • avatar

    Bucs got some serous problems: QB play sucks, GM sucks, HC suck. anyone wonders how we lost the last 2 games? or the season before last season? if you wonder, your brain su-
  • avatar

    Kicker missed a field goal that most likely would have won the game - that's why you lost. You held a good New Orleans team in check most of the game and gave yourself a chance to win, but the kicker failed. There are certainly things you can look at and say they could have been done better, but the bottom line is that he has to do his job and make that kick.
  • avatar

    To me this loss is on Coach Schiano for not running a play to attempt to get a first down as time was running out. We didn't need the points, we needed the clock to run down and put as much distance and as little time as possible between Drew Brees and the goal line. I was screaming not to attempt a 47 yard field goal because missing it gives Drew Brees the ball on the 37 yard line with only 30 yards needed for the Saints to attempt a game winner. Instead of "trusting our kicker." How about trusting the running back who ran for nearly 150 yards? Yes, there are other factors on which we can blame Josh Freeman but when he sat down his team had the lead. These last two weeks this defense has allowed 25 yard and 31 yard receptions in the closing seconds. What are you doing Coach?
  • avatar

  • avatar

    Well said scubog. Coaching coaching coaching. Still having a hard time understanding how we can have communication issues during a home game in Week 2. Delay of games coming out of a timeout? Why are we lining up incorrectly all the time? Why was Leonard Johnson covering Colston the last drive in the slot? Why not Banks or Revis? Why not throw a quick slant or do a play action bootleg with Freeman on 2nd or 3rd down of the last series to get the critical first down and run the clock out? Why do we keep playing prevent zone defense with 3 man rush in final minute of a game, is losing 5 times this way not enough of a lesson learned? Our defense is playing lights out, offense is struggling, and we still could be 2-0 if our coaching was on point. Before we used to complain about not having talent to compete. We have plenty of talent now. Its all on the coaches from here on out.
  • avatar

    Jiggyjoe, Jackson had some drops, passes he should've caught, but the throws were far from on the money. One he had to run up for, and attempt a diving catch, and one was thrown hard behind him on a crossing route that hit his left shoulder pad. That pass should've been low in front of him where he can make the catch, and get down to protect himself. Ever hear of a quarterback throwing his receiver open? The 70 yarder that was called back was all Jackson. Both players had to wait for the ball and Jackson out muscled the D.B., not a good throw. The pass that Williams caught, and couldn't stay in bounds, throw that a tick earlier he has plenty of field to stay in bounds. So if you think a Q.B. who completes 50 percent, with 1 T.D., 1 pick, 1 fumble, and a whopping 125 yards passing is good enough to win, you're backing the right guy.
  • avatar

    Scott you really blaming that sack fumble on Penn? Josh had time to throw, he just stood in the pocket, and froze. No pocket presents, and no clock in his head. He sould've gotten rid of the ball way before the sack, or at least stepped up in the pocket. Can't believe you're pinning that play on Penn.
  • avatar

    One thing I'll say is that everyone played their hearts out on both sides of the ball. It's criminal and heartbreaking that the refs are deciding whether we win our games. Beyond that I'm...speechless. In shock really...
  • avatar

    This game was hard to watch. Once again, Freeman played well enough to win. How can you expect him to win when Jackson drops passes and the linemen line up offsides and ruin his best throw. I did not like the hit on the Saints player after he dropped the ball and was on the ground. It was a cheap shot and the Buc who hit him was acting like he made the play. He needs a note from the HQ in NYC. I thought that the defense was outstanding for most of the game. Who ever is coaching them is doing a good job. Same for special teams. I think that Coach Schiano is doing a better job too. He is finally realizing he has a problem and he is part of his problem. That is the first step in fixing problems. Until the penalties problem is fixed; the team will have a hard time beating any team. I think Coach coached better and Freeman played better. As B. Franklin said, "you can hang together or you can hang separately". Go Bucs!!!!
  • avatar

    Louden. Your kidding right? Dominick is the reason this team has any talent at all. He drafted a star RB in Martin, a young talented WR in Williams. Pro bowl DT in McCoy, one of the best you g Lb's in the NFL in David, toss is what mason foster is doing and what mark Barron is expected to become how can you question his ability to draft? The head coach may be over his head and Freeman's time may be up in Tampa but I see no reason to blame Mark Dominick who may be one of the top GMs in football.
  • avatar

    @weinberger83: let´s face it. Look how many draft busts we had under Dominik. The last 2 years were good, but we can seriously doubt it was all Dom (Scouter from Seattle + Shiano´s crew/head - Shiano obviously has an eye for talent, but he´s completely unable to utilize those per sheme etc. and sometimes i cant understand him at all >>> Glennon pick in round 3?!). But as i said before: It´s Dominiks fault that the bucs aren´t progressing but regressing, because: He got us Shiano. He was all in that win now mode, instead of finishing the rebuilding programm we were on (and we could have build sth. that would have lasted). When last season ended, it was obvious that the bucs have plenty of holes to fill and lacked talent. So instead of keeping building (especially after that great draft a year ago) we sold out 2 high draft picks for young, in the near future needed help/puzzle pieces, just to go to get a very good player, who won´t help us reach anything (because of the other holes) and he costs so much, that we cant sign Veterans>>> no draft picks or FA help to fill those holes. Yet, youre defending him? Yeah, he got us some (realy good) talent via FAgency, but like i said, anyone could throw a ton of money to a player and hope that the player won´t be able to say "no" (of course there goes more into it, but basically..)
  • avatar

    ...besides, drafting McCoy: nothing was more obvious at that time, than that pick. although going for Suh, would have been even better (but costly)
  • avatar

    Whats funny is the eye for talent of schiano always picking up Rutgers players who are at home watching TV to put on Buccaneer Jerseys. This is ridiculous.
  • avatar

    So how did I know the stars would all play much better in this game but the Bucs would still come up short to the Saints? Because I have seen on prior Buc teams where the stars were protected in the preseason it just took one live game to get into game shape. However, I also knew micromanaging Schiano would continue to put an unorganized team on the field because his mind is overloaded trying to do it all himself. Thus you have slow calls to the field, substitution errors, communication problems, and way too many penalties. Then you also can count on Schiano to try to run the time out with a slim lead instead of trying for touchdowns to put the game out of reach. He turns the game over to stupid Sherman who believes in prevent defenses to win games--he only rushed four this time and blew the second game in a row. At least this time Schiano accepted the blame for the loss. This loss was in no way Dominick's fault. He got us such good players we have a dominant defense despite Sherman! You need a Pro Coach with a Pro Staff who can rely on his position coaches and does not micromanage. Be prepared to start this season 0-4, the Schiano way. And he should have kept the rookie field goal kicker who would have aced the last Buc field goal. We are stuck with an over the hill kicker in the last games of his career. Thanks Schiano!
  • avatar

    Schiano, thanks bro but this one is CLEARLY on you.. Just one first down and it's ballgame. Thanks for taking the ball out of Josh's hand and not really trying to get a first down...a 47 yard FG to put the game away? C'mon man
  • avatar

    The problem with this team really is coaching. These procedural mistakes, fouled communication and overly-predictable play calling are all squarely on Schiano. I respected the guy by the end of last year. But at this point it's obvious that he is not ready to coach at this level. He, and is staff, are losing us these games. We have enough talent to win right now. Over 100 years in penalties two week in a row is a travesty. I'm having a hard time watching this team because they are just too heartbreaking.
  • avatar

    I am not one to complain about officiating because I usually agree that it works both ways in most games, but the bucs are getting scre ed. They are being called on plays that are questionable over and over and way too often they are game changing calls. Meanwhile saints got away with same infractions. That has to change. NFL standards are starting to suffer. Freeman did not lose this game. Unfortunately he is not being put in many positions to win. Our defense is starting to look like the old days. Hope is not lost buc fans. If play calling picks up, this team is going to surprise people.
  • avatar

    Bucs need new HC, GM and QB. The Saints went kind of vanilla on us, they didn´t have to expose their playbook to beat us. If they wanted to, they could have scored much more - granted and they could have sent more pressure. The sad thing is, that they dont have to, because our coaching is lacking. On the long term: we are not in a good position, if we keep Mark Dominik. He is awfull at drafting and we lost some future draft picks (and cap space) with the Revis trade and we have lots of holes left (including big QB hole) all because "win now mode". Very bad manager. But there is hope, if we get some football geeks to florida. Lots of good pieces are already here. Bucs need to get rid of Freeman AND the Shianomik demon(dominik shiano). GoBucs, do it, GoBucs!!
  • avatar

    Cant blame freeman for the predictable play calling, horse. The refs are using our hard hits against us, bullshit calls and stupid mistakes are killing our drives. Freeman had a nice 73yrd TD with VJax just so it could nullified with a "false start" penalty. Had that gone through, the game was a piece of cake. Also man, i dont know if its schiano, or sullivan but dang it, open up that playbook, give me some screens, reverses, something to throw the D off, they know we are coming through the middle in 1st and 2nd and pass on 3rd. not that hard figure it out at all. Overall, I thought the defense was outstanding, best D ive seen in a while. All i want to know is if we can DRAFT A COACH on the first round next year. Leave freeman alone, he isnt the problem, Schiano is, and he will get dominic fired for the power of full roster control.
  • avatar

    We have mostly good players except for Freeman who is below average. We have a coach that is out of his league and should step down now.
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