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September 16, 2013 @ 12:59 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Lose Another Hearbreaker 16-14: Unit Game Grades

Written by Haley
Haley Cornish


Pewter Report Intern E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tampa Bay let another victory slip out of their grasp again Sunday, giving up a late Saints drive to drop them to 0-2 on the season. How did each unit fare? Find out in PewterReport.com's weekly game grade feature.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in the final seconds to the New Orleans Saints 16-14, making their record 0-2. This is the second game in a row where the Bucs continuously shot themselves in the foot with unnecessary penalties, turnovers, and questionable decision-making by the coaching staff. The Bucs only needed to fix one of those issues to win both this week and last week, but have been unable to do so. These are the grades the Bucs earned after another heartbreaking loss.

Josh Freeman had a disappointing stat line completing just nine of 22 passes for 125 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and one fumble. His quarterback rating was a measly 56.1. However, Freeman had no help from his receivers Sunday afternoon as Vincent Jackson had two drops, and fell down on two of his routes, accounting for four incompletions. Doug Martin also had a drop, his third in two games. Those passes alone would have put Freeman over 50 percent completion percentage, but that still isn’t good enough.

Freeman also had a 76-yard touchdown pass called back on a penalty, an illegal formation when a receiver didn’t line up properly. That is one play that can be pointed to when looking at how the Bucs lost this game. But Freeman had his fair share of mistakes as well, including staring down Vincent Jackson and forcing the ball resulting in a costly interception. Freeman also held the ball for too long and was strip-sacked in the second half.

Without those two turnovers, the Bucs would have most likely won the game, as they were both in Saints territory with the Bucs poised to score. Instead, the Bucs offense ended the game scoring just seven points, and was only able to score those seven points because of a turnover created by the defense. The offensive struggles can’t only be blamed on Freeman, but he deserves a good amount of the blame. If he continues to struggle, He could be benched by the bye week.

The one part of the offense that was successful against the Saints was running back Doug Martin. After struggling last week, the offensive line was able to give Martin just enough wiggle room to break free on a number of runs. Martin ended the game with 144 yards on 28 carries, averaging five yards per attempt.

The success of the run game is vital to the Bucs offense as it opens up the play action, and forces defenses to stack the box. Last year when Martin ran successfully, the Bucs offense was almost unstoppable. But today, the rest of the offense looked struggled despite Martin’s success.

As mentioned above, Freeman didn’t have much help at all from his receivers. Jackson had a two drops, but did finish the game with five receptions for 77 yards, most of which came on the final drive where the offense finally woke up.

Mike Williams was hardly involved, and he also had a missed opportunity when he was unable to keep his feet in bounds that would have resulted in a first down. Kevin Ogletree was the only other receiver to make a catch, and it was for the offense’s only touchdown.

Apparently the Bucs do have a tight end on their roster, as Nate Byham caught the first pass for a tight end this season. He was wide open on the play and gained 34 yards on the catch. Other than that, he was invisible all game, along with Luke Stocker, who most likely to lose his starting job when Tom Crabtree returns.

Yes, this is the same offensive line that gave up three sacks and didn’t open up any holes in the run game last week. Against the Saints, they were lights out in pass protection, giving Freeman all day to throw the ball on almost every play. The only sack given up was Freeman’s fault as his internal clock was apparently malfunctioning at the time.

The line also opened up the run game for Martin who had a monster game despite the rest of the offensive struggles.

Demar Dotson played well all game along with the left tackle Donald Penn, who struggled mightily against the Jets. Guard Davin Joseph looked like his old self after a poor performance last week. Guard Gabe Carimi, who is replacing the injured Carl Nicks, looked much more comfortable than he did against New York.

The front four looked improved this week, as they were able to get more pressure on the quarterback without the help of the blitz. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy started the game off with a big sack of Drew Brees and ended the game with two tackles, despite playing through what looked like an ankle injury. 

Defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury, had a huge game that should have been even bigger. He had what should have been a monster sack on Brees that resulted in a fumble, but the great play was negated on a very questionable helmet-to-helmet penalty. It looked like a clean hit as Clayborn hit Brees in the shoulder, and that is another game-altering penalty that could have been the difference. Aside from that play, Clayborn still had a great game finishing with five tackles and a pass breakup.

As a whole, the front four was very solid against the run and got decent pressure on their own, but still gave Brees way too much time on several plays. What was thought to be the biggest question mark coming into the season, has played well and held their own on Sunday helping to pressure Brees and lock down the Saints running game for the most part.

Through two games this year the Bucs’ linebackers already have more interceptions (three) and sacks (5.5) than they had all of last season. The linebackers played well against the Jets, but they were on a different level against the Saints. Strongside linebacker Dakota Watson started things off by intercepting Brees, which lead to the offense’s only touchdown. Watson ended the game with two tackles and a pass break up.

Weakside linebacker Lavonte David was on a mission to make up for his big penalty last week and succeeded. He ended the game with 1.5 sacks, six tackles, three quarterback hits, and a pass deflected.

But middle linebacker Mason Foster had the play of the game by far. On his second career interception he returned the ball 85 yards for the third longest pick-six in Tampa Bay history. You aren’t going to see many plays better than that from a linebacker. Mason Foster, two games into the season, is already having the best year of his young career.

The revamped secondary had another okay game, but penalties and blown coverages kept it at just that. On a touchdown pass to from Brees, it looked like Mark Barron didn’t know to cover tight end Jimmy Graham leaving him wide open for the score. The safeties struggled containing Graham in the first half, but were able to hold him off pretty well in the second. Graham finished the game with ten catches and 176 yards.

Aside from Graham, none of the Saints receivers had much success at all against the Bucs secondary, as wide receiver Marques Colston was second in yards behind Graham with just 63. Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis looked as healthy as ever on a play where Colston put a double move on him, but Revis was able to chase down the pass and bat it away. Revis ended the game with four tackles and a pass break up, and looked to only allow one completion against him.

Safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron struggled in coverage in the first half, but were absolute monsters in the run game. Goldson, who did have another costly personal foul, ended the game with nine tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass deflected. If he can work on preventing those big personal fouls, Goldson is going to have a big year and opposing receivers will regret catching the ball near him.

Barron led the team in tackles with 13, and also had half a sack, shared with Lavonte David, along with a pass break up. Barron is thriving in his new role that puts him in the box and allows him to get more involved in blitzes and the run game. Barron did have that blown coverage, along with a pass interference call but looks more at home with his new responsibilities in 2013.

Safety Ahmad Black didn’t have a good game, struggling against the pass and also had a very costly, bonehead personal foul penalty in the first half. Black is going to need to improve since he is seeing a lot of playing time in dime and nickel packages.

Bucs punter Michael Koenen didn’t show off the rocket leg displayed last week, but much of that was by design to keep the ball out of the hands of the dangerous Sproles. Koenen averaged just 40.5 yards per punt but Sproles failed to gain any return yards.

Kicker Rian Lindell, who the Bucs signed right before the season, missed a 47-yard field goal that would have put the Bucs up four points, forcing the Saints to have to score a touchdown. Instead, the Saints got great field position and only had to gain about 30 yards to kick the game winning field goal.

Lindell can’t solely be blamed for the loss as the Bucs had so many other mistakes throughout the game yet again. However the special teams unit did nothing impressive to keep them from receiving a failing grade.


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  • avatar

    All I can say is the only thing a prevent defense prevents is a win for the team playing it. A team plays solid defense for 4 quarters except for the last 2 minutes when they go into panic mode and allow the other team to nickle and dime them down the field and win on a field goal. I say you are better dancing with who brung ya, instead of switching horses in mid stream out of fear of losing.
  • avatar

    Mjmoody, finally some one who gets it. Thank you, I couldn't have said it better.
  • avatar

    people need to realize that we arent just a few plays away from being 2-0. The Jets beat us. The Jets (Tampa was awful). The saints could have blow us up - if they wanted to, but their HC is a smart guy, so he doesn´t let his "harder to defend" plays getting recorded on tape(short: they went vanilla). simple as that. Freeman is not a very good QB (doesnt mean he could never get it done, but he would need a very strong supporting cast - remember Rex Grossman was in a SuperBowl). I would be on boad to give shiano a last chance (next) season, but i fullly doubt he is a good coach. Dominick is a lousy GM, now thats for sure (as freeman as QB). all in all they all 3 have to go. the sooner the better (best thing would be a draft pick exchanged for Free)
  • avatar

    QB coach McNulty should be getting as much blame as Schiano. He is just as bad a position coach as the DB coach we had last year. Last year all the CB's looked worse than they have before or since (Aqib comes to mind) and he never got blamed for anything until the year was over. All the blame went to the DB's. Now we have McNulty who came from the Cardinals where the QB's were attrocious and now none of our QB's can complete 50% of their passes. Let's not trade Freeman and wait until the end of the year before we realize the real problem. Demote or fire McNulty now! I'll be campaigning for this for the rest of the year.
  • avatar

    I am not defending Schiano or Sully. BUT--did Schiano throw the ball at his receiver's feet for the past 5 years? Did he throw inaccurately or behind his receiver's on mid and deep routes for the past 5 years? Did he telegraph his throws with his eyes? Read defenses too slowly? Throw late? Sleep through the first 3 quarters of play? Become rattled in the pocket? Hold the ball too long? Take sacks? Throw an INT? How can any coach that wants to win possibly put that football in Josh's hands at the end of that game? What had Josh done to earn that trust? Schiano hasn't even been in Tampa for as long as we've all endured this poor QB play. The only consistency? His inconsistency. It's always the OC, or the play calling, or the line, or the WO, or the hole at TE. NO NO NO, it's the QB. The QB is the captain of the offense--well, on most teams he is. The Lion's share of the credit or the blame go onto him. Schiano will stand at the podium today and take the blame for this awful loss. He's supposed to. He's accountable. It's time to start holding our "franchise" QB accountable too.
  • avatar

    PR is it true that the Bucs were running zone coverage most of the game and that Revis was not happy about it? Anybody know?
  • avatar

    I know Freeman needs to improve!? But. he has performed better before??? Our play calling is just God awful!!! No Slants, screens to take some pressure off Freeman. He has to have better "pocket awareness" and get rid of the ball. When in doubt, run it... he use to??? We have no TE on this roster? Watching highlights of NFL teams, the TE is featured and used by most teams. How do we break camp and these are the TE that give us the best chance? The OC is just horrible with his play calling!!! Was last year and continues this year!!! We have never had an OC in Tampa??? Why??? I know we were a few penalties away from being 2-0, but we have some real internal problems with HC, OC, and QB. Perhaps we bench Josh for one game, everyone can see his replacement is not on roster, and then continue with Josh. That will quiet the calls for back-up and maybe Josh can get his head right. The continued lack of "clock management" and the look of a constant fire drill is alarming? Not sure what the answer is, but I will continue to support my Bucs by buying overpriced tickets to this mess, until we get things worked out! I'm just saying...
  • avatar

    10 penalties for 118 yards this week. When do the coaches get graded? When does Schiano lose his job. The talent is here. When do we get rid of the Captain of this ship? Did you notice VJ pushing a coach out of his way? The coaching staff has lost its players.
  • avatar

    It is beyond aggravating watching this team. Being a lifetime BUCS fan I feel like I have gone in a time warp back 25 years when the BUCS wore creamsicle jersies and seemed destined to loose every game in any manner possible. This team is very talented and should be 2-0. With a decent coach I think they blow out the Jets and win against the Saints. In the Schiano era they are now 0 - 5 in games decided in the last minute. You'd think he would learn. With Schiano the only way we will win is our defense makes a play at the end or we pummel someone so bad they cannot come back. His techniques may work in College but he is proving once again why College coaches usually don't transition well to the NFL. Look Freeman may not be the answer and he may suck but at least give him the chance. If he completes the pass and gets a first down game is over if he doesn't you punt it and Brees has to go the length of the field with no time outs. Best option FIRE Schiano and let Wannstedt take over with this team we could probably salvage a decent record.
  • avatar

    'He may suck but at least give him a chance'? It has been half a decade. NEWS FLASH - HE SUCKS.
  • avatar

    The D-line deserves an A based on Clayborn's performance alone. He had the game of his life! He was getting pressure all night and the tackles he made were violent, critical and often times he came flying from the other side of the field to make them. All of that is aside from that BS sack-fumble (worst call of the game that had many) that was taken away from him. It was the best individual performance by a Buc D-lineman in recent memory and both he and L. David desevere a seperate article to emphasize how well they're playing!
  • avatar

    Hey, we're all frustrated with the W-L results. But why do posters always argue that everything is wrong, when there is progress being made. The defence (which Schiano is a major part) played very well, other than the lack of coverage on Graham. We are a bad penalty and a missed FG away from being 2-0, at which point, Schiano would be a genius. I do agree, however, that the offensive issues are a major source of frustration, and that goes down to coaches and players. This game was closer than I expected, however.
  • avatar

    I Love the way you think nmkinley. You hit it perfectly on the head. We have a few issues, but both games were close losses in the last minute to seconds. Despite our performance in certain areas we came back and the TEAM played hard both games to get there at the end. Miscues happen to every team, timing just happened to be our downfall as we seem to have bad luck at the wrong time. 1st game playing hard for the team with adrenilan running high maybe cost us with an iffy call being the QB at the end. 2nd game again, you cant tell me anyone on the TEAM wanted to lose. Sure some miscues again early on, but we were in position to win and anyone could make excuses like high winds, 47 yard try, wet field, pressure, maybe punt inside the 5-10 for a long field with 1:09 (?) left with our defense playing so well and a 1 point lead. The players read this stuff you write on here. They are in to win with what they have to work with. Effort is relentless by everyone, not always perfect, we all mess up even making the big bucks. Put the average person in their place. If you knew you you could win a million dollars for making a basketball hoop from half court or kicking a field goal from the 40 yard line with six months notice to practice. Off topic, but my point is made. Enough said. Out TEAM plays their heart out and that has shown these first 2 games. This season is not over, so lets get on board!
  • avatar

    I am certain that Josh is playing the worst I have ever seen him play, but I am not so certain that Schiano is doing a bad job. That defense is a lot better than it was last year. I know the Saints are not a bad weather team and the soggy field may have slowed them down, but the addition of Revis and the overall intensity of the defense is quite noticeable. So I will give Schiano credit for the improved defense and I will reserve judgement on his ability to develop an offensive attack. Regardless, this is the second game that they should have won and the coach and quarterback will always be blamed for the final result
  • avatar

    Come on Haley... They called the illegal formation on Demar Dotson for not lining up on the line of scrimmage. If you look at the replay it was a B.S. call. Wha'st funny is New Orleans had to blow a Time out on a Punt but no one is saying how poor the coaching is on New Orleans. When TB wasted To's and its poor coaching then when another team does it also has to be poor coaching.
  • avatar

    Usualy don't post, but I'd bet big money that Jon Gruden could take this team to the post season no problems. Our coach just can't seem to get his s**t together. They need to take the brakes off Freeman and let the guy play his game. And I mean let him run when things break down. All that aside it looked like Buc,s defense might be back to what we all expect. Think we have a real good shot at the Pats.
  • avatar

    The Defense should get A's across the board because they played well despite bad officiating and poor coaching. What about making a key goal line stand with only 10 freaking players on the field?! We have 37 coaches and none of them can count.
  • avatar

    This lost is not Josh's fault, last week wasn't Josh's fault. This is all COACHES fault! For the second straight week, Josh has not played well for 3 1/2 quarters but when it counts most, he pulls in and grinds for yards. I can tell you now that the coaches are not letting him play his own game. They call all the plays and he will make adjustments along the way. the Coach will run Freeman out of town where he might get picked up with another team and may succeed. The last play we called a run when they all were in the box. Who fault is this??? The playcaller which isnt Josh. And what was up with this kicker? We gave them the game with that miss. We should of A) Punt or B) go for the yards... Please someone tell me what does it take for this team to win a game? All the penalties are getting ridiculous. The Clayborn hit should of been a no call. It was complete BS but again, this is the coaches fault for not discipling the hit from the safety position. Good Defense last night but not enough Offense to go with it. I feel so sick going to work and talking about this game when my Coworker is a Bears fan and they win on a last minute touchdown. What a freakin day!
  • avatar

    It is in fact Josh's fault. He plays like crap for 3.5 quarters, as you note, and you expect the coaches to trust him when it counts in the closing moments of the game? It is Josh's fault. If we had Alex Smith (Alex freaking mediocre Smith for goodness sake) for QB we would be 2-0. If we resign Freeman +/or keep Dom and Hickey, the next few seasons of futility will be unbearable.
  • avatar

    Here are some keys for a successful future: dont resing Freeman, and fire the Shianomik demon (Shiano+Dominik). the truth is we were in rebuilding mode. We didnt finish the rebuilding, but opted to go "win now". With that, we lost 2 high draft picks - needed to get young KEY puzzle pieces for a successful future. Instead(since end of last season), while having way too many holes/lack of talent, we get us a CB, who is realy good, but wont take us anywhere. Instead, we loose the option to build through draft,nor FAgency (cap space). Well done, "Rockstar" dom the don. So for the bucs to get relevant again, the next couple of years, especially the next 12 months will be very interesting. PeweterReport should be aware of these FACTS. I could see that on the horizon.... You guys should be experts (at least have more knowledge of what was going on, all offseason long, instead you guys also hyped up the Revis trade..). So again, lets start a campaign: we don´t need Freeman or the Shianomik demon!! Go Bucs! (can Pewter Report call out the Glazers? they have to do sth. about this mess, and the fans want a clean up - we dont want to be that extreme irrelevant - just give us a legimate FO, then the Glazers can lay back again and watch Soccer :) )
  • avatar

    Freeman played sub par, but a pattern is beginning to develop here. We are losing too many games where we have the lead with literally seconds remaining on the clock and the opposing team has no timeouts left. It happened at least 4 times last year and again in the first two games this year - all that ended in losses. Everybody knows how I feel about Schiano's game management, but others are starting to share opinions as well. See the following link...............http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/86617/schiano-is-right-bucs-failure-is-on-him
  • avatar

    Josh again proved to be what he'll always be, a 50 percent passer, prone to turning the ball over at the worst times, that fumble, and pick vintage Josh. He could not sustain a drive all day. This is the best I've seen our D play in a long time. The most important player on the team is your quarterback, let's face it, if Josh doesn't throw the pick against the Jets, and the sack fumble pick yesterday, we'd be 2- 0.
  • avatar

    What about grading the coaching as well... Greg Schiano should be on just as hot a seat right now as Josh. So much to blame on coaching in this game tbh...
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