For the second week in a row, the Buccaneers practically gift wrap a victory to their opponent. Multiple opportunities were nullified due to self-imposed penalties and other times the offense never got anything going. Lapses in judgement, busted coverage, and miscues all extended drives for the Saints.
In this second edition of “After Further Review,” beat writer Gil Arcia goes inside the two plays that impacted the Bucs and Saints game from Week 2.
OFFENSE: THE TOUCHDOWN THAT NEVER WAS
New Orleans lead 13-7 with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter. On second-and-nine from their own 27-yard line, the Bucs had two backs lined up behind Josh Freeman who was under center in Erik Lorig and Doug Martin, two tight ends in Luke Stocker and Tim Wright, and one receiver in Vincent Jackson. Both Wright and Stocker were lined up on the left side of the line with Wright being on the outside off the line so there wouldn't be any too many men on the line of scrimmage. Jackson started on the far left of the formation but would later motion across to the opposite end. Once Jackson set, Wright would later motion to the right side of the line of scrimmage and line up in the slot. After the snap, both tight ends ran short to deep range crossing routes to the left sideline where Jackson ran a streak up field from where he was lined up.
Freeman, watching Jackson all the way down field, threw the ball up to Jackson where Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro had him covered. But Vaccaro was no match for Jackson on the jump ball as Jackson came down with it at the Saints 22-yard line and ran it for what would be the go ahead touchdown. However, an illegal formation penalty on Tampa Bay right tackle Demar Dotson for not being lined up on the line of scrimmage brought the play back and the drive would eventually stall after a Josh Freeman interception.
Why This Was Relevant: The touchdown would have put the Bucs in front 14-13 after the extra point off the Jackson score. Instead, the Buccaneers saw themselves give the ball right back to New Orleans three plays later on an interception by Freeman where he, once again, never took his eyes off Vincent Jackson.
What They Said:
“Again, it doesn't if I agree, they called it. So we have to make sure that we are in compliance with the rule. And if it's called, it's a penalty." - Head coach Greg Schiano when asked on Monday about the illegal formation call that negated the touchdown.
DEFENSE: THE COLSTON RECEPTION THAT SETUP THE WINNING FIELD GOAL
It was second and two for the Saints at the Tampa Bay 40-yard line with :35 seconds to play in the game. Saints were in hurry-up mode and had three wide receivers in Robert Meachem (alone, left side) and Marques Colston and Kenny Stills on right side of the offense. Tight end Jimmy Graham lined up in between Colston and the right tackle with Dashon Goldson covering him. Running back Darren Sproles was in the backfield lined up three yards behind the left tackle.
From the shotgun, Drew Brees saw something in the Buccaneers defensive setup that caused him to change the play before the ball was snapped. After the snap, receivers Stills and Colston ran deep routes while Graham crossed the middle of the field from the right side. Meachem ran a curl route with rookie Johnthan Banks covering him and safety Ahmad Black offering help over the top of the left side of the Saints offensive formation. That left the right-to-middle part of the field open for Brees to hit either Stills (who was covered by Darrelle Revis) or Colston (who was one-on-one with Leonard Johnson). Colston saw the middle of the defense empty and immediately went inside on Johnson. Brees saw that and hit Colston for a 31-yard connection down to the Buccaneer nine yard line, setting up the Garrett Hartley game winning field goal from 27 yards out.
Why This Was Relevant: Well, for the obvious reason of course, it set up the game winning field goal. More importantly, Brees saw the mismatch of Johnson on Colston. Brees was not going to test Revis, who was stride for stride with Stills along the sideline. The Bucs defense was doomed once Graham crossed the middle removing Goldson from that part of the field and Black never moved over to help. That allowed Colston to break inside of Johnson which at the time the defense could have only hoped for either the pass being off the mark or Colston dropping the easy reception.
What They Said:
"He just caught the ball. Great throw, great catch, but one play doesn't put a stamp on the game, it definitely doesn't. But like I say, we just [have] got to execute things a lot better." - Cornerback Leonard Johnson after the game on Sunday when asked about the Colston catch.