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September 22, 2013 @ 5:59 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Suffer Third Straight Loss, 23-3: Unit Game Grades

Written by Haley
Cornish
Haley Cornish

Haley
Cornish

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Tampa Bay dropped their third game in a row and now face a monumental hole to climb out of to even reach last season's win total. Which units received passing grades? Which ones need to turn things around immediately? Get the answers in the weekly Unit Game Grade feature.
Tampa Bay fell to 0-3 when they lost to the New England Patriots 23-3 on Sunday in Foxborough. The offense drove the ball well, but was unable to finish some early chances that deflated the team. Tampa Bay lost the ball on downs four times in Patriots territory, and had a missed field goal. The Bucs had the opportunity to be in this game, but were unable to execute down the field. Here are the game grades in Tampa Bay’s third straight loss.

Quarterback
24-for-41 with two touchdowns, 300 yards and one interception. That is not a bad stat line, and would have been Josh Freeman’s if his receivers didn’t have (at least) five drops, two of which would have resulted in a touchdown. Two more would have converted big third downs but instead resulted in a fourth down. They weren’t poor passes either.

It didn’t help Freeman that his only two truly talented receivers were injured during the game. Mike Williams hobbled through the entire game, clearly not 100 percent, while Vincent Jackson sat out the second half. That left Freeman with Kevin Ogletree, Eric Page, and Nate Byham as his main receivers aside from the injured Williams. It showed in the fourth quarter too; Freeman had all day to throw the ball on several plays but ended up having to throw the ball away because no one could get open, resulting in more of his incompletions.

Freeman had his best game of the season, which isn’t saying too much. He did make a really poor throw intended for Vincent Jackson in the second quarter, but stared him down so hard former Buccaneer Aqib Talib picked it off, leading to a Patriots field goal right before the end of the first half. But that was a particularly strange series to begin with, as it seemed head coach Greg Schiano couldn’t make up his mind on whether to try to score before the half or not.

Freeman also had a few misfires where he either overthrew his receiver or was on a different page than them. But the majority of his incompletions were dropped passes and throwaways. However it is also worth noting that the Patriots were playing prevent defense at the end of the game, improving Freeman’s numbers for the day.

Freeman’s stat line for the game was 19-of-41 with 236 yards and one interception. Freeman was also sacked three times on the day. While Freeman didn’t have much help around him against the Patriots, he made plenty of mistakes on his own and does deserve some of the blame, but definitely not all of it.
GRADE= C-

RUNNING BACKS
With the return of Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, Doug Martin was bound for a big day. However, the offensive line really struggled at times to open up any holes for Martin, who’s 88 yards almost all came from his ability to fall forward after being hit, and being able to break tackles and make people miss on his own.

Martin did what he could on his twenty carries, and ended up with a decent 4.4 yards per carry. The stud running back also added two receptions for 20 yards, but did have a critical drop.
GRADE= B

WIDE RECEIVERS
Mike Williams led the receivers with five catches and 65 yards, despite being banged up most of the game. Williams did not have a drop on the day, but the same can’t be said for Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson, who had two costly drops against the Saints last week, and again against the Patriots. His first drop was on Tampa Bay’s opening drive on a second down pass thrown right to him, but Jackson heard footsteps and couldn’t hold on. His second drop was much worse, when on a third-and-1 second quarter play, Freeman tossed a perfect pass that fell right through Jackson’s hands. The play would have most likely resulted in a touchdown, but instead they turned the ball over on downs.

After Jackson left the game, receivers Kevin Ogletree and Eric Page got more involved in the game. Page actually looked very impressive making a nice adjustment on two Freeman passes, and ended the game with three catches and 55 yards despite not being involved for most of the game. Ogletree only had two receptions for 35 yards, and also had a drop on a nice third down pass from Freeman. If Jackson or Williams are out for an extended period of time, the Bucs will be in serious trouble. Even with both of them healthy, Tampa Bay clearly needs a third receiver option for Freeman to throw to, as Ogletree doesn’t seem to be the answer.
GRADE= D

TIGHT ENDS
With both Tom Crabtree and Luke Stocker inactive for today’s game, the Bucs had to start Nate Byham in the tight end position. Byham had just one catch for three yards and wasn’t much of a factor all game long, although he did block decently for Doug Martin. It doesn’t look like the Bucs will be successful throwing the ball to a tight end until Tom Crabtree returns, and that is still being very optimistic. Tim Wright failed to haul in a sure touchdown pass in the first half that could have ultimately made a difference in the game.
GRADE= D

OFFENSIVE LINE
Despite Nicks returning to the lineup, the Bucs’ offensive line struggled to create running room for Doug Martin. Nicks, along with Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph, still aren’t 100 percent after recovering from injuries. Joseph struggled in the run game and also gave up a sack.

Left tackle Donald Penn gave up a sack in his third consecutive game, but held up pretty well the rest of the game. Two of the three sacks given up by the offensive line were actually on plays with very good pass protection, but no one was open in the secondary so the pocket collapsed on Freeman. Once Nicks and Joseph are fully healthy, the offensive line should be one of the best in the NFL again.
GRADE= C

DEFENSIVE LINE
Although the defensive line managed to get two sacks against Brady, they struggled to get pressure most of the game. Brady had all day to throw, allowing his rookie receivers to shake off the Bucs’ secondary and get open. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn’s sack was due to the good coverage down field, giving Clayborn a lot of time to get to the quarterback.

Rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence had his first career sack and Brady had no chance on that play as Spence penetrated the line immediately. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy got some pressure on the day, but not enough to force any mistakes by Brady.

The defensive line also struggled against the run, giving the Patriots’ running backs plenty of holes, especially near the end of the game. The Bucs’ defense gave up a season-high 156 rush yards to the Pats, including 65 yards to former Buccaneer LeGarrette Blount.
GRADE= D

LINEBACKERS
After two spectacular games to start off the season, the Buccaneer linebacker corps was bound to cool off eventually. They cooled off against the Patriots, but still had an decent game. Lavonte David led the linebackers with nine tackles, including two tackles for loss, half a sack, and a PBU. David already has a team-leading three sacks on the season, more than he had all of last year (two).

Middle linebacker Mason Foster, who had the best game of his career last week, had eight tackles against the Patriots and a hit on Tom Brady. Strong side linebacker Dakota Watson didn’t record a tackle on the day.

Overall the linebackers had a so-sogame, but did struggle in run defense and containing the screen pass, which killed the Bucs most of the game.
GRADE= C

SECONDARY
Despite Tom Brady having all day to throw the ball, the secondary held him to 225 passing yards, which is less than what Freeman finished the game with. Brady also had two touchdown passes, but both were on plays where the defensive line failed to generate any pressure. Strong safety Mark Barron continued his impressive season by leading the team in tackles with 11, including a half sack and a pass break up. Barron also intercepted Tom Brady in the end zone, keeping the game from looking much more ugly than it could have looked.

Free safety Dashon Goldson, who narrowly avoided being suspended for the game, had seven tackles and didn’t play quite as aggressive as he had in two game prior, which is a good thing because he wasn’t penalized and still managed to have a good game.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis had five tackles and pretty much shut down receiver Kenbrell Thompkins the entire game, who he was covering most of the time. Thompkins did have two touchdowns, but neither of them were against Revis. 

Rookie Johnthan Banks struggled, allowing one touchdown to Thompkins and a costly pass interference call, putting the Patriots deep into Buccaneer territory. Banks finished the game with three tackles.

Overall the secondary did a pretty good job of holding Brady in check despite how much time he was given to throw the ball.
GRADE= B

SPECIAL TEAMS
Michael Koenen punted and kicked the ball well on Sunday, not allowing a kickoff return, although there were only two kickoffs the entire game. Eric Page didn’t get the chance to return a kickoff, but did have a good return of 12 yards on a punt.

Kicker Rian Lindell missed another field goal, this time from just 38-yards out. The Bucs will need to figure out their kicking situation fast, because Schiano clearly (and rightfully) does not trust Lindell as he chose to go for four fourth downs instead of attempt a field goal. Lindell did make one from 30 yards out, but that’s hardly enough to keep the Bucs from looking elsewhere.
GRADE= C-

Last modified on Sunday, 22 September 2013 19:32
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    This was a winable game. Really disappointed. Freeman looked like he was putting it together early, but Brady finds a way. Team is going to have to dig down deep to save this season.
  • avatar


    OK, let's see. For the price of one Darrelle Revis we could have had Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett, Brent Grimes and one additonal role player. Guess Dominik thought he was in the NBA. Oops!
  • avatar


    @EastEndBoy: You said it exactly right about Kansas City. They had a lot of good players but were losing. They changed their GM, coach, and QB...and now K. C. Is rolling. That's what the Bucs need to do.
  • avatar

    @HCpeweterreport: Horse wrote nothing that indicates he doesn´t like Freeman (as a person). He didn´t even write, that he hates seeing him QB-ing. He is simply pointing out, that (in his opinion, and i gotta agree), Freemans performance was worse, than youre article might suggest. And he´s a (below) average QB. There was nothing aggresive, just a reflection of opinion.. @Redwave: oh yeah, Freeman leads his WR to bang bang situations. Sometimes, you cant do sth. about it, but in Free´s case, its his nature, because of his playing style (or lack of skill, if you will). fully agree with what you´ve wrote. @jiggyjoe: absolutely right. lets see if we got a HC on that staff. or Rex Ryan next year? I would love to see a 3-4 defense in Tampa, if they stay 4-3, they have to bring at least 2 more besides the Lineman to the LineOfScrimmage, because the QB shouldnt know pre-snap, who will be coming. Playcalling on Def and Off is lacking. Maybe on purpose, because they know, that this team isn´t going to rock this season..
  • avatar


    Horse, I don't post very often but I am absolutely in agreement with your observations on the team and Freeman! I watched the whole game (ugh!) and if the receivers have not quit on him I'd be very surprised. I'm not sure how good the team is, but we seriously need a Quarterback that can read a defense and make a play when we need it. PewterreportHC;you were/are out of line for your criticism, grow up!
  • avatar


    I remember last year saying that Schiano had lost the team and that his coaching errors cost us several games. Then he won a meaningless game in ATL to end last season and apparently all the losses that preceeded that were forgiven. He hasn't learned from his mistakes last year and most importantly the players simply aren't responding to him. We should have played like our hair was on fire in NE yesterday and we laid an egg. Talent is only good when the right man is leading the team. I have to echo the words of Stephen A Smith when he said that Schiano is simply not a leader of MEN, his hard nosed approach only works when you have rings to back it up and the players have to listen. I feel that without a shadow of a doubt that Raheem Morris would have this team playing harder and would have at least a win or two thus far in the season. Raheem's controlled passing game allowed Freeman to get in sync early in the games which set that platform for the late game heroics. We saw early in his career a formula that seems simple but one that our coaching staff can't seem to quite grasp. Say what you will but Raheem coached easily the worst team we have seen since the SuperBowl to a 10 win season. If Schiano can't win in this league with the talent he has then he simply cant win in this league. Sidenote I do not think Dominick should lose his job as he gave Schiano everything he needed to win and instead of hiring proven guys he's bringing in every Rutgers flunkie that the payroll can handle, instead of drafting Escobar in the 3rd he used it as a luxury pick and took Glennon. This is like the Mike Singletary era that the 49ers went through, this hard nosed approach will prove to be beneficial to the players that needed to buckle down and learn how to be professionals but the next step is hiring a guy that can actually handle men and prepare us for playoff success. The lone bright spot is that we will either be able to get Clowney or the QB of our choosing if this losing continues and I GUARANTEE with better coaching we see the playoffs sooner rather than later. Go Bucs and start packing Greg its time!
  • avatar


    @Stlbucsfan - Agreed!
  • avatar

    stlbucsfan - not feeling good about it, but I find myself reluctantly nodding in agreement. I still hold out some hope for Schiano, but he doesn't seem to be adjusting like I expected, rather backsliding. However things end up, I expect the Bucs shall be better off for having had him here.
  • avatar


    The most troubling thing I saw from Freeman was when he wasn't on the field yesterday. Everytime the camera cut to him on the sideline, he was sitting ALONE on the end of the bench. Where Brady is sitting with his offensive mates coaching them up, you can clearly see he's the leader of that pack. This isn't the first time Freeman has been spotted sitting a lone on the sideline. It's clear the players aren't on his side, please pull the plug on this guy for everyones good.
  • avatar


    Wow horse sounds like such a condescending old man. If you think you can do a better job writing articles maybe you should get a job doing it instead of just writing on message boards. In my day I used to have to walk ten miles in the snow just to get to work. .
  • avatar


    PewterReportHC; I thought some more of your response to me and the word "hate" and "anger" used as your assumptions if Freeman is criticized too much to your liking. I forgot that I was dealing with a young adult with little life experiences with people, leadership, performance pay. I can see in your young life how criticism of anyone can be taken as hate and anger. I forgot the generation you are in has made little contribution to the world yet. It's kind of like when my oldest grandson thinks he understands the world, politics, and sports and I just say "all knowing of nothing". You haven't lived my life and have had my life experiences in this world to know any better than to use words like"hate and anger".
  • avatar


    @horse I appreciate the life lesson, but those aren't words I would ever use to describe someone, especially for a silly reason like that. I don't need "life experience" to know that is wrong. The reason I said that was because 90 percent of fans I talk to, who aren't "young adults" by the way, tell me they hate freeman as a player. I'm glad you aren't one of them, but that doesn't mean the same goes for everyone else.
  • avatar


    PewterRepotHC; okay I'll give you that one but disliking (I won't use hat) a players performance is not disliking the person. I like Josh and I believe he is a good guy. His performance as a QB is a definite dislike for me. We are into his 5th year (3 games played so far) and not much has changed. I remember Doug Williams way back and he was a hair under 50%, but he could make it happen when required and was tough enough to also run when he had to. Williams credentials speaks for themselves as he took the Bucs to the playoffs twice in his 5 years and was MVP in the Redskins Superbowl. What has Freeman done in 5 years to encoursge you to keep singing his praises? Trent Differ also comes to mind and also Jeff Garcia; none of these guys were good, but they look great compared to Freeman.
  • avatar


    I think it is time to look at the facts and fix what we can now and later. What can we do now? Replace the kicker. Fire the Head Coach and hire the best you can find from our coaching staff. Dump the Rutgers staff. Give Freeman another game and see what he can do. I wish there was a way to replace the off. and def. play calling team. Watching the Bucs play is painful. Start looking for a replacement QB for next year. Note to ownership: Find a very good coach who has won in the NFL and give him what he wants! You do not have a winning team now.
  • avatar


    Freeman had his best game of the season, which isn’t saying too much. That basically says it all...how much more of this are we going to have to take? change needs to happen soon- maybe coach and freeman should both go.. I don't think Glennon is the answer either-but if he goes out and TRIES to win,that's more then we are gettin out of freeman...
  • avatar


    Wow....just wow. Kansas City has to be our blueprint....lots of talent being held back by caching and.....dare I say it (as a long Time Freeman supporter) the wrong QB.....if KC can turn it around by changing the coach, GM and QB....so can we....hurry up Glazers, sooner the better!
  • avatar


    Part of my disappointment is the D-line had a great pass rush but, got neutralized which allowed Brady to hit a lot of underneath stuff. The rest hinges on the dropped balls. Nor am I happy with our field goal kicker (Lindell). The guy loses a division game with a miss and started this one with a miss. I see a potentially good product on the field. We have 13 more games to play. Hopefully, we can pull it together. Just my 2 cent.
  • avatar

    Horse, am I understanding this right? Are you suggesting that Jackson and Williams got hurt because of Freeman? That's a level of blame that I haven't even seen the staunchest of Freeman haters cast down on him. Wow...
  • avatar

    CBWx2: I had not read this before my reply to Haley. So I will answer this about my post. I missed much of this game due to moving and did not see those plays. However, I see Josh hang his receivers out to dry quite often as I described. High throws, late throws, throwing behind them, staring them down, bla, bla, bla. Josh got Jackson blasted last week if you remember. When Josh is gone, I bet we'll get to hear more about this type of thing.
  • avatar


    CBWx2; Go back and see the stretches and reaches these two guys in trying to bring in their catches. Vjax was hurting in the second quarter, but didn't go out until the 3rd quarter; Williams got injured limped off and came back in. These guys are professionals and are willing to accept the pain with their pay check. Did anybody else see what I saw? Where does all this bull hate come from. My goodness am I having to explain to young adults what performance means. The NFL is just like any other business and you pay for performance and the more money you make the more performance is expected. I saw a lot more good out of Williams and Jackson than I did with Freeman. This has zero to do with hate or anger; it's about performance. Freeman made it difficult at times for his WR's and RB's to perform. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes; some try harder than others. Freeman needs to try a lot harder if he expects to be paid upper tier performance pay.
  • avatar

    When your offense scores a grand total of 3 pts none should be higher than a D.
  • avatar


    Haley, I personally liked your grades and think they are perfect. If anything, I have issue with special teams grade being a bit high...but if anything, maybe just a half grade. But my advice to you would be to grow thicker skin. Your going to get a lot worse that that and you cant always explain every decision you make. All that being said, impressed with the game grades. look fwd to reading more of your work.
  • avatar


    VINCENT JACKSON.up to his old crap again.like when he was with chargers! when the going got tuff......HE SAT!!!!!!!
  • avatar


    They need to find that kicker Dimke ( spelling? ) that we had in pre season as Lindelll should be cut as soon as they get back to Tampa.
  • avatar

    dimke should have won in the first place anyhow!
  • avatar


    I would say that of the 236 yds. Freeman had 75 yds in garbage time. You can sway the stats any way you want but the TRUTH of the matter is Freeman is a below average QB. When are people going to stop with all the excuses and believe what you see on the field. The INT was ALL on Freeman. I couldn't believe the call and more so I couldn't believe Freeman threw it as Talib was in front of the receiver. A five year QB don't make those throws! I agree with Horse that Freeman should have a F. I'm a fan and I don't hate Freeman, I just call as I see it.
  • avatar

    I will continue to say it. Freeman is the issue. This is a QB driven LG. the Bucs do not have one.
  • avatar


    bucfan47; agree.
  • avatar

    WOW, If we had any sign of an offence we could maybe win a game or two. The defence performed well enough to win again today, But somebody has to through the ball and someone has to catch the ball. ALL the blame should fall on the offence for this one. You play a team like the Pats , you have to score points. PATHETIC.... And the bad thing is we won't even be able to do what the Browns did . No one would give us a 1st rounder for Freeman .... not the way he is playing. From the head coach to the offence coordinator to the quaterback . They really stunk the place up today...
  • avatar


    I hope all those that said we need a dominant pass rush for an effective secondary are taking notice. I think our D-line is playing well, but the secondary is doing an even better job. Most of our sacks this year have been coverage sacks, but the D-line is doing a good job of clogging running lanes. I actually thought the D-line did a good job today against the run. The vast majority of those yards came after the game was already out of reach.
  • avatar


    pinstob; I am taking notice and that was what happened in the 1st and part of the 2nd quarter and then it stopped. Why?
  • avatar

    bring QB Josh Johnson back!! He is like a black Kaepernick. The time wasnt right for him, but now with the pistol being legit in the NFL.. Black Kaepernick with a pistol^^ just joking (i loved Josh Johnson back then, he could have developed into sth.)
  • avatar


    louden, what planet are you living on? Kaepernick is black! or like Josh Freeman is white. Check with whoever makes these stupid rules up!
  • avatar

    for me, kaepernick and freeman are both brown ;) just JOKING anyhow
  • avatar


    PewterReportHC; how does Freeman warrant a C-? He was less than 50%completions, no passing touchdowns, an interception; all because there was a drop pass from Jackson, Wright, Martin. My goodness Freeman as usual sailed most of his passes high and a few in the dirt in front of the receiver. I believe Jackson and Williams both got injuries from Freeman's inaccurate throws to them. Yes. Every QB has a couple dropped passes in every game. Oh yeah it most have been that he ran for first downs? Um no. It must have been that his best passing yardage was in the 4th quarter when the Pats defense played soft and the game was basically over? Yes. Oh then it must be because he inspires his offense and communicates well with them on the field and on the sidelines? Um No. Freeman gets the "F" he deserves. I think you are going to take some grief on this one.
  • avatar


    Schiano and Freeman, that is all that needs to said!!!! Florida loses their Freeman clone in Driskel and amazing how their offense perked up and looked like a college offense instead of the crap we have seen before. The same thing will happen here when you make a qb change even though it might not be Glennon that will make the difference. See what he can do and then make the necessary draft choice next year after seeing if he has any future here next year. When they lose to Arizona next week, then you will see sh...t hit the fan and a players uprising.
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