Tampa Bay suffered their fifth loss in a row, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-20 on Sunday in front of a sellout home crowd at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers struggled on both offense and defense, although rookie quarterback Mike Glennon played considerably better than in his debut two weeks ago against the Cardinals. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades for the game. QUARTERBACK
After a sub-par debut against Arizona, Mike Glennon had the bye week to prepare for his second game and it paid off. Glennon started off a little shaky, including yet another intentional grounding call. Glennon needs to learn to get outside the pocket to avoid the sack instead of backwards, and he did improve at that after the penalty call.
Glennon also continued to struggle with deep passes, and at times forcing the ball down the field and missing a few targets. But overall, Glennon had a solid game, which is something Tampa Bay fans haven’t been used to from the quarterback position this season. Glennon finished the game 26-43 (60.5 %), 273 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Glennon looked much more accurate in this game and made some great throws, including a perfect fade pass to Vincent Jackson for one of his two touchdowns. What is even more impressive is how Glennon had almost no help from the run game, or his offensive line. Glennon even showed some mobility, which is something he is definitely not known for, running for 20 yards on two carries including a 16-yard dash for a first down. Glennon’s performance wasn’t perfect, and there were times when it was clear he is still a rookie, but overall it was an encouraging performance, even if it was against a dreadful Eagle’s defense. Imagine how much better Glennon would have looked with a little more help around him.
GRADE= B+RUNNING BACKS
Doug Martin ran the ball 16 times for 67 yards (4.2 yards per carry) without much help from his offensive line, yet again. Martin actually had a few 10-yard plus carries in the game, but most were negated due to holding penalties on the offensive line. Martin did break loose for a 24-yarder, but other than that it was tough sledding for the star running back.
As has been the case all season, Martin was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on almost every running play. But Martin did his best at keeping his legs moving and turned most plays into a positive gain. Martin also caught four passes for 24 yards, which is a good sign because he has had some issues catching the ball this season. Martin has also had an issue with fumbles, which was a non-factor last season, and had another one today on a handoff from Glennon. Luckily, Martin was able to fall on the ball for the recovery.GRADE= B-WIDE RECEIVERS
With Mike Williams a late scratch from the game, Vincent Jackson had to step up to help his rookie quarterback, and he did. Jackson had his best game of the season with nine receptions, 114 yards, and two touchdowns. Jackson and Glennon worked during the bye week and that extra time seems to have paid off, as they looked to have good chemistry against the Eagles.
Tiquan Underwood made his season debut after being cut from the final roster, only to be re-signed after the Bucs cut Kevin Ogletree last week. Underwood had a bad game – he had a pass interference penalty called on him in Eagle’s territory, and appeared to give up on a route that resulted in Glennon’s only interception. That interception also came in Eagle’s territory, so the mistake likely cost the Bucs points. Underwood ended the game with no receptions on four targets.
Chris Owusu, who was activated from the practice squad during the bye week, played in a limited role but ended the game with three receptions for 28 yards. After Underwood’s poor performance, Owusu could see and increased role next week against the Falcons. GRADE= C+TIGHT ENDS
In the game that saw the return of Tom Crabtree, the Buccaneers seem to have finally found a third receiver, but his name is Tim Wright. Wright has looked increasingly impressive since switching positions from wide receiver to tight end, but had a breakout performance against Philadelphia on Sunday, catching seven passes for 91 yards and was Glennon’s go-to guy when Jackson wasn’t open. Wright’s only mistake came in the end zone when Glennon threw a nice pass to him in tight coverage, but Wright was unable to haul it in. Regardless of that lone mistake, Wright’s performance should excite the coaching staff.
Crabtree, who made his season debut after getting injured prior to the season, didn’t record a catch and was targeted just once.GRADE= BOFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line continued their sub-par season with poor run-blocking and uninspiring pass protection. Former Pro Bowler guard Davin Joseph had a particularly bad game, along with center Jeremy Zuttah, guard Ted Larsen (in for Carl Nicks) and former Pro Bowl tackle Donald Penn. In fact, the most impressive lineman in this game, and probably all season, was Demar Dotson.
Joseph missed a number of blocks, both in pass protection and in the run game. He just doesn’t look like the same player that he was before his knee injury in 2012. Zuttah had two costly holding calls, along with Larsen and Penn who each had a holding call of their own.
The pass protection was actually okay for the first three quarters of the game, but the line seemed to let fatigue catch up to them by the fourth quarter and Glennon seemed to be under pressure from the snap on almost every play. The offensive line has too much money invested in it to be performing at this level, even without Carl Nicks.GRADE= D-DEFENSIVE LINE
The defensive line failed to get any consistent pressure on the quarterback Nick Foles and finished the game with no sacks.
The line did put some pressure on Foles early in the game with quarterback pressures from defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive ends Steven Means and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn didn’t get to the quarterback, but did finish the game with four tackles and two tackles for a loss.
The defensive line has shown flashes of being good this season, but needs to find a way to consistently get pressure and stop giving opposing quarterbacks all day to throw the ball. As far as the run defense, they gave up 138 yards on the ground, but it was to the best rushing attack in the league. The Bucs actually held them to nearly 50 fewer yards than the Eagles have averaged so far this season. GRADE= C-LINEBACKERS
The Buccaneers lone sack of the day came from stud weakside linebacker Lavonte David, who tackled Foles for a loss of nine. David almost had a second sack, but Foles was able to get rid of the ball before being called down. David finished the game with a team-leading nine tackles.
Middle linebacker Mason Foster, who is having the best season of his career, had five tackles and a pass broken up. Linebackers Dakota Watson and Adam Hayward both finished the game with two tackles.
The linebackers didn’t do a great job of containing McCoy, who broke out for a 44-yard catch-and-run to start the game, but played better after the opening drive. They were also the victim of zone coverage, creating terrible mismatches like the one where David was covering DeSean Jackson who ran right past him and safety Dashon Goldson for the easy touchdown catch.GRADE= C+SECONDARY
The secondary played a lot like they did last year against Nick Foles, allowing him to throw for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns. There wasn’t a single bright spot for the secondary, aside from a forced fumble by Darrelle Revis. But even the Pro Bowl cornerback didn’t have his best game, as he got beat easily on a touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. It looked like Revis was expecting some safety help from Dashon Goldson, but didn’t get it.
Free safety Goldson didn’t have his best game either despite notching nine tackles. Along with that blown coverage, he allowed another easy touchdown to Jackson later in the game. A lot of fans have been complaining about how much the Bucs use zone defense, and after this game, rightfully so. Two of the three touchdown passes were to wide open targets in zone coverage. If Revis was playing man-to-man on Jackson all game, the results may have been different.
Rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks, who reportedly contracted MRSA, ended up playing, but had the worst game of his young NFL career. The most notable play would be the 47-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper who ran past Banks for the touchdown. Banks also had a couple costly missed tackles in the game. GRADE= D-SPECIAL TEAMS
The special teams unit was the only one that played consistently good the entire game. Punt returner Eric Page, who has been very close to breaking one loose at any time, finally did on a 40-yard return. Page also returned a kickoff for 30 yards.
Rian Lindell seems to have gotten some confidence back, as he made both of his field goals from 38 and 27 yards out. The special teams unit also did very well in kickoff and punt coverage.
Punter Michael Koenen was his usual dependable self averaging 46 yards on five punts and doing a good job on kickoffs.GRADE= A
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