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October 17, 2013 @ 6:11 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Inability To Finish Keeping Bucs Winless

Written by Eric
Eric Horchy


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The Buccaneers are 0-5 and a majority of the reasons are self-inflicted errors including the inability to score points in the second half of football games. What did the players and staff have to say about the problems?
Tampa Bay has a finishing problem. That much is obvious through five games – painfully, at times.

Despite being right in the mix during most of those contests at halftime, the Buccaneers’ ship suddenly loses its rudder in the final 30 minutes.

Not a single offensive touchdown has been recorded in the second half as opponents have outscored Tampa Bay by a combined 48-13 in the third and fourth quarters of games.

According to the website TeamRankings.com, the Bucs’ 2.6-point average in the final 30 minutes is easily the lowest of all 32 NFL teams. The next worst teams in that category, lowly Jacksonville and Cleveland, are each putting up 6.7 per game.

For what it’s worth, the combined record of the bottom 10 teams in second-half scoring is 20-38. That club includes all three winless teams and just two with winning records: New England and Cincinnati. Adding up the records of those in the top 10 produces a 37-21 figure that’s buoyed by the league’s two undefeated teams and six that are either tied for their division lead or alone at the top.

Further highlighting the futility, the Bucs haven’t even scored a single point of any kind in the third quarter this season. No other team can lay claim to producing a combined goose egg in any of the four quarters.

While it’s difficult to pull out close games when offensive rigor mortis sets in after a 12-minute break in the locker room, the Bucs have certainly found other ways to fudge up potential wins. A couple ill-timed personal fouls here, a missed field goal there, top it off with a little soft 2-minute defense; all are classic ingredients found in the cookbook of losing football.

A number of players addressed the late-game stumbles during Wednesday afternoon’s open locker room session at One Buc Place. But while all acknowledged the issue and the obvious need to rectify it, pinpointing how the Bucs can go about doing so was harder to come by.

“With us, we’ve just got to finish games. It’s as simple as that,” said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “Going into the fourth quarter, four out of five games we were right there. We’ve just got to finish them.

“What it is we have to do to finish them? I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it. But that’s our issue. We’re just not finishing the games. In years before we were getting blown out. Games weren’t even close. We’re right in there [now]; we just have to finish them.”

Third-year linebacker Mason Foster largely dittoed McCoy’s comments, adding that he remains confident in the Bucs’ ability to play winning football this season.

“I feel like we’re doing things well,” Foster said. “We’re 0-5, but at the same time guys are working hard. It’s not like guys are quitting and consciously not finishing. There are little things here and there that are adding up that you can look back at and say, ‘Yeah, they should have finished those.’ But what it comes down to is we just have to make more plays than they do.

“We’ve got a good team no matter what the record shows. We just have to continue to play and keep working and keep heading in the right direction; don’t jump ship.”

Although Bucs defenders have been responsible for a couple critical late-game gaffes that contribute to the team’s current inability to finish off opponents, it’s not their side of the ball that really needs some reevaluation.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was asked about the group’s inefficiencies during his Wednesday press conference and pointed to “self-inflicted wounds” as one glaring issue.

“It’s tough to put a finger on something specific,” the second-year Tampa Bay OC said. “The self-inflicted wounds, the penalties we have to overcome, certainly any turnover for whatever reason is inexcusable; and we’ve got to eliminate that.”

Ball security is an area Sullivan’s new man at the helm, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, must improve upon moving forward. All three of Glennon’s interceptions have come after halftime and he lost a fumble that Arizona turned into a fourth-quarter field goal in Week 4. The rookie’s passer rating also drops from 101.5 to 40.3 from the first to second half, as with his completion percentage, from 64.3 to 52.3.

Sullivan did touch on elements of the overall passing game that showed signs of improvement, such as tight end Tim Wright’s emergence and Glennon’s solid, early chemistry with No. 1 wideout Vincent Jackson. But the product of those improvements – a pair of Jackson touchdown catches last week against Philadelphia, Wright’s 36-yard, seam-route reception – need to start showing up in crunch time, Sullivan said, or the misery will continue.

“[It’s] certainly not going to be a good season for us at all moving forward if we don’t do what we need to do in the second half,” Sullivan said. “Whether it’s score one touchdown or two touchdowns or three, whatever we have to do. We’ve got a huge challenge and we’re looking forward to doing that.”

Last modified on Thursday, 17 October 2013 06:32

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  • avatar

    If there is no such thing as half-time adjustments why do all of the "experts" mention it so often? People who scoff at the notion like Schiano and Morgan call it meaningless because for them it is. I guess it's like those who never went to college demeaning its' importance.
  • avatar

    " we are going to be good" ........next year.
  • avatar

    Schiano's offense is based on the power run and the deep ball. They can't score many points because the run game isn't working. The O line is under performing and continually makes mistakes (penalties) missed blocks and so on. Martin has no where to run. Even worse now with a rookie under center. All any team has to do to beat us is stop the run and force the QB to throw more. Also, it doesn't matter as much having Revis since they don't allow him to play man to man press coverage especially in crunch time!
  • avatar

    Atlanta who won't have Jones, Jackson and according to some reports I've seen today Roddy White is in serious doubt but will still find a way to beat us. As a fan I watch the game not bc I actually think we are going to win but bc I want to see how certain players and our rookies are progressing. I wonder when someone from the media will stop Schiano after one of his pc lines of "we will get this right" and ask what they actually are doing to back those statements up. The gameplan looks as vanilla as it did Week 1 of the preseason, Doug Martin cant find holes on his healthy and overpaid offensive line, the endless amounts of late game shell defense continue, Revis our 96 million dollar corner spends WAAAAYYYY too much time playing in zones which negate the purpose of him being brought here and the list goes on. Schiano is a clown that sells lies to the public bc nothing about the Bucs is going to get better until he is fired or by the grace of God he resigns before hell completely freezes over. The teams supply of talent level has increased while the level of production has decreased now I'm no Econ major but that certainly doesn't add up. The only Greg Schiano news that Buc fans want to hear about is a termination. McCoy says the team hasnt quit yet and thats cute but its Week 6...give it time. If they quit on a coach (Raheem) that they actually LIKED playing for I can only imagine what this circus is going to look like come Week 10 or so. Lord have mercy on these pathetic Bucs smh.
  • avatar

    The question for me is "Coach, why do you play not to lose?". Most good teams play all out until they have at least a 17-21 point advantage; coach you shut it down with a 10 point advantage and allow teams to come back on us time and time again. That's the reason why some teams have franchise QB's so they can stay ahead and if not ahead, take advantage of coaches like you that have the play not to lose mentality. I am really bitter with your philosophy because we do have a talented team and you are holding us back.
  • avatar

    Horse, Schiano can't hear you and if he could he would pay no attention to your good advice. " A fool thinks himself wise to trust only on his own counsel" - Proverbs 12:15. Saw that in the window of Sunday school as a boy on my way to the pool hall! Looking back now, should have gone in! lol
  • avatar

    Having Freeman or Glennon as your QB has a lot to do with your ability (or inability) to finish off a game. This team's strength is not its offense, but rather its defense, and unfortunately these high priced FAs haven't been getting it done for the Bucs.
  • avatar

    Not sure if we don't adjust at the half or if we do it poorly. We get picked apart by teams that adjust to our pass rush.
  • avatar

    This idea of "adjusting at the half" is overrated. The half is 12 minutes long. What's so special about that 12 minutes of duration? The team adjusts throughout the entire game -
  • avatar

    They should be more focussed on a fresh start. Since Shianomik doesn´t seem to be the future - and i dont think it´s good having a to-be-fired-guy, who allready should know he wont be here next season, to kepp running him the team.... He will just send some talents off the roster, so that other teams (maybe his future employer) can pick sth up.. C´mon Shinaomiks time is over, most want this demon gone.. when is it finally time to hope again.. shiano still coaching/managing our team makes me frustrated..almost sick.. have a nice day - GoBucs!!
  • avatar

    This is true but the defense was totally gassed in the 4th qtr against Philly. I was watching them closely in the final drive and there was zero pressure on the QB and the secondary was very slow. Even though Philly makes it hard to sub, there were still opportunities. But we are so thin at d-line and in the secondary, we weren't going to stop them unless they made a big mistake. We were really man-handled and blown off the ball.
  • avatar

    Maybe the bucs can beat to falcons ....next year! If we have a new head coach
  • avatar

    Thanks to this coach and his Staff!!!!!!! 0-6, Here we come!!!!!!!
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