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November 17, 2013 @ 7:10 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Take Down The Falcons; Unit Game Grades

Written by Haley
Haley Cornish


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The Bucs played their most complete game of the season, demolishing the Falcons 41-28 in front of an announced paid attendance of 55,360. How did each individual unit grade out? Find out what PewterReport.com thought and see if you agree.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put together a winning streak after going winless in the first half of the season. The Bucs blew out the Atlanta Falcons 41-28 as both teams move to 2-8 on the season. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades.

Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon had his best game of the season, by far. He finally had consistent play by all of his teammates around him, and it really paid off. Glennon completed 20 of 23 passes (87 percent), for 231 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 137.5 quarterback rating.

Glennon had struggled with his deep ball in previous games, but finally got it going against the Falcons with the help of Vincent Jackson. Glennon also was extremely accurate on intermediate passes, mainly crossing routes. Glennon’s three incompletions were not due to inaccuracy, but were just Glennon throwing the ball away when no one was open down field.

The Falcons defense is very beat up, but nevertheless it was very encouraging to see what kind of game Glennon can put together when the offensive line and running backs are doing their jobs. Glennon may not be able to make an offense successful on his own, but when he has talent around him he can go out and get a win.

One thing Glennon will want to work on after reviewing the tape is his tendency to panic when pressure starts to be applied. On both plays where he was sacked, Glennon couldn’t decide on whether to tuck the ball and run or to just throw the ball away and instead got stuck in the middle resulting in the sacks.

For the third game in a row, the Bucs had their running game rolling even without Doug Martin. This time it was with Bobby Rainey, who started the game as Brian Leonard’s backup but quickly took over the starting role as he consistently broke tackles for big gains.

Rainey showed quickness and vision comparable to Saint’s running back Darren Sproles. He was often hit near the line of scrimmage but kept his legs moving turning it into a nice gain. His biggest run of the day came on a 43-yard scamper for a touchdown in the first half. Rainey ended the game with 30 carries for 163 yards (5.4 yards per carry), two rushing touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown. Rainey has clearly earned the starting job but owes big props to the offensive line, who has made all of the Bucs running backs look good since Martin’s season-ending injury.

Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood were again the only two wide receivers to get targeted, let alone a catch, but in this game it didn’t matter. With the success of the running game and Jackson’s ability to go up and catch just about anything, the receiving unit (or really just Vincent Jackson) did what they needed to do for the offense to be successful.

Underwood had just one catch for 20 yards, but Jackson had a monster game with 10 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. This includes another great one-handed catch as well as a couple great adjustments on Glennon throws. Vincent Jackson can’t do it alone every week, but against a battered Falcons’ defense he had one of his best games while still being double-teamed all game long.

The tight ends were the only unit that didn’t really make any impact against the Falcons. Rookie wide receiver turned tight end Tim Wright had one catch for 13 yards and Tom Crabtree had one catch for just five yards. Neither player made any big mistakes and both blocked well in the run game. But neither was able to get open and make a play in the passing game.

The offensive line has continued to improve over the last few games after a rough start to the season, and they had their best game of the year against the Falcons. They completely dominated the Falcons’ front four the entire game in both run blocking and pass protecting.

The only two sacks given up by the line were do to the inability of the receivers to get open down field. Other than that, Glennon had all day to throw the ball, which resulted in his extremely accurate game. The line also opened up holes for Bobby Rainey, which also really helped out Glennon by opening up the pass game.

The only negative play for the line was a holding penalty called on Ted Larsen, who was in at guard for Jamon Meredith for a couple plays. However, the line redeemed that on the subsequent play where they opened up a big hole for Rainey to run it in from 43 yards out.

If the line had performed like this from the start of the season, the Bucs would still be in contention for the playoffs. The last couple of games really show how much a successful offensive line does for the rest of the offense. The Bucs ended the game with 41 points, the most since last season against the Oakland Raiders.

The defensive line, or really just Gerald McCoy, got off to a hot start with their pass rush. McCoy had huge back-to-back sacks, stalling the Falcons’ first drive as they were making their way into Buccaneer territory. McCoy added another sack later in the game, and ended with five tackles, three sacks, four quarterback hits, and one pass break up. McCoy was disruptive all game and is having the best season of his career, already with six sacks (he had five last season). McCoy did have two personal foul penalties late, but the game was already won at that point.

Defensive end Adrian Clayborn also had one of his best games of the season. He didn’t record a sack but forced the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hand early on multiple occasions and was very active against the run. Clayborn finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits.

The defensive line as a unit wasn’t nearly as successful against the run as they were last week. They were able to bottle up Steven Jackson but watched as Antone Smith ran past them on two big runs, although primarily with the backup defense in the game. The Falcons ended the game 152 rushing yards. but kept the Jackson to just 41 yards on 11 carries.

The biggest defensive play of the game came when linebacker Dakota Watson got a hand on Matt Ryan as he threw, resulting in a Mason Foster interception and return for a touchdown (his second of the year). Foster left the game early with a concussion, but ended the game with three tackles, an interception, and a pass broken up.

Aside from that play, the linebackers weren’t as active and disruptive as they normally are. There were a couple instances, particularly on Smith’s 5-yard touchdown run, where the linebackers were caught out of position. But other than that they played well. Lavonte David had a quiet day but still led the team with tackles, nine, and also had a tackle for loss.

Jonathan Casillas had four tackles and a pass break up. And Adam Hayward, who came in to replace Foster at middle linebacker, ended the game with four tackles.

As has been the case all season, the secondary made some great plays along with some bad ones. Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis had another good game holding Roddy White to just three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Free safety Dashon Goldson also had one of his best games of the season with two tackles, two pass breakups, one forced fumble, and his first interception in a Buccaneer uniform. He showed great break on the ball and tackled well. Goldson did have a personal foul, which will probably result in another call from the league office.

Strong safety Mark Barron, who’s had a great season so far, had an up and down game against the Falcons. He showed good break on the ball and had a nice pass breakup, but was caught out of position on the game’s biggest play – an 80-yard touchdown pass to Harry Douglas. He wasn’t helped by rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks who made a poor attempt to tackle the receiver. Banks continues to make rookie mistakes but actually had a decent game aside from the big touchdown play. He finished the game with six tackles and one pass breakup.

Matt Ryan had most of his weapons at his disposal this time around, but still struggled completing just 53% of passes. The secondary was a big part of that. Along with holding White in check, they only allowed future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez to gain 51 yards. The only successful receiver was Harry Douglas (again) who finished with 134 yards, but 80 of which came on the one major breakdown by the secondary.

This win was truly a team effort as the special teams had a big part in the Buccaneer’s success. Along with a successful onside kick attempt, they also had a blocked punt that put the Bucs’ offense deep into Falcon territory.

Along with those big plays, kicker Rian Lindell made two of three field goal attempts, the only miss coming from 55 yards out. The missed field goal and a weird fake field goal attempt were the only miscues by the special teams unit, neither of which were costly.

Last modified on Sunday, 17 November 2013 22:49

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  • avatar

    I think there may have been a little "kool-aid" effect because the grades seem to be overall a little high. For example, the WRs got an A-, yet only two had receptions and Glennon got sacked because no one could get open. The Falons had 152 rushing yards, but the D-line received an A-. The missed field goal and bad fake field goal attempt also do not warrant an A-. The Bucs have just played a bad Atlanta team and beat them badly, but you should leave a little room for improvement in case they beat a good team the same way! Go Bucs! 8-8!
  • avatar

    @mjmoody- the bucs DID put in the back-ups on both sides in the 4th and that's when the falcons scored that 80yd run with Antone Smith and were driving again and in position to score...the starters were put back in to finish the game...great, great game on all 3 phases...the falcons were a more complete team sunday than when we lost to them a few weeks ago...they had pretty much all starters on offense cept julio and got back weatherspoon on defense...
  • avatar

    After Rainey's great performance, I am very surprised not to see some changed opinions on those who have been out to get DOM fired. DOM is the one who knew Rainey was a diamond in the rough. GIVE THE GM SOME CREDIT! I knew we had players that DOM got here for Schiano that could win in the NFL. Now you have gotten to see it on the field. But Schiano could have been winning games from the very first of this season, if he had had the good sense to start Meredith at Left Guard, and if he had given Joseph enough reps in the Preseason to get back in shape to play like the All-Pro like he is playing the last three games. He also should have never let Sheridan play his dumb zone defense in the Jets game with no one playing the middle of the field, and his playing of Jonathan Banks ahead of Brian Leonard, who had outplayed Banks in the preseason, and has done so when both are on the field at the same time. Unless Schiano can end up 8 and 8 we still need a better Head Coach next year. We do still have a few holes to fill. We need a fast corner back, a quality TE, and a great Strong Side DE. However, I think Gholston can be the latter for us, and it is encouraging to see him getting experience on the field some this year. DOM can get all those pieces with the draft or in Free Agency. I think we should let Nicks go and use that money to get a real good DB or TE. I think Glennon is improving with every game and I agree with Jon Gruden's comments on him.
  • avatar

    I'm sure Falcons fans are asking "How could we lose to a rookie QB & an undrafted FA RB?! The answer is the common denominator for the RB & QB: the excellent play of the O-line! Cudos to ALL the coaches...they performed well...& I even saw a well-executed SCREEN PASS...well almost well-executed...Meredith was called for holding, wiping out a 20-yard gain...but I saw some excellent play-calling...Glennon 20 for 23, & 2 were intentional throw-aways! He was sacked twice, but only even touched 1 other time...wish we could start the season all over again...where's my Way-Back Machine?! :-)
  • avatar

    I agree with the grades HC. Keep up the good work!
  • avatar

    First I need to congratulate all the Buc players for an exciting win over Atlanta. I also give credit to Schiano and his staff for pulling out the stops – letting the defense straight-on rush the passer and allowing the offense to play to win. In no way do I mean for this to be a back-handed compliment, but for the last 3 weeks, 2 in particular where we won, I’ve been seeing a different brand of football – straight on pass rushing, fake punts, on-side kicks, RB passes, and the long ball is back. What’s next, a double reverse? Needless to say – I like it. But what happened? Why the epiphany now? Are the players just starting to get it or is Schiano finally listening to the players? Is the threat of a one-way ticket back to the AAC (Big Ten or ACC in 2014) gotten Schiano’s attention? I won’t speculate! I will just take a wait and see approach as we get into the teeth of the second half of the season. I am on record for Schiano to go, but if he can win at the Lions or can win a few (2 or 3) games against teams with winning records, he should be given serious consideration to return for the 2014 season. Having seen the Bucs play the last 3 weeks should let us know whether it’s Schiano or a new coach, there is a lot to work with at the Bucs. Yes, we are better than our record!
  • avatar

    Haley - I understand the special teams grade for everyone but Lindell - that long field goal attempt was just awful - Derek Dimke must have turned over in his beer when that kick nearly went sideways into the stands...never thought I would miss Connor Barth quite so much....
  • avatar

    Greg Schiano is growing as a coach but it will take more than 2 wins against bad football teams to sway my opinion. I think the Lions game will give us a better gauge on where Schiano is with this team now that we are playing the best football of the year, lets see where we stack up against a playoff team. Good Win...more work to do....Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    @stlbucsfan....my thoughts too...except I'm less sure Schiano is growing, and more willing to call it experimenting...if we see some repeated changes I will call it growing. Hats off in any event - I openly and wrongly suspected another second half collapse under a stubborn and overly conservative game plan, but was presented instead with an attempted blow-out...I was wrong and the Bucs (whoever is responsible) game planned well. I was right about Harry Douglas having another huge game though :D
  • avatar

    @EastEndBoy I just hope we dont win enough games to put us out of the running for Clowney. The more I see Glennon the less a starting QB is a priority and I think Clowney would have a much bigger impact for us. Claiborne playing at a high level, plus McCoy growing into a monster adding Clowney could turn this defense from above average to elite.
  • avatar

    @stlbucsfan: Clowney hasn't played well all year (yes, he's double teamed, but can't beat it), and he seems to me to be a "me" guy...spells trouble to me. I'd rather have Michael Sam, DE from Missouri. He gets doubled teamed & still gets the QB. Check him out.
  • avatar

    warren, Clowney is not playing at 100%, he has been playing hurt all year. He has already come out and said he is going to have surgery at the end of the season for bone spurs in his foot. There is no way i would draft any other DE over Clowney. Too much raw talent.
  • avatar

    @Warren I have seen Sam play quite a bit and although he is very productive he's too small to play DE for us. Clowney gives us more athleticism and a bigger body to play the run. Add Clowney to a DL with a Pro Bowl DT and he can develop without the expectations of carrying the line. Michael Sam would be a nice fit if we ran a 3-4 but still he's not in Clowney's league in my opinion.
  • avatar

    @stlbucsfan & wnb0395: You both MAY be right about Clowney over Sam...I live in Orlando & haven't seen all of his game; but didn't everyone say Rainey (& Brees...& a hundred other players) was too small? He's got a motor & never quits from what I can tell. Wasn't Clowney strongly considering sitting out most of the season just to retain his draft pick status (just asking). IF Glennon continues in his current trend, our two big needs (IMO) are 1. DE, 2. a FAST WR who can really stretch the field. It's a QB league & we should give our QB every possible weapon we can. 3. a fast CB to contend with the other QBs in the division.
  • avatar

    I enjoyed the win. It's Always good to beat the Falcons; even when they're horrible. A Bucs' team scoring 40 is a sight I'd like to see more often. A lot more often. I'm trying to cut Schiano some slack, but I'm still on his case. Ideally you want a HC that can get his players to play at a level even they didn't know was possible. We have a guy the players have to petition just to play at a level they used to play at. I'm speaking of the Dline. How many people had to say it before the change was finally made?? How frustrating. Also, I know it's foreign territory to have a huge lead going into the 4th. It's new and confusing, but in the future try leaving in your rookie QB that needs all the snaps he can get. Maybe pull some of your starters on defense and give your depth some quality snaps against a beaten opponent. Reward the D, they've earned it over time. Work the O--(save the RB) but the short passing game; they need the work and should be able to impose their will on a beaten defense. That said, this team has shown grit, determination, and pride through adversity and that is also a reflection of the HC. Many other teams have not; including the Falcons & a few seasons ago--the Bucs' under Raheem.
  • avatar

    We had two impressive wins but against poor teams. Now we now get the Lions and Panthers, two of the better teams this year. If the Bucs are for real we will know after these two games. If not then we likely end the season 4-12.
  • avatar

    Not nearly as many Falcon fans as I anticipated. Guess they are a little fair weather. How nice it was to have our home field for a change. I have to give it to Schiano for loosening up and letting the team have a little fun out there. Other than the 4th quarter lapses, the mighty Bucs totally dominated. Glennon still has difficulty with deep passes but the kid does stay poised. Pretty good for a third round draft choice. Rainey reminds me a little of former # 43.....Jerry Eckwood.
  • avatar

    Like my fellow poster "Seat26" I too am eating crow thus far, but then again I was eating Crow after Freeman threw 26 td's and 6 int's too but in the end I was right about him, I hope I'm not right about Glennon as well as one day I would like to see a long term answer at qb. Glennon to me look like Flacco in the pocket as far as his height and arm although Flacco has the best deep ball in the league but in time I thinik Glennon will improve his as well. Unfortunately as the Bucs keep winning they will keep Schiano on staff longer, (sigh). This Rainey kid looks like Sproles for sure he runs bigger than he is and seems to have good hands out of the back field good job kid
  • avatar

    I have to eat some crow. I have said all year that making glennon the starter was a mistake, and I was wrong. This guy is really coming into his own. Atlanta is not a good team, but it was nice to see what this team can do whence everything comes together.
  • avatar

    Nice piece. Missing coaching.
  • avatar

    Agree - if you're going to bash the coaching all year, you ought to give them credit when they do a job like this. Totally out-coached the Falcons staff. Nice job, coaches.
  • avatar

    I can't remember Haley bashing coaches this season. She has never graded coaches. SR and myself have hammered the staff, but if you have read his recent Fabs you would see credit is being given where deserved.
  • avatar

    What a great game today fans.Iam looking forward after next sunday UPSET VICTORY at DETROIT. I can see for once that the team after o&8 They are finally click.Iam so glad Rainey is on board being a buc.Can you Imagine next year with MARTIN , JAMES & RAINEY SET UP A TRIPLE THREAT IN THE BACKFIELD.GO BUCS THE REST OF THE SEASON HOW ABOUT *8 STRAIGHT.GO BUCS
  • avatar

    No tight ends?
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