The Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended their win-streak to three games as they beat the Detroit Lions 24-21, their first win against a team with a winning record. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades. QUARTERBACK
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon followed up his best game of the year with another impressive outing. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and 138.4 quarterback rating.
The most impressive part of Glennon’s game was his deep ball, which was not good earlier this season. Against the Lions, Glennon completed both of his deep ball attempts. The first was a 47-yard pass to Vincent Jackson, and the second was an 85-yard pass the Tiquan Underwood. The latter was probably Glennon’s best pass of the year, placing it in just the right spot so Underwood didn’t have to slow down, allowing him to score the touchdown.
Another impressive note would be that Glennon did not turn the ball over for the second straight game. He has shown immense poise and accuracy not commonly seen in a rookie quarterback. A lot of his incompletions came when he had to throw the ball away from being pressured.
Glennon had a tremendous amount of help from his defense and wouldn’t have been able to win the game without all of the plays they made. However, Glennon didn’t have any help from the running game, forcing him and his receivers to make all of the offensive plays. GRADE= A-RUNNING BACKS
After three weeks of successfully running the football, the Bucs’ ground game came to a halt against a stout Detroit defensive line. Bobby Rainey got his first start and was held to just 35 yards on 18 carries (1.9 yards per carry). There was no running room all game long, and when there was, Rainey couldn’t hit the hole fast enough.
Most of the running game struggles can be pinned on the offensive line, but Rainey didn’t do much with the little he was given, either. He also struggled in pass protection all game, allowing a sack on Glennon. GRADE= D-WIDE RECEIVERS
For the second week in a row, Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood were the only two wide receivers to be targeted. But this week, Underwood was more of a playmaker than Jackson. Underwood finished the game three catches, 108 yards, and two touchdowns.
Both touchdowns were great plays on Underwood’s part. The first one he was able to escape a jam by the defensive back and snag the ball out of the air. The second touchdown was a perfect throw from Glennon, and Underwood simply pushed the defensive back away and ran the distance.
Jackson had two catches for 61 yards, including a big 47-yard completion down the sideline. Although both receivers made big plays, there were still instances where Glennon had nowhere to throw the ball because his receivers couldn’t get open for him. GRADE= BTIGHT ENDS
Rookie Tim Wright has been quiet for the last few games, but had a big game against Detroit. He had a team-leading eight receptions that went for 75 yards. He made one great diving catch on a big third down play and has really proven to be a reliable target for Glennon.
Tom Crabtree, who hasn’t seen much action this season, was banged up again and didn’t get any targets in the game. GRADE= BOFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line has shown great improvements since their slow start to the season, but regressed against the Lions and their tough front four. The line gave up four sacks and was unable to create any running room. Along with those struggles, they also got back to being penalized way too much, putting the offense in impossible situations.
Left tackle Donald Penn, who’s been playing much better, had a very poor game giving up two sacks. Guard Jamon Meredith, who entered the lineup for Carl Nicks and was a big reason why the line has been playing better, had his worst game of the year. He gave up a sack and had a big holding call that negated a nice run by Rainey. He also had a false start in the game.
The offensive line was very inconsistent, sometimes giving Glennon plenty of time to throw, and other times giving him no time at all. Detroit’s defensive line is very good, but the performance was still disappointing with all the penalties (Demar Dotson was also called for a hold) that are instant drive-killers. GRADE= D-DEFENSIVE LINE
The defensive line played consistently decent throughout the game. The held Reggie Bush to 83 yards, and although they only had one sack on Matthew Stafford, they got decent pressure most of the game. Stafford is, statistically, the toughest quarterback to sack in the NFL so the front four was in for a tough day.
Adrian Clayborn was the MVP of the defensive line this week with five tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack. His play against the run has shown tremendous improvements and that really showed against Detroit.
Gerald McCoy also had a good game with three tackles, two for a loss, and was in Stafford’s face on the probably the biggest play of the game – a Leonard Johnson pick-six.
Overall the front four could have done a better job applying pressure as Stafford had all day to throw on several plays. But against a tough offensive line that had only allowed 12 sacks going into the game, the Bucs did a decent job. GRADE= BLINEBACKERS
With middle linebacker Mason Foster out with a concussion, Adam Hayward stepped in and did a good job. He only had three tackles, but his best moment came on a play where Calvin Johnson caught the ball but Hayward didn’t give up and pried the ball loose. This resulted in an incompletion instead of a first-and-goal for the Lions.
Lavonte David had a huge game again, and at this point it would be a crime if he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. He finished with a team-leading 12 tackles, one interception, one pass breakup, and his first career forced fumble. He has tremendous instincts, and that was on display on his red zone interception off a deflected pass.
Jonathan Casillas got the start at strongside linebacker and had a pass broken up and also applied pressure to Stafford, leading to the Clayborn sack. Dekoda Watson also saw a lot of playing time, and finished the game with two tackles and a sack.GRADE= B+SECONDARY
Going into the game, all the talk was surrounding Calvin Johnson vs. Darrelle Revis. Revis played only the first half but was able to contain Johnson to 61 yards and no touchdowns. When Revis left the game, all that was going through everyone’s mind was how badly Johnson was going to tear up the Buccaneer secondary. That wasn’t the case at all. In fact, the Bucs’ secondary played better without Revis, holding Johnson to just 54 yards in the second half.
A rookie, Johnthan Banks, with the help of the likes of Kelcie McCray and Keith Tandy, held the best receiver in the league to just 54 yards in the second half. Not only that, but when it looked like Johnson was going to make a catch just outside the end zone that probably would have resulted in a Buccaneer loss, McCray knocked the ball loose and Banks came up with the game-sealing interception.
These young players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they were able to accomplish without their best player on the field, Revis, and another star player, Dashon Goldson, sidelined due to suspension.
Banks ended the game with three tackles, one interception, and two pass breakups. Kelcie McCray ended the game with a pass deflection and a fumble recovery on one of the more bizarre plays of the game. And Keith Tandy, in for Goldson, finished with one tackle, one pass breakup, and one huge interception in the red zone that came when he was covering Megatron.
Along with these players Leonard Johnson, who has had a rough season, had the biggest play of the game. It came at the end of the first half where the Lions were driving with the ball, looking to extend their lead. Johnson undercut a screen pass and ran it the distance for the touchdown, sending the Bucs to the locker room with the lead. Johnson ended the game with seven tackles, two pass breakups, and the interception.
Mark Barron, who was the best defensive back in the game after Revis was injured, had some trouble with penalties. His first came on a very questionable roughing the passer call, and the next came on a defensive pass interference that resulted in a Lion first down. He then had a neutral zone infraction and a defensive holding call. Barron finished the game with seven tackles.
Matt Stafford finished with nearly 300 yards, but due to the playmaking of the defense, had just a 61.6 quarterback rating. With all the injuries on defense, going up against an offense with the likes of Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, the secondary couldn’t have played much better. GRADE= ASPECIAL TEAMS
For the second consecutive week the Bucs blocked a punt, but that is where the positives stop. Eric Page did have a couple nice returns, but one of which was almost disastrous when he fumbled the ball away, luckily it was recovered by Tampa Bay. Page also decided to field a punt inside the five-yard line, which could have been extremely costly in the field position game, but luckily Glennon hit Underwood for an 85-yard touchdown on the drive.
The Bucs also gave up another big return due to poor coverage, which has become somewhat of a habit the last few games. But the poorest special teams performance came from the kicker Rian Lindell who missed two field goals, one from 35 yards and the other from 50. These missed field goals should have resulted in the Lions being able to tie or win the game, but luckily the defense came through and saved the day again. GRADE= D+
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