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December 14, 2013 @ 10:39 am
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SR’s Pick 6: Bucs vs. 49ers

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds will be looking for in Tampa Bay’s home game when the team faces the San Francisco 49ers? Find out in SR’s Pick 6.
The Buccaneers (4-9) battle the San Francisco 49ers (9-4) and are trying to upset one of the best teams in the NFL in Tampa Bay’s home finale. What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds is looking for in Tampa Bay’s upcoming game?

The one thing that scares Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano is San Francisco coming into Raymond James Stadium and running the ball down the throat of the Buccaneers with the physical pounding of running back Frank Gore. There will be a lot of pressure on middle linebacker Mason Foster to shed blocks and be an enforcer in the run game. Defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn will have to help set the tempo upfront and play like men. In the secondary, both safeties, Mark Barron and former 49ers star Dashon Goldson, must be enforcers across the middle and break up passes with big hits.

Offensively, the Bucs offensive line will have to be stout against some very good, physical defenders, such as defensive end Justin Smith and linebackers Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman. The key will be winning first down with Bobby Rainey and the ground game and avoiding third-and-long situations to help rookie quarterback Mike Glennon convert easier third downs.

The 49ers are a big, physical team in all three phases of the game and the Bucs will have to rise to the occasion. The Buccaneers lost the line of scrimmage against the Panthers twice this season and weren’t physical enough along either line to have a chance of beating Carolina. If the Bucs wimp out against an elite team like the 49ers they won’t have any chance of winning.

Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is coming off two of his worst games in his brief, 10-game NFL career. Two weeks ago against Carolina, Glennon completed 14-of-21 passes (66.7 percent) for 180 yards, but threw an interception and had a costly fumble. More importantly, Glennon didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the first time in his pro career. Last week against Buffalo, Glennon completed a career-low nine-of-25 passes (36 percent) for a paltry 90 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

For the Bucs to have an opportunity to pull the upset, Glennon will need to get back to his turnover-free ways, while throwing at least a pair of scoring strikes. The rookie will have to elevate his game and get into a zone where he is completing over 60 percent of his passes and making plays, while avoiding turnovers. Glennon will need to transform from being a game-manager to a killer QB in order for the Bucs to get a signature win on Sunday.

The Buccaneers need to play keep away from the 49ers and win the time of possession in a game that will likely be a low-scoring affair. On offense, that means establishing a chain-moving ground game featuring a healthy dose of Bobby Rainey. The 49ers haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all season, and Rainey might have to be the first one if the Bucs hope to win on Sunday. Quarterback Mike Glennon will have to be accurate with his passes on third down to keep drives alive.

Defensively, the Bucs defense needs to shorten the 49ers drives by forcing punts after three-and-outs or by taking the ball away, which is something Tampa Bay did five times in last Sunday’s 27-6 victory over Buffalo. If the Bucs can gain a six-minute time of advantage over the 49ers it will mean that Tampa Bay was successful in slowing down running back Frank Gore and establishing its own running game with Rainey.

Tampa Bay needs to win a low-scoring game against San Francisco due to the fact that points will likely be at a premium on Sunday. The 49ers have only scored more than 20 points twice in its last five games, and won both games. However, the 49ers defense has only allowed more than 20 points just once in the last 10 games, and is 8-2 in that span. In fact, San Francisco’s defense is allowing an average of just 13.2 points per game over the last six games.

When the Buccaneers have the chance to put touchdowns on the board they need to do so as field goals won’t beat the 49ers. That means wide receiver Vincent Jackson can’t get tackled short of the end zone on deep passes. That means that Mike Glennon has to take shots into the end zone with his passes when the Bucs are in the red zone. That means that Bucs defenders must score on interceptions or fumble returns, and Eric Page needs to score if he can break off a long punt or kick return.

The Bucs will likely only have a few opportunities to score on Sunday and need to cash in with seven points rather than three. That may mean the Bucs coaching staff has to take some calculated risks and has to go for it on fourth down to keep the chains moving towards the end zone in the red zone instead of settling for field goals.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is averaging 31.1 yards per game on the ground this year and has rushed for three touchdowns while picking up 407 yards on the ground. Tampa Bay’s defense has struggled to contain running quarterbacks this year, evidenced by Carolina’s Cam Newton rushing for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries this season. If the Bucs can successfully keep Kaepernick in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm Tampa Bay has a chance to win.

Kaepernick’s passing numbers aren’t much better than those of Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. Kaepernick has completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 2,487 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while Glennon has completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 2,052 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions – despite starting three less games in 2013. Where Kaepernick becomes dangerous is keeping drives alive by scrambling for first downs on third

Tampa Bay’s defense leads the league in interceptions with 21 after recording four last week against Buffalo. The secondary has accounted for 12 of those interceptions and needs to tightly cover Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. Neither receiver has blazing speed, but both are crafty and know how to separate and create space to catch the ball.

Tampa Bay’s linebackers have accounted for nine interceptions this season with Lavonte David leading the team with five. The linebackers will need to play well, especially against Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis, who has 44 receptions for 726 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The good news for the Bucs defense is that Kaepernick has thrown at least one interception in each of San Francisco’s four losses this season, and six of his eight picks this year have come in those four defeats. The key to beating San Francisco is for the Bucs to step in front of the 49ers receivers and tight ends, intercept Kaepernick and live up to their billing as one of the league’s most dangerous pass defenses.

Last modified on Saturday, 14 December 2013 11:35

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  • avatar

    Valiant effort by the defense; they were on the field for 39:50! Unbelievable. Glennon sure looked bad at times with inaccuracy which I think surpasses Freeman. Fire Schiano. Again, he was chewing Page out. Did not see much of Goldson except that his shirt was out. Not much production for $8,000,000. Maybe the Bucs should make a play for Washington's Cousins? Give them Schiano and Glennon.
  • avatar

    All in with you Horse! Play lights out but smart. Flee flickers, on side kicks etc. We can win this game! Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    The offensive line is the key in this game, and they have not shown up in weeks.
  • avatar

    Here are Scubog's Pick Six of things I'll be looking for. Pick # 1: In keeping with the theme of Scott's recent Fab 1. Somebody's Watching- I'm hoping we get some favoritism from the man upstairs now that the Glazers have the Christian band performing after the game. Hope the original G-man's not still a Cowboys fan. Pick # 2: Set the Trap-This may be a trap game for the 49ers coming off a victory against their Division rival, traveling all the way to Florida, playing at 10:00 AM their time and thinking that we are a 4-9 team that sucks. As Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise, Surprise!". Pick # 3: St. Kaeper-Nick- Let's hope Collin is like Santa and brings the good little Buccaneers some gifts in the form of interceptions. Pick # 4:Tony Bennett-Let's hope the 49ers "Left Their Heart in San Francisco". (For you youngsters, call your parents and ask them to explain) Pick # 5: Remember 1997-The mighty Bucs shocked the 49ers back on opening day in 1997. As Yogi would say, "It's deja vous allover again". Pick # 6: Whose Got it better Than Us?-That's what I'd like to hear Coach Schiano scream after the game to mock Coach Harbaugh. And the Bonus Pick: Home Field-Maybe we wont have so many infidels infesting our stadium this week.
  • avatar

    Here's my game plan: Don't play like we have in the past since we have won less than 25% of our games. Play like we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. On Defense; go man to man in the back field and send one of those LB's to cover the QB. On Offense; pass on first down and throw the slant pass too. On special Teams; do an on side kick if we kick off in the beginning of the game. OC; do something different and don't do the obvious. DC; stop the stunting and trust your men. HC; stay out of the way and let your OC/DC do their jobs. Go Bucs! Lets surprise some people.
  • avatar

    What does Macabee/PR, Jason La canfora/CBS, Mike Florio/PFT, Peter Schrager/Fox, and Brian Baldinger/NFLN have in common? We all picked the Bucs to win Sunday. Forgive me for a little namedropping! heh, heh!
  • avatar

    Oh and glennon, look for wright as the all 22 shows he's usually open down field but you're too locked in on Vincent! And stand in the pocket instead of running from phantom pressure and get rid of the ball in a timely manner. I'm truly concerned that glennon is scared to take a hit in order to make even a crucial completion (3rd down or trailing in the second half). If you want to be great you need the mindset that a completion is supreme and worth getting plastered.
  • avatar

    I hope Sheridan actually uses lavonte as a spy on kap at least on 3rd down, but that might be too logical. SR - these keys are pretty basic, how about some schematic analysis and suggestions? These seem like stating the obvious as some sort of revelation. Limit stunts on passing downs, especially avoid looping GMC out of the play. Force the DEs to maintain containment and squeeze the pocket instead of firing up field or again looping around exposing running lanes. Put Revis on boldin as he is their best route runner with the best hands and roll coverage to Crabtree. Take the risk of a penalty and drill Vernon as he can be intimidated (pretty boy). Above all else, stack the gaps like Detroit did to us in the running game to stop gore. On offense, please use slants for once and crossing routes, but also focus on using complementary passing routes. Bobby, i love you, but get back to hitting the hole and quit dancing until you hit the second level. I wish nicks would be able to play in this game. We can win this one I believe. Go bucs!
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