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December 15, 2013 @ 10:01 pm
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Bucs Cough Up Big Opportunity; Lose 33-14: Unit Game Grades

Written by Haley
Haley Cornish


Pewter Report Intern E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tampa Bay had their chances on Sunday against the 49ers but failed to stop San Francisco on a number of third downs, leading to their 33-14 loss. Which players had solid games and which ones need to improve before the Bucs travel to St. Louis and New Orleans to wrap up the season?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 4-10, losing 33-14 to the San Francisco 49ers. This loss assures the Bucs record will be worse than last year’s 7-9 standing. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades.

Rookie Mike Glennon continued his December slump against the 49ers tough defense. Glennon finished 18 of 34 (53 percent) for 179 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He had a passer rating of just 75.5.

Glennon played fantastically on two drives, gaining almost all of his yards on those. Both of his touchdown passes were perfect, and the Bucs offense looked completely in sync and had no trouble driving down the field. They used the no-huddle in both drives, and Glennon showed tremendous poise.

But other than that, Glennon and the offense looked anemic. On the other nine drives, the Bucs offense gained just 23 yards. Glennon didn’t have the help of a run game, which hurt him, but there were plenty of missed opportunities on his part. He held the ball too long, missing open targets as they came out of their break. He was inaccurate on passes beyond 15 yards. And he just didn’t seem to have any hold on the game aside from those two drives.

The running game suffered against the 49ers top-notch front seven. Bobby Rainey gained just 27 yards on 11 carries (2.5 yards per carry). Rainey didn’t have much room to run yet again, so it’s hard to pin the running game struggles on him. The Bucs got away from the run game once they fell to 17-0, which is why he only had 11 attempts.

Vincent Jackson led the wide receivers with five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Chris Owusu surpassed Tiquan Underwood as the second most productive receiver with three catches for 21 yards, while Underwood had just two catches for 15 yards.

The receivers were able to get open at times, but Glennon was slow to recognize the small windows. There were also a couple plays where receivers were wide open but Glennon either didn’t see them, or made an inaccurate throw. Underwood was wide open on a third down in the third quarter, and Skye Dawson beat a defensive back on a go route but was overthrown by Glennon. There were a couple drops, but overall the receivers’ struggles can be somewhat pinned on Glennon’s performance.

Rookie Tim Wright has added another impressive game to his surprise season, leading all Buccaneer receivers with seven receptions, 82 yards, and a touchdown. Wright showed good hands and displayed speed when he ran past two defensive backs to get wide open in the end zone on his 26-yard reception.

The offensive line continued their poor season against the 49ers defensive front. They were unable to create any push in the run game and Glennon was under pressure on way too many plays. The offensive line play is extremely crucial to the success of the offense, and when they struggle the Bucs have almost no chance of winning, unless the defense plays exceptionally.

Davin Joseph had another big holding penalty and Demar Dotson had a personal foul although replays showed it was a very questionable infraction. Mistakes like these, along with poor blocking resulting in negative plays, are a big reason why the Bucs struggled so much on offense. When the Bucs were successful, it was because Glennon had much more time to throw the ball.

The front four actually did a very good job of rushing without the blitz, unfortunately it was against the speedy Colin Kaepernick who escaped multiple sacks and turned them into big gains. But Kaepernick’s success was more due to poor contain and missed tackles once the defensive line flushed him outside of the pocket.

Gerald McCoy had another dominant game and consistently  beat double teams to make tackles at the line. McCoy finished the game with three tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack. McCoy did have a very costly penalty, an offsides call, that negated a Lavonte David interception.

Adrian Clayborn had the other sack on Kaepernick where he displayed impressive speed, chasing down the quarterback as he tried to escape the pocket. Clayborn also had two tackles and two quarterback hits.

William Gholston has gotten a lot more playing time in the last few weeks and it has really paid off. Gholston led the front four in tackles, eight, and also batted down two passes at the line. His size and athleticism provide Gholston with the potential to develop into potentially a star.

As a unit, the front four was less than successful against San Francisco’s dangerous rushing attack. Frank Gore And Kendall Hunter broke tackles on multiple plays, which was a huge part of the Niners’ success offensively.

For once, Lavonte David didn’t lead the team in tackles. In fact, he didn’t even lead the linebackers in tackles. Dakota Watson led the team with 11 tackles, a season high for him. Watson had a great touchdown-saving tackle near the goal line, but other than that didn’t make any splash plays.

David was second in tackles with ten, and he also had a forced fumble that went out of bounds. By the standard he has set for himself, David had a subpar performance compared to previous games. He was caught out of position and gave up a big completion on a third down play.

Mason Foster had seven tackles and also didn’t have any impact plays in the game. He was beat on one of Kaepernick’s big runs, even though he was in the position to make a play. That was how most of the game went, players were in position but couldn’t finish the job.

The secondary also had a poor game, getting beat consistently by the Niners’ receivers. Barron was beat twice on deep routes by Vernon Davis, one of which resulted in a big touchdown. Barron ended with just two tackles and a pass break up. However after stressing all week how fast Davis was, you have to wonder why the coaching staff had him being covered by a safety one-on-one.

Johnthan Banks regressed after showing improvement in previous weeks, getting beat on the outside and missing tackles. Banks had just three tackles and didn’t make any plays on the ball.

Even Darrelle Revis struggled a bit, missing a big tackle that would have resulted in a fourth down, but instead allowed the 49ers to convert and continue driving the ball in Buccaneer territory. Revis had five tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass break up.

The special teams unit didn’t make any positive plays in the game. They did do a decent job of punt coverage, but other than that there was nothing noteworthy.

But probably the worst play of the game came late in the fourth quarter with the Bucs down two scores, decided to try a reverse on a kickoff return that started eight yards deep in the end zone. Russell Sheppard Eric Page fumbled the exchange and the 49ers recovered and returned it for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach.

Last modified on Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:24

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  • avatar

    @jongruden: I agree a QB with potential to be a franchise QB must be drafted or acquired through FA. I'm not sure whether Glennon simply played over his head before the last 3 games, whether the other teams got tape on him & know how to contain him, or whether the coaches are messing him up like some said happened to a large extent with Freeman, or a combination of all three. But, in the last 3 games he has certainly come down to earth except for 2 no-huddle drives (which are simply not enough). The trouble is the Bucs also need a good speedy (& hopefully big) WR, a good receiver/blocker TE, a DE, a couple of DBs, RT, & other OL help...all of that barring more injuries...& I believe we only get 5 draft picks this year.
  • avatar

    Glennon is slowly proving to me in the words of Dennis Green " He is what we thought he was" He is lookiing as like his other fellow qb in Houston Keenum a "prentender" and not the answer at qb. We must address the position in the draft or suffer the Freeman, Simms, McCown, Gradkowski, King, Erickson. Dilfer, Testeverde days all over again
  • avatar

    @warren - Sadly, no I don't.
  • avatar

    It's not realistic to say that that GMC's offside cost the Bucs a TD. While technically correct, it was obvious to everyone that the Niners knew it was a 'free play' due to the Bucs being offsides, which is why Kaper threw it up for grabs. He did it on another free play earlier and just missed a long TD on a post.
  • avatar

    @Pinkstob: Team speed has been a problem for awhile, & not just among DBs. My question us: Do you REALLY think THIS coaching staff is capable of Identifying mis-matches & implementing plans to take advantage of same?
  • avatar

    My only nitpick is I've always felt a safety is the ideal candidate for covering a TE. Who else do you want covering him, a LB? You usually end up with a combo of safeties and LB's covering TE's, but I woud put a safety on a TE as often as I could since they generally weigh less, can jump higher and are more agile than LB's. Even if you put a CB on V. Davis and give up more against the run, all our CB's are slower than V. Davis. Davis ran a 4.38 40 at the combine while Revis ran a 4.45, and Banks and Johnson both ran over 4.6. That's one of my biggest complaints with this team. I bet if you average the 40's of all the skill positions the Bucs have along with the guys responsible for covering those skill position players in practice we have the slowest guys in the league. We don't need a bunch of speed guys, just enough guys on both sides of the ball where we can play the matchup game better on Sundays if we have to do that.
  • avatar

    @Horse: I agree with your grades & particularly your last sentence. The Bucs have now lost 10 games or more for 22 of its 37 seasons. Yet we fans continually hope next year will be better. We get excited when the Bucs sign a big-time player at exorbitant money (not just Revis, remember Kellen Winslow?) & think that'll get us to the Big Game when there are a ton of other holes to fill. We let losing seasons followed by a 0 - 8 start dampen our spirits a bit, but get excited when the Bucs win 4 games against 2 teams in disarray, one team that literally gave us the game, & one team that's just as bad as us. So, here we are. The PR survey which ended Dec. 11 indicated half the fans are fine with Schiano returning if he won 4 of the last 8 games! Accepting mediocrity is now common place as we reminisce about winning the Super Bowl in 2002. These owners absolutely need to jettison the GM & ALL the coaching staff when the year is over.
  • avatar

    Offense: QB grade C because he played decent for a rookie; RB grade F because you do have an option to bounce out when there is no blocking in front of you; OL grade F,F,F because you were slow to react to anything across the line; TE B- because of Wright and why we don't use our TE's more is beyond me. Defense; DLC- because you tried your best and there is potential; LB D- because you missed tackles consistently; DB's F because you missed tackles and looked like you had no idea how to cover the WR's. Coaching F because as usual you were totally out coached. Fans, D because you are not screaming enough to get this non qualified Coach out of here and demand an experienced NFL coach.
  • avatar

    Just think of the money that has been spent on rebuilding this secondary? Today it sucked bad. In the first half #24 looked as though he was on vacation. Overall, very disappointing!
  • avatar

    Haley: I usually agree with your grades but not this time. You look a lot like my wife so I don't want to be critical. However, the running backs should be an F when we ran for only 39 yards. The secondary played well enough to at least get a C when there was only 203 passing yards against them. I sure can't give our linebackers an average grade when the unit makes most of the tackles. How about a C+. The problem was Schiano's defense had no plan to contain Kaepernick and is not allowing Glennon to "just play."
  • avatar

    Glennon shined, and threw two T.D. passes the both times he ran the hurry up offense, yet we only ran the hurry up twice all game. Unfortunately we ran the run up the middle offense, with no screen passes the rest of the game. You would think we'd be a more no huddle offense playing in the Fla heat as it would wear down our opponents. Why wouldn't you keep running what works best?
  • avatar

    @surferdudes...good thought but...I recall the same analysis of one Mr. Freeman...what the analysis was missing was that against the hurry-up offense the defense was playing prevent D, and hence Freeman (and Glennon) showed better completion percentages, more poise in the pocket (and in Freeman's case, better use of his legs to pick up first downs)...problem is of course that the D doesn't always play prevent. That doesn't mean that your proposal doesn't have legs...it may be that a hurry-up offense is better for Glennon...just need to see it in the 1st quarter to see if that's true.
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