WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 31-23 LOSS AT ATLANTAIt is astonishing how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are such an undisciplined team with a supposed disciplinarian for a head coach in Greg Schiano. A total of 11 penalties for 103 yards, including three personal fouls, desperately cost the still winless Bucs in a 31-23 loss at Atlanta.
“Unfortunately penalties were a big issue again today,” Schiano said. “Certainly we’re very frustrated about that. It’s been a long time since a team that I have coached has had this kind of issue. Put it on me. We have to figure out a way to get that fixed. We had 11 penalties today, six of them in Atlanta territory and four of them in the red zone. I have to figure out a way with our staff … I think we do the right things and it’s worked over the years, yet it’s not working right now. So we have to examine everything we’re doing as far as that [goes]. We have four days to do it where you’re not going to be able to practice very much. It’s going to have to be between the ears more than it’s going to be physically. We have to get it resolved.”
Despite a solid job by Tampa Bay’s run defense and young quarterback Mike Glennon, Bucs are now 0-6 in 2013 and have lost 11 of their last 12 games under Schiano dating back to 2012.
Glennon completed 26-of-44 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and no sacks, but he was sacked three times, and fumbled early in the first quarter. Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud scooped up the ball and scored on a 30-yard return to put the Bucs in an early 7-0 hole.
“They brought extra people,” Schiano said. “It wasn’t just a five- or six-man rush. We have to protect that, and at the worst case, take the sack.”
Both of Glennon’s touchdown passes were to wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who caught 10 passes for 138 yards, including a 59-yard TD in the second quarter that cut Atlanta’s lead to 14-7. Jackson had a good game statistically, but had several drops and a 15-yard facemask penalty in the end zone.
Bucs running back Doug Martin rushed for 47 yards on 11 carries before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. Free safety Dashon Goldson was injured in the first half and did not play in the second half. Schiano was unsure of either players’ status for Thursday night’s contest against Carolina after the game.
“I don’t know exactly,” Schiano said. “One is up top in the shoulder area and one is down low on the leg – Dashon on the leg and Doug on the shoulder. We’ll have to evaluate that.”
While the Bucs stymied Atlanta’s running game, holding the Falcons to 18 yards on 18 carries, quarterback Matt Ryan picked apart Tampa Bay’s secondary, completing 20-of-26 passes for 273 yards with three touchdowns. Ryan, who wasn’t sacked or intercepted, didn’t have Julio Jones or Roddy White to throw to, but found wide receiver Harry Douglas seven times for 149 yards with one touchdown. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers caught eight passes for 46 yards with two touchdowns.
“For the second week in a row we made some coverage mistakes,” Schiano said. “That hurt. I think they ran 40-something plays and they had a one-play scoring drive after the sudden change. It’s common with sudden change – here comes the shot. We just didn’t do a good job.”
While Atlanta was held to just 291 yards by Tampa Bay’s defense, which was led by linebacker Lavonte David’s 10 tackles, the Falcons still put up 31 points, including 24 on offense. Penalties, including a roughing the passer infraction on defensive end Trevor Scott and a late hit out of bounds by safety Kelcie McCray, kept two Falcons touchdown drives alive.
“We had a couple of penalties that were just critical,” Schiano said. “We had a third down roughing the passer and we’re [supposed to be] off the field. We were playing really good defense [until then].
“It’s always an easy thing to say – ‘we’re beating ourselves.’ Well why do you hold? Because someone is making you do that, right? Are we not doing the right thing as far as our footwork, our execution and our aiming point? Are we not coaching well enough? For some reason we are in position where we have to hold. Or is the guy better than us?
“All that matters is we lost,” Schiano said. “We have to find a way to win.”HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. FALCONS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Falcons 7, Buccaneers 0Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon was sacked by safety William Moore and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by safety Thomas DeCoud, who returned it 30 yards for a Falcons touchdown.
First Quarter – Falcons 14, Buccaneers 0On third-and-11 at the Atlanta 16, Bucs defensive end Trevor Scott hit quarterback Matt Ryan after he threw the ball and was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty. That extended the Falcons’ drive and gave the offense 15 yards. Two plays later, Ryan hit Harry Douglas with a 26-yard pass, followed by a 20-yard strike to tight end Tony Gonzalez. On third-and-5 from the Tampa Bay 19, Ryan hit running back Jacquizz Rodgers with a touchdown pass to give Atlanta a 14-0 lead.
Second Quarter – Falcons 14, Buccaneers 7It took the Bucs three plays to cut into the Falcons’ lead. After two runs by Doug Martin netted 21 yards, Glennon hit Vincent Jackson with a 59-yard touchdown. Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel was draped all over the Bucs wide receiver, who made a one-handed catch.
Second Quarter – Falcons 17, Buccaneers 7The Falcons drove 78 yards in 10 plays, with the biggest play coming from a 54-yard catch by Douglas down to the Tampa Bay 14. Douglas beat cornerback Leonard Johnson on the play. Linebacker Lavonte David and free safety Dashon Goldson broke up passes on back-to-back plays and forced Matt Bryant to kick a 23-yard field goal to extend Atlanta’s lead to 17-7.
Second Quarter – Falcons 24, Buccaneers 7After a 20-yard punt by Michael Koenen, the Falcons took over at the Bucs’ 37-yard line. On first down, Ryan hit Douglas with a 37-yard strike over the head of rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks for a touchdown.
Second Quarter – Falcons 24, Buccaneers 10Tampa Bay had a 13-play, 63-yard drive that saw Glennon hit wide receiver Chris Owusu with gains of 10 yards, 11 yards and six yards. The Bucs drove down to the Falcons’ 7-yard line, but Glennon was sacked by defensive tackle Peria Jerry on third-and-7. That prompted Rian Lindell to kick a 36-yard field goal at halftime.
Third Quarter – Falcons 24, Buccaneers 17After Dekoda Watson recovered a fumble by rookie Robert Alford on a punt, the Bucs took over at the Falcons’ 23-yard line. It took Tampa Bay nine plays to punch it into the end zone with Glennon hitting Jackson with a 6-yard pass on third-and-5 and then again in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown strike. Rookie running back Mike James converted a fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 3-yard line with a 2-yard run.
Fourth Quarter – Falcons 31, Buccaneers 17Ryan was 5-of-5 for 63 yards on the Falcons’ final touchdown drive, which ended with an 8-yard shovel pass score by Rodgers. Gonzalez had a 10-yard catch down to the Tampa Bay 24-yard line, but safety Kelcie McCray hit him out of bounds, which tacked on 12 yards to the end of the play.
Fourth Quarter – Falcons 31, Buccaneers 20It took the Buccaneers 18 plays and 9:06 to travel 55 yards, but the team had to settle for a field goal. Tampa Bay benefitted from two Atlanta penalties early in the drive, but committed four penalties in the red zone that moved the Bucs from the Falcons’ 5-yard line back to the 30-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the 13-yard line, Glennon’s touchdown pass to Tiquan Underwood was nullified by an illegal use of hands penalty on Davin Joseph. On fourth-and-goal from the 23, Lindell’s 41-yard field goal was good.
WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?Ted Larsen got the start at center for Jeremy Zuttah, who started at left guard for Carl Nicks. Mike Williams who missed last week’s game against Philadelphia was able to play against the Falcons on Sunday.
WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?The following Bucs were inactive against the Falcons: WR Skye Dawson, RB Jeff Demps, CB Deveron Carr, G Patrick Omameh, G Carl Nicks, DT Derek Landri, DE Steven Means.
The following Falcons were inactive against the Bucs: S Kemal Ishmael, RB Steven Jackson, G Harland Gunn, OT Sam Baker, WR Roddy White, TE Chase Coffman, OT Travian Robertson.
WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?• Tampa Bay free safety Dashon Goldson injured his knee near the end of the first quarter, but returned briefly in the second quarter. He was later replaced by safety Kelcie McCray in the second half.
• Rookie nose tackle Akeem Spence was shaken up in the second quarter when he was hit by teammate strong safety Mark Barron.
• Bucs running back Doug Martin was hit hard by Falcons safety William Moore and landed on his shoulder in the third quarter. Martin did not return and was replaced by rookie Mike James.
WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?• Bucs DE Trevor Scott was flagged for a personal foul high hit on QB Matt Ryan on third-and-11, which gave Atlanta a first down rather than set up a Falcons punting situation. The Falcons would score a touchdown on that drive.
• Tampa Bay center Ted Larsen was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul to bring up third-and-16 instead of third-and-4. The Bucs had to punt on the next play.
• Bucs punter Michael Koenen shanked a punt for 20 yards, which gave the Falcons great field position on the Tampa Bay 37. Atlanta would score on a 37-yard touchdown catch by Harry Douglas on the next play.
• Tampa Bay safety Kelcie McCray had a personal foul to tack on 15 yards to a 10-yard catch by Tony Gonzalez, which advanced the ball to the Bucs’ 12-yard line.
• Bucs cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and Johnthan Banks both had sloppy technique and poor coverage, and were beaten often by several Falcons wide receivers.
WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay (0-6) returns home to play the Carolina Panthers (3-3) in a Thursday Night Football game. Kickoff is set for 8:25 p.m. ET and the game will be televised nationally on NFL Network.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
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