Overshadowed in Week 1 by defensive standouts Kwon Alexander and Gerald McCoy was Bucs safety Chris Conte, who was the last line of defense on two touchdown-saving tackles in Atlanta on Sunday.
Bucs FS Chris Conte – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In the first quarter, Matt Ryan hit Mohammed Sanu on a sideline route for 59 yards to the Tampa Bay 16-yard line. At the time, Conte’s save didn’t seem like much to celebrate about – but it was pivotal. The Falcons didn’t gain a yard from there and had to settle for a 34-yard field goal, tying the game at three.
The tackle saved four points early on, and as coach Dirk Koetter reiterated Monday, “that’s a win” for the defense in the red zone. Conte, who had 10 tackles in all, gave the defense a chance to make that stand.
“Chris is one of those guys that doesn’t say much, doesn’t get a whole lot of publicity because you’ve got other superstar-type guys on defense. But Chris does his job,” Koetter said. “I thought him and [safety] Bradley McDougald both were really solid (Sunday).
“We’ve been talking to these guys a lot about, ‘Make your plays, make your plays.’ When it’s your time to make a play, make it.’ And for the most part, we did a pretty good job of that yesterday.”
Conte wasn’t done making unsung plays in the 31-24 division win. In the second quarter, with the game tied at 10, Ryan hit Tevin Coleman on a check down that turned into a 47-yard catch and run to the Bucs 10-yard line. Conte made the last-ditch effort to save a touchdown and a 17-10 lead. Five plays later the Falcons kicked a short field goal, one drive before Tampa Bay reclaimed momentum with a touchdown to end the half.
Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back now it’s easy to recognize Conte’s saves were more significant after the fact, as the Bucs offense went into the tunnel with a lead and kept the pressure on in the third quarter.
The sixth-year safety is an all-around defensive back, according to the Bucs coach.
“Chris is a really good athlete,” Koetter said. “When you guys were out there in training camp and you watch one-on-one [drills], if you just didn’t have jerseys on there and body types, Chris covers like a corner. He really is a fluid athlete.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Yes, he was doing his job. Go Bucs!
LOL. I mentioned this yesterday after I saw both plays diagnosed on atlantafalcons.com
I surely hope Mike Smith doesn’t run that blitz again against a veteran QB like Ryan because they will beat it every time. Maybe against a rookie, but never against a vet. Leaving your defensive end out in the flat covering a RB is just plain insanity and asking for trouble.
You called it!
jongruden is now gripping onto his keyboard like it was his daughter going out on her first date and cursing the gods after reading that post and Lotter’s comments. He hates players who do their jobs.
Think you scared JG off, haven’t seen him post for awhile. I was dubious at best with the Conte signing last year. Without Lovie’s influence it’s seems he is pretty good after all. GO BUCS
I said Conte definitely didn’t suck when Jonny G. Said he did while back. Lol. He said Koetter wouldn’t be very good because of his college record too though….
The whole secondary sucked last year due to poor head coaching,poor secondary coaching, predictable defense,etc. No way to properly evaluate anyone last year. He had injuries in Chicago, but he flashed at times. He’s athletic and if he stays healthy he can be a pretty good safety. He’s not going to the pro bowl, but certainly doesn’t suck.
I laughed when people would say our whole D line sucked too. Needed more talent at DE for sure but they didn’t all suck. Lol.
I love everyone’s optimism but I have been a Buc fan for to long to do anything but knock on wood every time I compliment them.
I just knew Conte didn’t suck and it annoyed me when I read comments like that just because he didn’t have 7 INT’s last season.
However, I do believe you are right Fredster in regards to the poor coaching combined with the scheme that the defensive secondary has received for the last two years.
I noted the same problem with the offensive line in 2014 wasn’t because of Warhop but because of the scheme and play calling the offense received while operating under an overwhelmed Mark Arroyo who should never have gotten any job here but was a pal of Tedford’s.
I see a couple folks are calling out jonnyg, who has been surprisingly absent from the Comments section for a while. I’m sure he’ll be at the Bucs-Cardinals game with his son. He’ll be wearing red, but his choice of logo just might be some angry looking bird. Heck, if the game goes in favor of “the good guys” he might even switch. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Luke Stocker scored the game winning TD? The “Stocker Stalker” just might choke on his Corona.
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