Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Photo by: Getty Images
Ever since the Bucs began training camp, fans have been waiting.
Ever since the Bucs finalized their rookie draft class, fans have been waiting.
Ever since the news broke that DeSean Jackson, Chris Baker and J.J. Wilcox were joining the Buccaneers, fans have been waiting.
And ever since a tiebreaker was what held the Bucs from making the playoff for the first time since 2007 seven months ago, the fans have been waiting.
They’ve been waiting for Friday night.
But, for their team’s first win of the 2017 season, they’re going to have to wait a little longer as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-12.
It was made known that the starters on offense were only going to play the first quarter. They ended up playing just a little bit into the second quarter, but it only totaled to two drives, regardless. Quarterback Jameis Winston was an efficient 9-for-13 for 99 yards, but failed to cap off the opening drive with a touchdown, settling for a field goal instead.
For the wide receivers, Mike Evans dominated the early gameplan with four catches and 58 yards on seven targets. Two of the targets that were incomplete were fade routes on the goal line, which Bengals cornerback, Adam “Pacman” Jones, played well. DeSean Jackson managed one catch on his only target, which went for six yards, and Adam Humphries ended the game with one catch for three yards, but dropped his other target.
For the running backs, most of the first-team offense was about testing that high-powered passing game, so Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers’ 2.8 yards per carry average (both had 4 carries for 11 yards) looks worse on the stat sheet than it really was.
The offensive line was shaky early on, but as the game progressed, so did their play – especially left tackle Donovan Smith. Smith was getting bullied on the edge on the first few plays, but was then seen throwing defenders out of the pocket until the starters took their rest.
For the second and third string guys, despite not getting a touchdown, Ryan Griffin appeared to out play Ryan Fitzpatrick. Griffin was 4-for-9 for 57 yards before his night was ended due to a hard hit on his throwing shoulder. Fitzpatrick ended the game 6-for-13 for 45 yards with a rushing touchdown, but also an interception. He just didn’t look as precise. And, in the late-game minutes, Sefo Liufau went 4-for-5 for 33 yards.
From the receivers and running backs, the big surprise was receiver Chris Godwin only getting one target all night, which he reeled in for 14 yards. As for the rest of the bunch, receiver Josh Huff had a hot-and-cold night with one catch on three targets, but also a very nice kick return. Tight end Cam Brate had two catches on two targets for 27 yards, but fellow tight end O.J. Howard was held without a catch. Running back Peyton Barber led the team in carries with eight for 21 yards, and rookie Jeremy McNichols finished the game with 12 yards on two carries with one target that wasn’t a completed catch.
On the flip side, the first team defense had a tough time handling the Bengals’ first-team offense minus a fantastic interception by cornerback Vernon Hargreaves to end their first drive.
Vernon Hargreaves picks off Andy Dalton! #TBvsCIN pic.twitter.com/UQQxQuvJpR
— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2017
Vernon Hargreaves picks off Andy Dalton! #TBvsCIN pic.twitter.com/UQQxQuvJpR
— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2017
“That was a huge play,” Bucs head coach Koetter said. “He picked that thing off on the one-yard line. We challenged Vernon to take the ball away and he’s done it.”
Against second-team players and in a rotational role, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald looked explosive and disruptive. But, for the most part, you could tell this was a first game with real contract for these defenders, who have been light on contact all training camp – to avoid injury.
“You just don’t know yet,” Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “You’ve got to see what’s going to show up on the film. We’ll see once we get back to the film room. It just felt good to be back out there… I always expect the first preseason game to be full of mistakes. It’s rare you go into a first preseason game, your feet are always right, you step straight and you don’t lose on a rush. That’s how the first preseason game goes. It’s going to be rusty, but that’s what it’s for. They’re keeping score, so obviously we want to win, but we’ll see how it looks on film. We’ve got a lot to fix though.”
Kendell Beckwith and Sterling Bailey had the only sacks of the game for the Bucs, and J.J. Wilcox, Justin Evans, Kwon Alexander, Devante Bond and Robert McClain were all tied for the tackle lead with five.
In the kicking game, Roberto Aguayo made just one of his two field goal attempts, and also missed an extra point. Nick Folk, on the other hand, hit his only field goal, which was of 45 yards, and did not have an extra point attempt.
Tampa Bay will next take the field again in Jacksonville against the Jaguars next Thursday.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
Backup DL and OL was iffy.
Reedy has the edge from the rest of the WRS at the bottom of the depth chart.
Winston looks good in an up temp short passing game.
All RBs impressive upfield running.
Rickey Bullough stood out along with VH3, McDonald, Spence and K. Alexander.
Fitz struggled a lot while Griffin with protection was on point.
Anger MVP for sure.
Evans had a mixed bag with some good open field tackles but missed a tackle and some assignments.
Beckwith with two decent tackles going downhill but disappeared for rest of game and his lack of foot speed showed on that screen.
Austin Johnson vs Alan Cross is a battle that is heating up.
Will the Bucs wait for the next Hardknocks to do Aguayo or will they do him on the plane tonight? Lol. Ok. Just kidding, but not the opening premiere that I expected. This is the first preseason game but there is still an awful lot of work to be done. I’m relieved in a way because I’m now going to ignore the hype and set reasonable expectations for my team. Go Bucs!
I know you went with some sarcasm about doing him in on the plane ride home but I’m not sure it is necessary…the sarcasm. After tonight, what could Roberto do in the next three games that would make anyone comfortable with him as the kicker this season? If the team were to release him today, I don’t think anyone could say all he needed was a chance.
Nick Folk may or may not be the answer himself but he is the leader in the clubhouse and nobody else on the roster is going to make the cut.
Options are limited right now with many teams holding two kickers at this point. One option that could have at least been in a real competition with Folk, Travis Coons, just signed with the Rams.
Who knows where to go from there.
We saw Bullock and Elliot for the Bengals. Bullock is probably the odd man out since Elliot was just drafted in 2017 as a 5th RD pick. In four NFL seasons, Bullock has made 29-39 FG’s from 40-49 yards. Not amazing but Aguayo.
Former Texas kicker Nick Rose made three FG’s for the 49ers this week. Robbie Gould is surely their kicker so Rose will be available eventually.
The Browns drafted a Gonzalez and have Cody Parkey so one of them will be available eventually. Parkey is meh but Aguayo.
The Chargers will probably stick with Lambo meaning their other camp kicker will be available at some point. I’m not sure what the immature among us would do with his name but I can imagine…he is Younghoe Koo. 3rd team All American kicker.
Patrick Murray is in Saints camp to compete with Lutz. Lutz was pretty good last year so if he lost the competition he’d be a great addition. But that isn’t going to happen because Patrick Murray. So Patrick Murray will be available which is laughable but Aguayo.
The Panthers drafted Harrison Butker in the 7th round this year to compete with Gano. Gano has been a average kicker for years. Either guy would be a leg up on Aguayo to compete with Folk.
It looks like Nick Novak may lose the Texans job to former UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn. Either Novak or the UCLA kicker would be well worth the look. This may be where the Bucs kicker for 2017 currently is plying the trade at this moment.
Maybe people misunderstood Riley Bullough. When he makes a tackle he may be saying Folk you.
Mac as long as we’ve been doing this as fans shouldn’t we all be ignoring the hype in the offseason?
A lot of rust all the way around except Anger. That guy is amazing.
Jameis looked good, more patient, a little more accurate [not the high throws]
D line was out of position all night – hoping its more scheme than being dominated.
WR’s and RB’s all looked good. Even Charles Simms.
Not sure what we can say about Arguyo… you want to pull for the guy but he’s got to come through and he’s just not.
Impressed with Beckwith and Bullough. That Beckwith is even on the field after ACL surgery in late Nov 2016 is incredible. He looked a half step slow at times but I’ll give him a few months to get his wheels back. And Bullough seemed to get guys in the right place.
Fitzpatrick looked awful. Wanted him to be the vet on the bench to help Jameis, but god forbid we actually need him to play.
And Ryan Smith looked flat out fast.
Tonight’s game…Bucs are who we thought they were. Potentially decent! But for those people thinking moving Marpet to center and getting Sweezy back would mean 7 yard runs every time, not so fast. That said, I think the O-Line is good enough and the schemes were very vanilla. Standard Jameis comfort level – Evans and Brate. Will take some time to work the other guys in.
Defensive line, based on just playing and not game planning, did not physically dominate anyone. They may be good or even decent, but no one was blown away by a pass rush or run stoppage, so…. we can hope the scheme and smarts take over and they know what they are doing, but the DL was not impressive.
Fun to watch all the second and third teamers making plays or trying to.
Overall would have liked to see a better running game, and a better defensive effort in the first half. Otherwise, good we got through without a ton of injuries, that is key!!!
I am sorry, but Roberto Aguayo is not the kicker. JASON, please please realize we all make mistakes and need to acknowledge and move on. Trying to draw this out ends up being about your ego. You are a very good GM, you reached hoping to get cute and get the next Vinateri or Sea-Bass or Morton A. that played for 20 years. It just is not happening. It is too much for him, he can’t handle pressure. His golf analogies are ridiculous, mentally unfit. Cut bait and move on and save face. It’s OK. He chokes under pressure, please cut him and wish him luck. Maybe he will figure it out later. Not the Bucs problem. It is bullshit. Missing preseason extra points. NO, sorry, just NO.
Jameis and Dirk were both low energy afterwards, I liked that – they were depressed the season is 4 weeks away You can tell they just want to move to the games and not get injured,and that their mind was spinning with areas of improvement and being pre-occupied with getting back to work. love it.
Where was Godwin?
Justin Evans got burned and missed tackles.
Wanted to see Auclair
Poor Ryan Griffin
Jameis moved the ball
Running back depth
Plenty of Receivers
No major injuries
Plenty to work on.
You might want to let Marpet play a game at center before you declare the change ineffective. You seem to be unaware that he didn’t play against the Bengals.
Overall I thought the staters looked pretty good on offense. On defense, they looked as I expected also since they are not practicing live tackling in camp in order to prevent injuries. The result is what I expected, a healthy team that gets pushed around in the run game. We’ll see if the starters get enough practice tackling solely in the preseason games to be ready for Ajayi.
Freddy Martino needs a seat next to Berto for the next round of cuts. Lost count on the number of drops he had with at least one killing a drive. It was head scratching watching him drop passes while Godwin only got one target. If who stays as receiver is based on kick off return ability the team is making a big mistake. If I were H.C. I’d order all my Returners to never take it out of the end zone, more bad can happen then good. Example, the opening kick off! Return to the 12, penalty, start your first drive at the 6. I’ll take the ball at the 25 all day thank you. Any return past the 25 is like hitting the lottery, a T.D. has the same odds as hitting the powerball for 300 million. Joe Dirt should be the back up MIKE, Beckwith might have more thump, but it is obvious he doesn’t have the speed. Both back up lines were shaky, I hope we can find some better options for back up O.T.’s before the season starts.
Aguayo just cut, ’nuff said.
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