It wasn’t the prettiest win, but sitting at 3-6 and fighting for their playoff lives, the Buccaneers managed to leave South Florida with a win, their second in row, by a final of 30-20 and now sitting with a 4-6 mark as they prepare to travel to Atlanta for a matchup with the Falcons next Sunday. Here is out list of most disappointing Bucs from Sunday’s win.
Offensive Rushing Attack
In a season of disappointments, the inability to run the football might be right up there with the defense’s inability to get off the field on third down. While the Bucs have managed to win four games this season, you won’t be very consistent offensively if teams have no respect for the running game. Once again, the Bucs final rushing numbers were embarrassingly bad, managing just 53 yards on the ground for a 2.2 yard average. How much is on the running backs? Perhaps some, but you would need to have Barry Sanders in his prime to have much success with the way the Bucs offensive line is plying this season.
T Donovan Smith
We could have selected each lineman to be on this list individually, but for consistency we will go with Smith again this week. Protecting the quarterback’s blind side is the most important thing on any offensive line and Smith has struggled this year. He most certainly wasn’t the only on Sunday but his high profile position makes him a target. Combine that with his penalties, one which wasn’t accepted, and Smith makes his way on the list once again. The Bucs must get better in 2018 at the left tackle position.
Bucs Pass Defense
While it was again a makeshift unit with Vernon Hargreaves missing from the lineup due to injury, the amount of confusion in the secondary at times this year is mind-boggling. As Tampa Bay Times reporter greg Auman pointed out, the Bucs gave up half of their 448 yards to the Dolphins on four plays. Three of which were passes of 45, 49, and 61 yards. And these weren’t receptions made by just good catches and throws, they were to receivers running free in the secondary. The Bucs have seven days to get it corrected. If they can’t stop journeyman backup Matt Moore, what will Matt Ryan do to this unit next Sunday?
S T.J. Ward
While a number of Bucs committed bad penalties on Sunday, most were in the heat of the play on the field. Ward’s was just stupidity, as he was called for a taunting infraction in the first half with the Dolphins backed up deep in their own territory. You love to see passion from a player, but jawing with a player five yards out of bounds in that situation was just plain silly. Ward is clamoring for more playing time, however, costing his team 15 yards isn’t a way to get more time on the field.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com