The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their second game in a row, losing 23-13 to the St. Louis Rams. The Bucs fall to 4-11 on the season and will face the New Orleans Saints in the Super Dome next Sunday. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades.
QUARTERBACKRookie Mike Glennon continued his poor December, completing 16-of-26 passes (61.5 percent) for 158 yards, no touchdowns, and a fumble. His passer rating was just 78.7.
Glennon had no help from his offensive line, who allowed seven sacks and failed to create any push in the run game. Glennon didn’t have much time to throw the ball and often had to throw it away to avoid being sacked. But there were several plays where the pass protection was so bad all Glennon could do was tuck the ball.
Glennon’s fumble came late in the game when the Bucs needed to get a first down to keep the drive going, and the pocket collapsed, forcing Glennon to try and get the first down on his own. This was Glennon’s biggest mistake of the game along with a poor slide/dive in an attempt to get the first down in the second half. Glennon missed an opportunity to prove to his teammates something and earn some respect. Although getting up after seven sacks, some vicious, and a number of knockdowns did show some toughness.GRADE= C-
RUNNING BACKSFor the second straight game, the run game was extremely unsuccessful. Bobby Rainey ran the ball 20 times for just 37 yards (1.9 yards per carry), but did have a touchdown. The offensive line did nothing to help, unable to gain any push on the Rams’ front four.
But when you run the ball 20 times, and average under two yards, the running back is partly to blame. Rainey’s biggest problem is his hesitancy to hit the hole hard, which would result in him falling forward for a couple more yards. Instead he stutter-steps behind the line, allowing the defense to meet him in the backfield. GRADE= D+
WIDE RECEIVERSWhen your quarterback doesn’t have any time to throw, then the receivers aren’t going to put up any big numbers. Vincent Jackson led the team with five catches for 98 yards, but did have a big drop late in the game that would have resulted in a first down. Jackson also drew a pair of big pass interference calls deep in Rams’ territory.
Chris Owusu had two catches for 13 yards, and Tiquan Underwood had just one catch for seven yards. GRADE= C+
TIGHT ENDSTim Wright continued to be a sure-handed receiver for Glennon, but was banged up in the second half, which is why he wasn’t more involved. He did have four catches for 27 yards. Glennon showed his trust in Wright when he threw a first down pass with two defenders closing in on the tight end. Despite the helmet-to-helmet hit, Wright still held onto the ball. The rookies’ chemistry has grown over the course of the season and is somewhat promising for 2014. GRADE= C
OFFENSIVE LINENo matter what defensive front you are facing, giving up seven sacks in a game is just bad. Glennon was sacked seven times for 47 yards. It was a group effort; not a single player on the offensive line had a good game. Donald Penn was handled easily by Robert Quinn, who had three sacks in the game.
Their run blocking was just as bad as the pass protection. The created zero holes and were often run over by the Rams’ front seven. This was probably the worst performance of the year for the offensive line, which is really saying something. There could be big changes coming in the offseason to help this struggling unit. GRADE= F
DEFENSIVE LINEOn the opposite side of the ball, the defensive line played decently, aside from struggling in the middle of the game against the run. They ended up holding Zac Stacy to 104 yards on 33 carries (3.2 yards per carry). The front four actually got better late in the game against the run, stopping Stacy for a loss on several plays.
Gerald McCoy led the line with six tackles and the teams’ only sack, pushing his season total to nine. Adrian Clayborn had three tackles, two for a loss, and was credited with forcing Kellen Clemens’ fumble. William Gholston continued to make plays, as he had six tackles and a tackle for loss.
As a unit, the defensive line didn’t create enough pressure on Clemens throughout the game, which would have been a huge help for the defense. Had Clemens been under more pressure he likely would have made more costly mistakes. GRADE= C
LINEBACKERSLavonte David led the team with 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit, and a fumble recovery. He even almost stole the ball right out of tight end Jared Cook’s hands, who was barely down by contact. His best play of the game was when he tackled Zac Stacy on his own at the one-yard-line, denying him a touchdown and eventually forcing the Rams to kick a field goal
Mason Foster had nice game with seven tackles and two tackles for loss. Dekoda Watson had his second good game in a row with four tackles, a quarterback hit, and a forced fumble on Stacy.
As a unit, the linebackers were definitely the strongest part of the defense against the Rams. They didn’t make any big mistakes, tackled very well, and made big plays.GRADE= A-
SECONDARYThe secondary didn’t have a bad game, holding Clemens to 158 yards. But they did give up some plays on third-and-longs, which really hurt the Bucs’ chances. Johnthan Banks didn’t have his best game, and was targeted often by the Rams’ offense.
Darrelle Revis had another good game; it didn’t look like he was targeted once in the entire game, which explains why he had just one tackle.
Safety Keith Tandy was starting in place of an injured Mark Barron. He had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Free safety Dashon Goldson will probably have a fine and possibly another suspension coming his way after another helmet-to-helmet hit. He finished the game with five tackles. GRADE= B-
SPECIAL TEAMSRian Lindell made both of his field goals in the game from 32 and 35 yards out. The Bucs didn’t give up any big runs in the return game, and Eric Page didn’t have any kickoff returns (all were touchbacks or fair catches). Tampa Bay did attempt an onside kick, but the ball went out of bounds, resulting in a Rams’ recovery. GRADE= B
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