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Tampa Bay continued to find new ways to lose, dropping their seventh game of the season to the Browns 22-17. Missed opportunities on offense, poor secondary awareness and terrible special teams all contributed to the loss on Sunday. The Bucs coaching staff must also take a brunt of the criticism for a number of questionable play calls, especially late, that led to another loss. Here are PewterReport.com’s take on the game and the game grades for each unit.

QUARTERBACK
Mike Glennon isn’t known for making splash plays and he rarely improvises. But one thing he had shown during his previous 18 career starts is the ability to protect the ball. Sunday was not a good example of that, as the second-year quarterback threw two costly interceptions in the first half, missing on prime opportunities for the Buccaneers to go into the break with a bigger lead. His first INT came when he under threw a would be touchdown to Mike Evans, instead being picked by Browns’ safety Donte Whitner, who returned it 54 yards. There’s no excuse for an under-thrown ball to a wide-open target, but his second INT was even more disturbing at this stage of his career. For the first time, Glennon was picked off in the red zone. While he did some good things, like scramble for an 8-yard first down, or connect with Evans for two 24-yard scores, the play of Glennon doomed the Buccaneers. On the last drive, at the Browns’ 37, he misfired on his final three passes while only needing a yard for a first down. Overall, Glennon finished the day 17-of-33 for 260 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
GRADE = D

RUNNING BACKS
The first half consisted of the Buccaneers’ best rushing performance of the season. While Doug Martin has failed to eclipse 50 yards in each of the five games he’s played, Bobby Rainey, who was starting in place of the injured Martin, was able to compile 80 yards in the first two quarters. Rainey also had a couple of breakout plays, including a 34-yard reception on third down in the first quarter, and a 21-yard burst in the second. The third-year pro was slowed in the second half, however as didn’t have get as many touches. Rainey finished the contest with 87 yards on 19 carries (4.6 avg.) and looking better than Martin has shown this season. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Rainey receives the majority of carries throughout the remainder of the season along with rookie Charles Sims, who should be activated for next week’s match-up at home against Atlanta.
GRADE = B

WIDE RECEIVERS
Between Mike Evans catching a career-high seven passes for 124 yards and Vincent Jackson’s six for 86 yards, the Buccaneers top wideouts combined for a good day. The latter had a couple of dropped passes, but nonetheless was able to come up with key receptions including a few where he had to go over the top of the cornerback. Jackson also took a big hit on an 11-yard reception, but hung on for first down completion. However the clear cut star of game was Evans. The rookie continues to improve every week, displaying his best career performance in Cleveland on Sunday with two touchdowns, which was a personal best. Aside from Evans and Jackson, Louis Murphy caught just two balls for 13 yards.
GRADE = B

TIGHT ENDS
Austin Seferian-Jenkins was silent in the receiving game all afternoon. The second round pick caught one pass for three yards on Sunday. He and Brandon Meyers did a decent job blocking in the running game, but for a 6-6 target, Seferian-Jenkins needs to continue improving ways to get open. Luke Stocker was used as a blacker until an abdominal injury knocked him out of the game, but not before the former Tennessee tight end got beat for one sack.
GRADE = D

OFFENSIVE LINE
With Anthony Collins out nursing a foot injury, many believed that Oniel Cousins would be over-matched by Brown’s defensive ends Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo. However that was not the case. While Cousins got off to a rough start on the first play, he quickly recovered and performed as well – if not better – than Collins has all season. Cousins did give up a sack in the fourth quarter that led to a Bucs punt that was blocked, however. Moving inside, Logan Mankins, Evan Dietrich-Smith and Patrick Omameh all had decent performances. Mankins missed a key block on a field goal attempt that ended up being blocked, and Omameh was called for a penalty later in the game. Overall, the unit blocked well enough for Rainey to go over 80 yards and did a solid job in pass protection for the most part.
GRADE = C

DEFENSIVE LINE
The interior tackles for the Buccaneers were dominant on Sunday. As usual, Gerald McCoy was the standout player on the defensive line, as he made center Nick McDonald look like he didn’t belong in the NFL at times. The league’s richest three-technique defensive tackle collected two sacks in the first half, bringing his season total to five. He also had two tackles, two tackles for loss and three hits on Brian Hoyer. Right beside him was Clinton McDonald, who also had a solid game. The 2014 free agent acquisition contributed four tackles, with one being for a loss. His best play however, was when he showed incredible awareness to turn around and intercept a deflected pass. The Buccaneers were unable to capitalize on the momentum shifting play, but regardless, it was a great effort by the six-year pro. On the outside, Michael Johnson was all but invisible once again, and it was Jacquies Smith who had a sack and a QB pressure. Will Gholston had six tackles for Tampa Bay, including two tackles for loss, but his most notable moment was a costly four-point penalty, as he jumped offsides on a field goal attempt, giving Cleveland  a fourth-and-short inside the Bucs’ 10-yard line. The Browns would go on to score in three plays, giving them a 16-10 lead. Gholston now has six penalties and is tied for most on the Buccaneers. Nose tackle Akeem Spence played very well in rotation notching three stops including tackle for loss.
GRADE = B

LINEBACKERS
You didn’t hear his name called too often, but Lavonte David was his normal self on Sunday not missing a beat. The third-year pro put together a nice day in the running game, notching nine tackles. Mason Foster also contributed with six tackles, as the unit kept Brown’s running backs in check giving up just 50 yards on the day. Overall, it was a solid performance by the linebacking corp, as they didn’t surrender any big plays in the running game and covered pretty well underneath.
GRADE = B

SECONDARY
Although many passes were contested and defended well, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer was able to compile 300 yards through the air with most coming off big-play opportunities. Last week against Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater missed many wide open targets. But on Sunday, Hoyer was able to exploit the Buccaneers secondary. While cornerback Jonathan Banks had his best performance of the season, snagging an impressive interception to go along with two breakups, high-priced free agent Alterraun Verner looked lost at times. The former Pro Bowler struggled mightily in the second half, allowing a wide-open touchdown to Browns receiver Taylor Gabriel and another critical play to Miles Austin for 13 yards and a first down on the Browns’ second-to-last drive. Although Verner tackled well, contributing five, it appears he’s still trying to find his way in the Tampa 2 scheme. From a safety perspective, Major Wright looked better fit in the defense than recently departed Mark Barron. The former Gator had a career-high and game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss. The Tampa 2 native played well in coverage and came up big on the Browns’ 2-point conversion making an open field tackle. Lastly, Dashon Goldson had an average game. While it was refreshing to see him get back to the physical style of play he became famous for (even though he got away with a helmet-to-helmet), the former Pro Bowl 49er still struggled at times in coverage. Reserve safety Bradley McDougald played well, and had a big hit on tight end Gary Barnidge that contributed to Clinton McDonald’s interception.
GRADE = C

SPECIAL TEAMS
On a day where the Buccaneers lost by five points, they took six points away from themselves on special teams. Self-inflicted wounds are generally prevalent in close losses, and the Buccaneers have been no exception this season. Look no further than the special teams on Sunday. Patrick Murray missed two field goals during the first quarter. One of them was blocked, and the other one,  55-yard attempt fell just short. Special teams blunders didn’t reside only with the field goal unit, however. Michael Koenen had a punt blocked in the fourth quarter that eventually led to a Brown’s 34-yard passing touchdown. Although it was a rare day for him, as he was only called upon four times, he was able to pin the Browns back inside the 10 twice and another inside the 20. But overall, two blocked kicks and another missed field goal on special teams led to 13-point swing in the eventual 22-17 loss.
GRADE =F

– Mark Cook, Zach Shapiro and Scott Reynolds contributed on this report

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Iabucfan
Iabucfan
6 years ago

Yes, a big freakin’ F for special teams with a frown drawn by it.

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
6 years ago

Need to add coaching grades as our OC should get an huge F for stop running the ball in the second half and not running the ball when we needed 1 yard to move the chains and he throws three times, couldn’t believe it.

kram0789
kram0789
6 years ago

Not the first game the special teams have cost us a win. Lovie said they would be special, just didn’t know he meant as in special olympics.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Disagree about D for quarterback. I thought I see was more reasonable. Glennon is a C player and will continue to play about at that grade. I know he’s not going to take us to the playoffs. Morita and Winston are not franchise quart. There are some impact defensive lineman and offensive lineman available early in the first round. We could also use a center and another linebacker too. the team is getting better we will win eventually. I am basing this just on this coach. he deserves a chance to build his own team. I thought it was the… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

Horse I’m still for playing Glennon the rest of the way. I was a big supporter of his, thought he was good enough to be an NFL starter. He’s proving on the field with his win, loss record that he’s not. Give him an F as in failure to win games. Sorry Elwood, he’s plain white toast. We ain’t going nowhere with this guy. Be bold draft Winston, get some buzz going. We’d be finally talked about in the national media. To many nice guys on this team, we need some characters.

ColeRiel
ColeRiel
6 years ago

Glennon’s day and Manning’s day yesterday were pretty similar. About a 73 rating vs a 81 rating. QBs have bad days. He is still a good QB, which is a Lovie wants in his system, just a good QB. ST killed us. Also I’m still sore on not getting Hester in FA.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Suferdudes; I hear you. I was a big fan of Winston last season. This season he has exposed his flaws. he’s been staring down his receiver and has been throwing on his back foot fading back. I think Benjamin made him much more than what he really is; kind of like what Evans did for Manziel. Just my opinion but I don’t think Mariota or Winston are Top 10 picks. We need a starting offensive or defensive lineman that is a can’t miss.

macabee
macabee
Reply to  Horse
6 years ago

“We need a starting offensive or defensive lineman that is a can’t miss”. Sorry Horse but there is no such thing. Our recent trip through FA acquiring DE Johnson and OT Collins should be giving you pause right about now. The draft is no different. Remember, even though the odds against winning the lottery is extremely high, you absolutely cannot win if you do not buy a ticket. Surely you can’t believe we will win with the status quo. With the Bucs changing HCs on average every two years, Lovie will not be here to build a team first, then… Read more »

htownbucfan03
htownbucfan03
6 years ago

Glennon gets a D I don’t dislike the guy but he has a terrible completion percentage he is a turnover waiting to happen he has 20 turnovers in 18 starts (15 ints 5 fumbles) it’s like an 87% chance he turns the ball over honestly y are we fans defending this or tolerating he has one come frome behind win against Pittsburgh and that I won’t take away from the kid but he doest have it I see a worse Josh freeman same completion percentage no scramble ability no comeback ability can’t make a play when needed freeman cud at… Read more »

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

Always love your posts macabee. You quite simply, “get it”. In spite of what I was seeing on the field, I remained hopeful that Glennon could be our “QB of the future” and never was in favor of bringing in McCown or any other free agent passer as a temporary solution to our nearly 40 years of QB woes. But right now this team and we fans need to win a game……especially a home game. McCown may give us the best chance in spite of the bonehead plays on which we have focused. I know my evaluation of Glennon has… Read more »

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Macabre; Scubog; surferdudes; I’ve got to join your band wagon. My only problem is Mariota and Winston have a lot of flaw to overcome in the NFL. Mariota lacks arm strengthand I’m not sure if he’s ready to adapt to the NFL type of play calling. Winston is our best shot because we do have tall receivers that helps him compensate for his passing on his back foot fading back and his immaturity of his behavior. I do get him a positive being a competitive fighter. Go Bucks.

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