We all love to watch dramatic football games because they make you feel alive. But, even though winning those kinds of games gives you a thrill, there’s a reason it was that close, both good and bad.

We’ll get to the good, but for now, here’s why it was closer than it should have been.

Nick Folk

Can the hero also be the villain? The answer is yes.

Though Nick Folk was the final man to get the last points of the contest, he was the one that should have put it away long before that thriller of a kick.

Folk connected on two field goals, both from less than 40 yards, but he also missed on two more, both beyond 40 yards. He also missed a point after attempt that threw everything off.

0-for-2 doesn’t cut it as a kicker from just beyond 40; Folk has to be better. He also can’t go up to take PATs and there be a hint that he might miss it. It is bound to happen with the longer distances, but not at the rate it is early on.

The hard truth is, if Folk missed that last kick, he wouldn’t have a job tomorrow.

Play Calling

At times, the Bucs offense looks like a juggernaut. They have mismatch pieces in the back field, on the line of scrimmage and as receivers to beat you in a variety of ways. Sometimes it looks brilliant, but other times it makes you scratch your head.

Our main gripe comes from the goal line series that started at the half yard line when Mike Evans bounced on the ground. Instead of trying to pound the ball in, just six inches form the goal line, the Bucs elected to go with a toss play, then two passing plays. The run play lost yards and both the passes were incomplete.

It wasn’t the first time we were left scratching our heads at the play calling this season, in the red zone specifically.

Pass Rush

Though the Bucs came away with the victory and the defense stepped up in certain areas, especially after last week, the pass rush still doesn’t exist.

Gerald McCoy was a monster in the middle with three tackles for loss, but outside of him, no one can seem to get pressure on the pocket.

This Giants offensive line is not great, and the fact that the defensive line really couldn’t contain or collapse, that’s not good. That will consistently make things more difficult for them moving forward. The need more out of Noah Spence and something out of Jacquies Smith, who was active, but didn’t make an impact.

Key Injuries

With Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David out, that left a lot on the shoulders of Kendell Beckwith, Adarius Glanton and Devante Bond.

As a whole, the group had their struggles with missing assignments and just not being as sharp with zone coverage and chemistry, however, you have to give it to those guys making some of their first starting reps with a lot of pressure. The injuries still hurt from the plays they gave up that Alexander and David probably wouldn’t have, but it’s not at the top of their worry list because the guys that filled in did OK.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. How about Desean Jackson never fighting for the ball.

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    • It’s hard to fight for balls that are consistently throw a yard behind you.

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  2. Bucs defensive line had a lot of pressures in this game.

    Problem is two fold:

    1. Eli is coached to release quickly
    2. A lot of holds not called

    Ryan Russel beat his man clearly several times and was put in a choke hold. I also liked seeing Gholston on the right side having his power against a LT and having Ayers line up at LE.

    Bucs defensive line is getting there but it is going to take time to seal the deal. McCoy was a monster today and he is due for a monster year.

    I am surprised Conte didn’t make the list because he was very disappointing in today’s game.

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    • Conte made several key plays.

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  3. Enjoyed your analysis Trevor. Next game up! Doug is back and this will help our run game. The question I have Trevor is who is Martin going to replace on the roster? Barber, Sims, Cross?

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    • My guess is Auclair

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      • I hope not. Sims is useless.

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        • Agree 76 Buc Sims has shown NOTHING.

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      • I didn’t think about him..Hmm…?

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      • Thankfully, it was Cross and not Auclair.

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  4. D-line was terrible getting to the QB

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    • They put pressure on him all afternoon.

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    • They were also held all day, but the Giants get kinder treatment from refs than the Bucs.

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  5. Thank u for calling out play calling/coaches bout time trev lol

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  6. OMG, are u such a hater of Conte you have to try to put his name in here. My god man you have no credibility at all.
    I agree with you in regards to the play calling down near the goal line on that one series, it was horrendous.
    Didn’t see much difference in the defense either. I will watch the film tomorrow but I saw few blitzes and no stunts. I could be wrong though.
    I don’t know about Jackson fighting for the block, but I did see him throw and Ole block after Humprhies big catch and run over the middle. Give me a break.
    As for out linebackers, I think they did a credible job for backups and playing out of position. No doubt you are probably right in your assessment, but they need game action like today;’s in order to improve. With Alexander and David looking like they will both be out another three to four weeks, they are going to get it.

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    • Kwon better get back soon as Beckwith is a stoner.

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      • Beckwith led the team in tackles in his first ever start as a rookie MLB. He played great.

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      • Beckwith is a top 5 LB this season according to PFF. How much you value PFF is up to you, but it’s usually a sign that a player isn’t bad when he ranks highly on PFF. What more do you want?

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      • Folks, I meant that Beckwith hits people like he’s stone wall. I think he’s going to be a very good player you goofs.

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  7. Sorry Ali needs to be on the list. Blocking is fine but the bad snaps costs cost Jameis several times. He’s new at center but that’s his first job.

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    • The snap have been somewhat suspect over the last two games, I’ll agree with you there.

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    • He’s still a mauler and Rodgers ran best behind Marpet. Marpet is still the best lineman the Bucs have.

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  8. The kick return team for kick offs should be on here. If you get the ball on the 3 yard line a can only return it to the 20 that is just pathetic. The coaches seem to agree as the Reedy did not return it while only getting it one yard in the end zone.

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    • Have the Bucs ever really been good at returns? In my 30 years of watching the team (god, I’m old), I only remember a handful of seasons in which I thought the Bucs had someone decent back returning punts and kicks. Where’s Karl Williams?!

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      • Agree 76 Buc Sims has shown NOTHING.

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  9. Trevor, quality analysis and writing as usual. I must say that I’m starting to think that the frequent inability of Jameis to locate his throws with accuracy is becoming a proverbial 800 lb gorilla in the room.

    I would love to see one of your in depth Cover 3 articles on just how many drives and outright scores are doomed by bad ball location. From my perspective, if Winston could locate the ball, none of these other “most disappointing” factors would even be relevant. We would have won the game by 20.

    Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the drafting and development of Winston and remain a huge fan. I’m just starting to become very concerned that he will never have “it” when it comes to putting the ball on the spot consistently enough to be considered a great QB. Despite his ability to make some great throws in key moments, he continues to misfire on fairly pedestrian routes that are wide open. In my opinion, it’s officially a concerning trend that is destined to cost us dearly as the season wears on.

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    • You’ll collect negative votes for saying so, but as well as Jameis played yesterday – he certainly did, both on the stat line and in leading his team on the two fourth quarter comeback drives – he has room to improve on his ball placement. Many of his incompletions were due to throwing the ball behind his receiver. One catch that was made by Desean Jackson should have been an incomplete, as it was thrown well behind him, but he made an incredible catch on it anyway.

      You’re right, if Jameis does a better job on placing his throws, he coulda had another 75-100 yards passing and at least one more TD.

      But we’ll take what he did yesterday as clear progress. Jameis will never be perfect, but if he can consistently be very good like yesterday we’ll win a lot of games.

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      • Even before the season started, I thought it would take some time for Jameis to get comfortable with the new offense. They won a must win game and that is all I care about. With Doug Martin coming back hopefully the offense becomes a bit more balanced. I am not a fan of quick strike offenses. Our defense needs some rest and a stronger running game is the best answer for that.

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    • Everyone should be concerned with this, you’re correct. But his completion % is also over 63% for the first time in a while, and his YPA are sky high. Once Martin is back, he should see a cleaner pocket on 1st and 2nd downs. That will help immensely.

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  10. Agreed Trevor!

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  11. Just an observation here fellas, not a complaint. I like DE/OLB Noah Spence and his passion to rush the passer, but it appears that he is depending on his speed to get to the QB – running around his blocker and coming in the backdoor. It also appears that opposing OCs are aware of this and just pushing him past the QB. When he makes his turn to come home the ball is gone. It seems like because of his size he should develop a Dwight Freeny type spin move to shorten his path to the QB. Maybe that’s the way DC Smith is coaching him up, but seems ineffective on most snaps. like I said, just an observation.

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  12. I don’t agree about the lBs. Beckwith was a beast! When he hits a ball carrier or WR they stop immediately. They don’t get an inch.

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  13. As I expected, our “home” stadium was inundated with Giants fans sitting in seats that are owned by season pass members operating as ticket brokers. In spite of the Bucs organizations’ efforts to curb this phenomenon, the crowd was probably 1/3 Giants fans chanting “Let’s Go Giants” when they got the chance. Fortunately, the “good guys” were victorious in the best way possible with the last second kill shot.

    It will no doubt be worse on Thursday when the front running Bostonians will invade our home turf. Imagine being a player looking up in the stands and seeing the 12th Man in an enemy jersey.

    I too was baffled by the play calling when Evans came up 1/2 yard short. How about three QB sneaks or an Alan Cross belly play?

    In my observation the defense got tired out which compounded the fact that so many key players were injured.

    It always cracks me up when folks look down their noses at an opponent with a poor record. This is the NFL, there are no patsies.

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  14. The play caller Koetter, needs to hand the reigns over to Monken. His toss sweep call on first, and goal from the one was mind boggling. What was worse was taking a time out instead of a 10 second run off when time wasn’t a problem. Were you trying to give Manning time to score Dirk, because you almost did. It seems to me Dirk couldn’t manage the play clock, and play calling in crunch time. Give Monken an opportunity to make a name for himself as an O.C. Dirk, you’re wearing to many hats.

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    • As for taking atime out, Dirk had 3 in his pocket at that point, and the Giants were out. He still had half the field to go, and while we did get that nice completion down to the Giants 13-yard line, that was certainly not a given. He kept one timeout in his pocket that he expertly used to run the clock down to 4 seconds for the short field goal attempt.

      Dirk can be criticized, perhaps, for calling the toss-sweep to Rodgers instead of trying to punch it straight in, but the Giants D had all their big fellows crammed in together in the middle and we wern’t pushing them from the LOS all that much. So the toss-sweep was equal or better to running up the gut.

      If I was the play caller, I’d have probably done something different … such as having OJ Howard block, then swing out into the end zone for an easy pass and catch. Which of course, like all fan-called plays, would have worked perfectly! 🙂

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    • I run tosses in Madden near the goal line because it’s Madden, but Koetter was crazy for trying it, imo.

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  15. Reminder to all the Chicken Littles of the world that the Bucs’ defense was playing without Lavonte David or Kwon Alexander, two of the best LBs in the league (and strong pass defenders & blitzers).

    When Kwon is out, the defense isn’t the same because the safeties move closer to the box, so once he’s back VHIII will get some more help. He needs it.

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    • We were also missing TJ Ward in the backfield.

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  16. I thought we cut Roberto Folk!

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  17. I have NO IDEA why some think Beckwith did not play well?
    He is not Kwon but to start at middle LB as a ROOKIE he played very well.
    Some are probably the same people that wanted Cook in the first round. I am a FSU FAN and I am sad to see Cook out for the season but he got injured a lot at FSU.

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