The Buccaneers earned their first win of the season with a dramatic, come-from-behind, 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was their first franchise win ever in the Steel City. PewterReport.com grades each unit each week and offers up its analysis here in this weekly feature.

QUARTERBACK
After going a miserable 5-of-11 for 57 yards in the first half, the Glennon Mob, as supporters of Mike Glennon are affectionately known in some circles on the World Wide Web, wasn’t making a peep. Nor should they have. The Bucs offense was stuck in quicksand, and few, if any, could have seen the dramatic second-half comeback awaiting as the team walked out of the tunnel following halftime. But Glennon appears to have put a stranglehold on the starting job with two quarters of work as impressive as Bucs fans can remember. The former N.C. State standout finished the game completing 21-of-42 passes for 302 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Glennon was well protected in the second half and made a number of crucial throws and third-down conversions to lead the Buccaneers to an unlikely 27-24 victory over the heavily-favored Steelers. Glennon wasn’t perfect, in fact many were left scratching their heads late in the game when Glennon misfired on three straight passes into the end zone inside of two minutes. But when given a second chance with 40 seconds left in the game, Glennon led the Buccaneers down the field and found Vincent Jackson on a 5-yard TD pass that won the game for the Buccaneers, ending the team’s three-game losing streak.
GRADE = B+

RUNNING BACKS
The Buccaneers were unable to get anything going all afternoon on the ground, rushing for just 63 yards on 20 carries (3.1 avg.). That total also included a 19-yard end around by Solomon Patton. The Steelers came in content to stop the run and force Glennon to beat them. Starter Doug Martin had 40 yards on 14 carries (2.9 avg.) and one touchdown. Bobby Rainey fared even worse, gaining just two yards on four carries. Martin had two receptions for 16 yards and Rainey added one catch for 16 yards in the game. Tampa Bay will need to run the football much more effectively going forward, but the second-half passing game bailed out the anemic rushing game on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
GRADE = D

WIDE RECEIVERS
It wasn’t a perfect afternoon for the Bucs receivers, but the unit had a solid day overall and even some unlikely names came up huge late. Rookie Mike Evans was on his way to having his best day as a professional until what appeared to be a groin injury ended his afternoon prematurely. Before he got hurt, Evans had managed four receptions for 63 yards a first-half touchdown. Louis Murphy, signed back to the team just last Monday was pressed into a more prominent role after the Evans injury and responded with six receptions for 99 yards in the second half, including a 41-yard Glennon pass to get the Bucs in position to win the game with seven seconds left. Even rarely used Russell Shepard had two clutch catches for 30 yards in the second half, helping spur the comeback. Veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson was held off the stat sheet until late, but made the game-winning, 5-yard catch on a terrific diving reception. Jackson played with a fractured wrist in the game, which may have contributed to his limited effectiveness as he was held to just 32 yards on three catches.
GRADE = B

TIGHT ENDS
Brandon Myers came into Sunday’s game as the leading receiver among Bucs tight ends but was held without a catch for the first time this season. Rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins picked up the slack and notched three receptions for 44 yards. Luke Stocker was also held without a reception. The tight ends did contribute at times by helping keep Mike Glennon upright, as the Bucs QB was sacked just once on the afternoon.
GRADE = C

OFFENSIVE LINE
There was plenty to pick out wrong with the Bucs offensive line. Bad penalties, poor communication between center Evan Dietrich-Smith and Glennon, and a nonexistent running game, but without the fives’ superb second-half pass blocking, the Bucs’ comeback would have never happened. Tampa Bay’s offensive line withstood everything Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau threw at it Sunday and gave Glennon just enough time to complete 302 yards worth of passes, with most of that coming in the second half. The offensive line manned up against one of the strongest front sevens in the league and held its ground in crucial situations on Sunday.
GRADE = B-

DEFENSIVE LINE
Many wondered how effective a hobbled Michael Johnson and Gerald McCoy would be coming into to Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. The question was answered early as both had an immediate impact on the first defensive series of the game. McCoy notched a sack and a Johnson sack and strip led to Tampa Bay’s first points of the game.  The defensive line battled hard all game and ended up sacking Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger five times in the first half and pressured the Steelers’ signal caller throughout the game. Johnson had two sacks while virtually playing on one leg, and McCoy and defensive ends Da’Quan Bowers and Scott Solomon each had a sack in the game and helped hold the Steelers to 85 yards rushing on 27 carries (3.1 avg.).
GRADE = A-

LINEBACKERS
Lavonte David had his best statistical game of the season on Sunday, notching 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Dane Fletcher, subbing again for an injured Mason Foster, had seven tackles, and Danny Lansanah, who got the nod over Jonathan Casillas, added three tackles in his first start. While the numbers look good, the group did struggle in pass defense, allowing a number of balls to be completed over the middle after getting sucked up on play action. Tight end Heath Miller finished with 10 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. You can expect a heavy dose of Jimmy Graham next week in New Orleans, and the defensive coaching staff is going to have to fix that lax coverage or Graham could have a career game against the Bucs.
GRADE = C

SECONDARY
Once again, the Bucs secondary was a sieve at times and allowed Roethlisberger to pick them apart. Everyone in the secondary took turns with poor coverage, but the safety play was once again deficient and the Bucs failed to intercept a pass or even get their hands on many others, notching just two pass breakups in the game. Cornerback Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks struggled covering Antonio Brown, who finished with seven catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. With an elite QB in New Orleans’ Drew Brees coming up next Sunday, the urgency to get things straightened out in the secondary should be the Bucs’ No. 1 priority this week.
GRADE = D

SPECIAL TEAMS
Solomon Patton is a fearless kick returner despite being the smallest player on the field and was a solid contributor Sunday by averaging 14.5 yards on two returns. Kicker Patrick Murray was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder that was partially blocked. The only poor special teamer was punter Michael Koenen, who averaged just 35.3 yards per punt. However, Koenen may have been instructed by the staff to kick high to limit return opportunities for Brown.
GRADE = B-

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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 mark@pewterreport.com
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jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

Glennon played well enough for the victory but while alot of fans will now soon clamor for him to be our future lets not forget its a “whole body” of work that goes into that evaluation. Glennon threw some horrible balls in the red zone on 3 straight plays and still stares down his wr’s. What he does have is a “live” arm he can make any throw on the route tree like his beautiful throw to Solomon, but he is inconsistent as he only completed 50% of his throws which in todays NFL is terrible, he will tend to… Read more »

ILoveMeSomeFire
ILoveMeSomeFire
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

You do realize Vinny went on with the Jets to actually be a QB with some credible stats right? Color Blind or not…

Anthonyh_60
Anthonyh_60
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

You make it sound like Vincent Jackson made Glennon into some great QB, which is actually the opposite. Jackson dropped a lot of easy balls. If he had caught all the easy passes he had, Glennon’s accuracy would have been much higher.

pinkstob
pinkstob
6 years ago

I agree with the grades MC. I’m not sure what there is to figure out with this secondary. Perhaps benching Goldson in favor of McDougald (he looked great in camp) or M. Wright is the only thing I can think of with our current roster. I said the same thing the day we signed Goldson, “Who is going to be our ball hawk in the secondary?” You need a ball hawking FS and most teams are using two FS’s (or three in the case of the Saints) and we’re using two SS’s. No one can close on the guy running… Read more »

1bucfanjeff
1bucfanjeff
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Pinkstob, your comments about our safeties is accurate. We don’t need big hitters, we need playmakers and ball hawks in our scheme. Barron maybe can get coached up, Goldson not so much.

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

J.G. you’re kidding right? The 50 percent completions was more on his receivers dropping well thrown passes. As far as being inconsistent, it was his first start in 235 days! He WAS NOT the starting Q.B. to start the season. He is only now getting starters reps, not all off season. The kid was money yesterday, don’t need buzz killers today.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

Surferdudes- You throw the ball 40+ times you can count on a few drops so lets not make excuses for his inaccuracy. Evaluate the guys skill set and tendacies rather than a “win”, then you will see what I’m talking about. I was not sold on him being the future last yr as was Smith hence him signing a 35 yr old journeyman qb to lead us this yr

Buctebow
Buctebow
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

All QB’s have receivers that make great catches on bad throws and receivers that drop balls whether they have 70% or 25% completions. The 50% number is real, it shows what he did that day. I think its still a wait and see on Gleen, he did not look THAT good, he just won. They should have scored the TD on the prior series. That was the series that showed me the “typical” Glennon that we will see more the rest of the year than the “miracle” Glennon we saw on the last drive.

76Buc
76Buc
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

I couldn’t agree more suferdudes. I counted at least 4 drops by Vjax, 2 by Murphy, and 1 by Evans, and I know there were more.I would give he receivers at best a C+. I have never seen so many dropped passes by guys that are paid much more than bank presidents.

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

(posted earlier on another page) We need a MLB or safety that can cover a TE. It’s as if they, Miller, Olsen, Cook, et al have been given clear passage through Buc territory. The very thought of Jimmy Graham gives me the willies. We need instinctive CBs that will play the ball instead of the man. We’ve got counter punchers who wait for the reception, then go after the man. It is not the scheme. This is the exact same scheme that Dallas (Marinelli) used to keep the Saints off the board using players that couldn’t even make the Bucs… Read more »

Buctebow
Buctebow
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

There is a giant hole in the middle and our MLB’s need to fill it, or Frazier needs to tweak the scheme now and then to trick the opposing QB. The TE’s just kill us.

sunshineben
sunshineben
6 years ago

Glennon will always a nice back-up qb but will never be as good as the other qb’s in our own division. Bucs will need a top tier qb that is more mobile and accurate in the future

Buc-Up
Buc-Up
6 years ago

Except when we had Hardy or Shelton in the middle, TE’s have always killed our Tampa 2. Remember Duncan, Webster, Rudd, Foster, & now Fletcher. Sure wish we had drafted Klueche instead of Barron who looks like a bust! Still could’ve drafted David and then moved Foster to SAM.

Noctus
Noctus
6 years ago

Those of you who say Glennon will “never be” anything are just showing your ignorance. I’m not saying he’s Payton Manning, but he has had less than a season to do anything. It’s not like he’s had four years to prove himself and you’re basing your opinions on a body of work. He’s played in 14 full games, which is not even a full season. In Payton Manning’s first season, he had a 56.7% completion percentage, 26 TD, 28 INT, with a 71.2 QB rating. By comparison, Glennon (through 14 games) has a 59.1% completion percentage, 22 TD, 10 INT,… Read more »

Noctus
Noctus
6 years ago

And FYI, Glennon has exactly the same amount of Super Bowl rings as Ryan and Newton.

Anthonyh_60
Anthonyh_60
Reply to  Noctus
6 years ago

SB Rings aren’t a QB statistic

fredster
fredster
6 years ago

Great game! Been long time since I’ve enjoyed a bucs game, so I’ll try not to be too negative. Overall was happy with defense but that TE over middle being there time after time was just frigging ridiculous. Why they can’t fix that I don’t understand. Also this secondary needs to get their crap together because they stink. Glennon is better than McCown and Ive said it several times. Offensive line I thought did good job in hostile environment against a good Pittsburg team. We have to get that run game going though. Glennon isn’t good enough to carry this… Read more »

zendusty
zendusty
6 years ago

Not a totally dominant performance like we all want, BUT I’LL TAKE IT! GO BUCS!

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

Grades were about right for me. Always enjoy macabee’s thoughts. Always on point. As for the Glennon debate; I think we all want him to do well and be the “future” or the “now” QB if his play warrants that distinction. We won the game and much of it due to Glennon. But, so far in his young career, I still don’t see much for me to think he’s going to ever rise to the elite status we seek. All QB’s have their passes dropped so we need to stop using that as an excuse. Many have weak offensive lines… Read more »

Noctus
Noctus
6 years ago

Great points, scubog. Well put.

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

Look I’m not saying he’s the second coming, but Mike was a big reason we won yesterday. RG3 is a mobile Q.B., T Brady is not, who would you rather have? Going on the road, not starting a meaningful game in almost a year, and let’s not forget he hasn’t played a full season yet. That said, everyone already knows he’s not good enough. Plus the games he has played were for a team with many problems, last year was a joke, this year was becoming one until Sunday. He’s not the best Q.B.in our division yet, but I think… Read more »

fredster
fredster
6 years ago

Jury is out on Glennon, but it’s also out on a lot of players on this team right now. He is without a doubt the best option we have right now this year. We need to see if he can show enough improvement this year to be the starter in the future. I’ve seen more than enough of McCown. I think Lovie is the only one who thinks he still is our best option. He may be smart, loyal, and a good leader, but when pressure is on he turns stupid. He did it all preseason and in first 3… Read more »

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
6 years ago

I think the Mike Glennon debate is simple, was he special on Sunday no, but it just goes to show that with competant QB play this team could easily be 3-1 right now. Glennon may not be the answer long term but he gives us the best chance to win this year bc he simply makes better decisions with the football. I like the position the Bucs are in personally, Glennon has a chance to prove whether or not hes the guy and turn this season around or he will prove thats hes a backup. Not worried about the defense… Read more »

martinii
martinii
6 years ago

I am glad to hear that our punter Koenen may have been instructed to punt short to keep the ball out of Browns hands. I was concerned about his 35 yard average and the poor field position that resulted may definatly require a close examination this week.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

What I am not getting is where is the rookie QB on the PS or on the 53 man roster because kafila is not an answer. I would save face and move McCown to IR and move on from that disaster.