All-Twenty Tuesday: Bucs Red Zone Offense
This week I’m going to go over every single play the Bucs had in the red zone. The Bucs made five total trips into the red zone and came away with zero points. Two of those drives that didn’t end in points should have due to the poor kicking game, but we’re going to go over why each drive stalled anyways.
Red Zone Trip No. 1
2nd & 7
If I’m being honest, I thought the design on this play was great.
The Bucs used both DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard perfectly in their positioning and as distractions for where the ball was ultimately going with Shaun Wilson on a corner route out of the backfield.
Wilson was open, Ryan Fitzpatrick just over threw him.
Red Zone Trip No. 2
1st & 10
On the first play of the second red zone drive, the Bucs tried to run a zone blocking play to the outside with Peyton Barber.
The line wasn’t able to open anything up for Barber, as has been the case all year with zone runs, and Barber had to fight to get a few extra yards.
I get why you run here on first down after a big pass just got you inside the red zone, but space only gets more difficult to find when you get close. I would have tried play action on this one – though hindsight is certainly 20/20.
2nd & 8
This play didn’t really have a chance. The only route that was open by the time Fitzpatrick finished his drop was Jackson’s little comeback, but due to the pressure Fitzpatrick had to escape the pocket.
The play would have been find had Fitzpatrick not gone totally rogue and try to bounce this to the outside, but he did and they only gained four yards. He could have gained nine if he had kept running straight ahead and slid down.
3rd & 4
Okay, ignore the fact that Cameron Brate let this one go off his hands (not the only one in this game, either). Where in the world was O.J. Howard or Chris Godwin, for that matter? Those guys are the number two and number three best red zone options you have and Howard wasn’t even on the field for two straight plays? What am I missing? How did that happen?
That totally baffles me.
Red Zone Trip No. 3
1st & 10
Not only did Bucs offensive guard Caleb Benenoch give up the sack here, he also got a holding penalty on the play. Benenoch is bad.
This whole play is bad.
2nd & 13
For whatever reason second down was the Wilson down. I counted multiple times during the game that Wilson came in when the situation was in on second-and-long. That was clearly his usage that week.
Benenoch got beat again, but I’m not sure why Ryan Jensen wasn’t helping him. He knows Benenoch is the weaker link than Ali Marpet is, and yet Jensen was shading to help Marpet the entire time. Perhaps it was a player spotlight on who was aligned where for Washington. Jensen had a really poor game, as did Benenoch.
Anyways, Wilson was the only one open, he just didn’t have much chemistry with Fitzpatrick that day.
3rd & 13
Hey look, another third down in the red zone and Howard and Godwin are on the sidelines.
This play just had zero creativity to it. It was a throw over the middle against a defense that showed two high safeties and emphasis on coverage over the middle, especially with Josh Norman playing Mike Evans tight on the bottom of the screen.
This play was never going to work against that defense. Plus, if you are going to attack the field against a defense that had this look, you likely should have done it with Howard or Evans in the slot – not Adam Humphries. One game against Carolina does not make him better than Howard, Godwin or Evans in the red zone. Get Howard or Godwin in the game, put them outside where Evans is, throw Evans in the slot and force Washington to either move Norman into the slot and put a bad corner on the outside (mismatch) or you get Evans on a slot player (mismatch).
Red Zone Trip No. 4
1st & 10
Whose offensive line was missing three of their five starters last week?
Could’ve fooled me.
2nd & 7
Second and long and they run the ball. I’m shocked.
Both Marpet and Jensen missed their blocks and Benenoch gives up too much penetration.
3rd & 7
The Yucs. Jensen had a very poor game. Told you.
Red Zone Trip No. 5
1st & 10
The play was actually pretty good. The design had Howard as a distraction, running straight at the linebacker then taking him up the field deep into his zone, which left wide open space for Humphries over the middle.
Fitzpatrick would have had an easy completion and possibly a touchdown, you know, if Benenoch didn’t get bull rushed to a sitting position on the ground and if Demar Dotson didn’t get burned so bad by the stunt.
2nd & 4
Man, did Donovan Smith get smoked around the edge here. He barely even touched him. Just poor effort.
The Bucs got bailed out by a defensive holding call, though, so they got a first down out of it.
1st & 2
You just can’t make this up. That ball hit the best receiver on the team right in the hands as his momentum was cradling the ball backwards for an easy catch.
2nd & 2
Remember, at this point in the game, there was 3:36 left and the Bucs had three timeouts. If they scored a touchdown here they actually still had a chance to win this game despite everything that happened.
But instead Smith decided to forget how to block for the second time in three plays, this one being one that sealed the loss.
It’s not just play calling, it’s not just play design, it’s not just player execution. It’s all of it. All of it is bad.
And that’s why the Buccaneers are a bad football team. None of it ever comes together the way it needs to. It’s always something.