The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 0-6 when they lost to the Falcons 31-23 on Sunday. The Bucs continued to shoot themselves in the foot with unnecessary penalties that consistently pushed the offense back and the Falcons offense forward. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades.
QUARTERBACKRookie Mike Glennon continued to improve his game against the Atlanta Falcons when he threw 26 for 44 (59 percent), 256 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and one fumble, finishing with a 90.7 rating. Glennon had one big mistake at the start of the game when the Falcons came on a blitz; Glennon should have tucked the ball and took the sack, but instead didn’t protect the ball resulting in a costly fumble return for a touchdown.
Aside from that big mistake, Glennon played very well with little help from his teammates around him. There were five dropped passes and countless penalties on the offensive line, consistently pushing the offense back into impossible situations. Even on a first-and-goal on the 30-yard-line, Glennon somehow drove the ball down the field for a touchdown that was negated by a hands-to-the-face penalty that basically ended the Bucs’ game.
Glennon was also under a lot of pressure all afternoon but maintained immense poise uncommon in rookies starting just their third game (and first away game). Glennon also showed great anticipation with his receivers, throwing the ball before the receiver even makes their break.
Although Glennon’s performance was impressive, he does need to work on a few things, especially his deep ball. Every deep pass he has attempted has been off target. He has a big arm but doesn’t have much control over it. Even on the big touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson, Jackson had to adjust and make a spectacular catch on the pass. If Glennon can improve his deep ball, he can turn out to be a really good player for the Bucs. GRADE= B+
RUNNING BACKSDoug Martin continued to work for every yard he gained, as there wasn’t much running room created by the offensive line again. Martin left the game early due to a shoulder injury, so he had just 11 carries for 47 yards (4.3 average) and one catch for seven yards.
Rookie Mike James was Martin’s replacement and played very well, including a monster block allowing a big touchdown pass, and a fourth-and-one conversion when he plowed over the Falcon’s defender. James ended the game with 45 yards on 14 carries (3.2 average). Brian Leonard also added two carries for six yards, and had a couple big blocks as well. Overall the running backs did what they could, given the blocking by the offensive line.GRADE= B
WIDE RECEIVERS Vincent Jackson had a terrific day numbers wise yet again with 10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson was targeted a whopping 22 times as Glennon seemed very locked in on him all game. Jackson did have two costly drops early in the game, along with a personal foul in the Falcon’s end zone at the end of the game. But his spectacular one handed, 59-yard touchdown probably makes up for those mistakes.
Aside from Jackson, the rest of the receivers didn’t have much success. Mike Williams, who is coming off a hamstring injury, had four catches for 32 yards. Chris Owusu, who’s playing in just his second game this season, played sparingly but had three catches for 27 yards. Tiquan Underwood, who’s also playing in his second game, had just one catch for six yards. The Bucs are really going to need at least one of these receivers to step up because Jackson can’t do it all.GRADE= B-
TIGHT ENDSAfter having career day against the Eagles last week, tight end Tim Wright had a quiet game with just two receptions for 15 yards and one drop. Wright split a lot of playing time with Tom Crabtree, who returned from injury last week. Crabtree ended the game with just one catch for 14 yards and also had a drop. GRADE= D
OFFENSIVE LINEThe offensive line continued their extremely disappointing, sub-par season with poor run-blocking, pass-blocking, and extremely costly penalties. Right guard Davin Joseph clearly isn’t himself this season as he’s just not creating any push and continues to miss blocks. He also had the most costly penalty of the game with a hands-to-the-face call that negated a touchdown that would have put the Bucs within one score. Joseph also had a holding penalty in the game.
Other costly penalties include a holding and false start call on left tackle Donald Penn and a bonehead late-hit call on center Ted Larsen. Demar Dotson continues to be the only bright side on the line; in fact some believe he is playing at a Pro-Bowl level this season. Hopefully his play rubs off on the rest of the linemen, or else the Bucs will have trouble winning a single game this season. There’s only so much a rookie quarterback can do without the help of a running game and constantly being put in difficult situations due to penalties by the offensive line. GRADE= D-
DEFENSIVE LINEThe defensive line also continued their struggles and showed no improvement in pass rush whatsoever. The defensive line hardly even came close to sacking Matt Ryan, with the only quarterback hurry coming from defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who has more success than any other lineman on the team regardless of being double-teamed on a consistent basis. McCoy ended the game with two tackles and one tackle for loss. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn and tackle Akeem Spence also finished the game with two tackles each.
The defensive line did play very well against the run, as they have much of the season, holding the Falcons running backs to just 30 yards on 15 carries (2.0 yards per carry). GRADE= C-
LINEBACKERSWeak-side linebacker Lavonte David continued his Pro-Bowl caliber year with a team-leading ten tackles, three tackles for loss, and a touchdown saving pass breakup. That big deflection made up for David’s lone mistake of the game, when he got beat by Jaquizz Rodgers for a touchdown. David also should have had a sack, but Ryan threw the ball away resulting in an intentional grounding call.
Strong-side linebacker Dakota Watson was replaced in the starting lineup this week as Jonathan Casillas who finished the game with a tackle for loss. Middle linebacker Mason Foster finished with four tackles and one quarterback hurry. Overall, the linebackers did a very good job against the run and a solid good job against the pass. GRADE= B
SECONDARYAfter getting torched last week against Nick Foles, the Bucs secondary continued the trend against Matt Ryan and his backup receivers. Most of Ryan’s yards came in the first half when the Bucs were shredded by Falcons receiver Harry Douglas, who ended the game with 148 yards and a touchdown. Douglas exploited both Johnthan Banks and Leonard Johnson in the first half. Many will argue Pro-Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis should have been covering Douglas all game, instead of putting inexperienced players against the Falcons best wide receiver in the game.
The secondary does deserve props for holding stud right end Tony Gonzalez to just two catches for 30 yards on the day. Gonzalez was being covered by linebackers and safeties for most of the game. Safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson each had two tackles, and Goldson also had a big pass breakup in the end zone.
Regardless of holding Gonzalez to just two catches, head coach Greg Schiano even said himself they need to cover the other receivers and the Bucs failed to do that. Fans can blame it on Banks and Johnson’s inexperience, or they can blame it on the game plan and scheme. Either way it was a very poor defensive performance against a depleted Falcon’s offense.GRADE= D
SPECIAL TEAMSAside from a badly shanked punt by Michael Koenen that led to a Falcon touchdown, the Bucs special teams played well. Rian Lindell made both of his field goals from 36 and 41 yards out. Also, Brian Leonard caused a fumble on a punt return, which was recovered by Dakota Watson. This play led to one of the Bucs’ two touchdowns. GRADE= B-
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