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GAME GRADES: OFFENSE
QUARTERBACK Second year quarterback Josh Johnson started out the game hot with his first pass being a touchdown toss to wide receiver Antonio Bryant. Johnson threw a fastball to Bryant who ran an out route in the end zone.
After the touchdown strike the down-and-distance situations put Johnson in some tough situations to convert third downs. Johnson did put the Bucs in position to get six more points in the first half, but two missed field goals kept the Bucs from getting more points on the scoreboard.
One of those missed field goals was set up by a great pass down the middle to Bryant that went for 27 yards. Johnson threw a strike to Bryant on an inside route that took the Bucs to the Redskins 30-yard line.
Johnson got the Bucs on the scoreboard to close out the first half with a long drive starting at the Bucs' 21-yard line. Johnson made a number of big plays on the drive including a six-yard pass to tight end Kellen Winslow on the first third down of the possession. It was the only third down conversion for the Buccaneers in the first three quarters of the game.
Johnson went to Winslow for 15 yards, and scrambled for 15 yards to the Redskins 21-yard line. Some great luck came Johnson's way a few plays later when he had an easy interception dropped by the Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers. The Bucs got a field goal out of the drive to go into half time 10-0.
In the first half Johnson was 8-of-13 for 81 yards and one score. He also ran three times for 24 yards.
The second half started out poorly for Johnson, his second pass was underthrown and picked off by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall. A 22-yard return by Hall set the Redskins up in Buccaneers' territory.
Johnson and the Bucs offense struggled to move the ball in the second half, but did manage one scoring drive. The possession featured a nice blend of running and receiving. Johnson threw the ball three times for 16 yards on the drive. He also had his number called on a quarterback draw on third-and-goal from the eight-yard line. There was no room to run, and the Buccaneers had to settle for a field goal.
The first-time starter had one more shot, but a fumble negated Tampa Bay's hopes of stealing a win or forcing overtime. For the game Johnson was 13-of-22 (59 percent) for 106 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Johnson also ran the ball seven times for 41 yards.
In the game Johnson was hesitant to throw the ball downfield, and often tucked the ball to run too quickly. Johnson did not seem to be seeing the field well as the Buccaneers had only 100 net yards passing. GAME GRADE: C-
RUNNING BACKS Starting for the Bucs was running back Carnell ‘Cadillac' Williams, and he was a big contributor. Tampa Bay got Williams involved in the passing game and ground game. The highlight for Williams in the first half was 15-yard run up the middle. Williams had seven carries in the first half for 38 yards. Williams was running well, so it was odd seeing him not get more carries. Especially considering Tampa Bay controlled the game and had the lead for the first half of the game.
The third quarter was pretty quiet, but late in the game Williams did the leg work to get the Bucs a field goal and make it a one score game. In the fourth quarter Williams took over on a drive after an interception by Aqib Talib. Williams caught two passes for 11 yards, and ran the ball for 32 yards on three carries before Washington stopped him in the first-and-goal series. He got loose for a 17 yard run behind the right side of his offensive line to set the Bucs up on a first-and-goal. Williams did a nice job of running with power, and cutting ability to slash his way through the Redskins defense and almost broke through to get into the end zone. Tampa Bay came away with a field goal on the drive.
For the game Williams finished with 77 yards rushing on 16 carries (4.8 yards per carry) and four catches for 22 yards.
With Derrick Ward out of the game with a knee injury, running backs Earnest Graham and Clifton Smith took the carries in relief of Williams. Neither of them found room to run. Graham had five carries for eight yards and two catches for nine yards.
Smith ran the ball twice for three yards, and had a critical error that ended any hopes of the Bucs getting their first win of the season. On third-and-one just under a minute left in the game Smith took a carry on a draw and had a first down. Redskins defensive limeman Jeremy Jarmon smacked the ball out of Smith's hands, and Washington safety Chris Horton recovered the fumble to seal the loss for Tampa Bay.
GAME GRADE: C+
WIDE RECEIVERS It had been a quiet year thus far for Tampa Bay's franchise player Bryant. The first pass of the game for the Bucs was a great catch by Bryant for a touchdown. Bryant beat Rogers on an out-route, and stretched out to make a great catch. It was the first touchdown catch of the season for Bryant.
Bryant had a 27-yard catch to get the Bucs in position for a field goal, but the kick was missed. Bryant beat his corner with speed running down the middle of the field, and making an inside cut with a jab step. Other than those two catches, the Redskins did a good job of not allowing Johnson and Bryant to connect downfield. Bryant finished the game with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Michael Clayton had a rough first half against Washington. His first pass thrown his way was broken up on a hard hit, and he dropped his next pass on third down when he was close to first down yardage. That was as close as Clayton came to a reception in the game. He did do a good job of blocking in the run game. On a Williams' 17-yard run, Clayton made a great crack back block that sprung Williams for the big gain.
The only other wide receiver to get a reception was rookie Sammie Stroughter. The seventh-round pick Stroughter got involved with a 10-yard catch on a wide receiver screen. That was his only reception.
For the game the wide receivers had a total of five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.
GAME GRADE: C-
TIGHT ENDS Winslow had a quiet first half until late in the second quarter when he made two big catches on the Bucs field goal drive just before halftime. Winslow came up big with a six-yard reception on third-and-2, and went up high for a 15-yard catch. In the second half of the game Winslow did not record a reception. He contributed some as a blocker.
Jerramy Stevens did not record a catch in the game. He was called for a holding penalty on a second-down pass play. The holding penalty occurred when the Bucs were at mid-field, and killed a promising drive. Stevens had some struggles in run blocking at times.
Tight end John Gilmore got involved in run blocking, but did not record a catch. GAME GRADE: C-
OFFENSIVE LINE The offensive line started out the game well for Tampa Bay. On the second play of the game for the offense they gave Johnson great time to throw, and he rewarded them with a touchdown strike.
Center Sean Mahan and guard Davin Joseph had a nice block on defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin to open up a 15-yard run for Williams. Guard Jeremy Zuttah followed suit with a good block on an eight-yard run by Williams.
It was not a flawless game early for the Bucs offensive line. Mahan got called for a delay of game as he didn't snap the ball when Johnson was calling for the snap. Joseph was called for holding when the Buccaneers were at midfield, and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood had a false start.
The Buccaneers offensive line allowed three sacks, but the stat is misleading. Those sacks had a total lost yardage of six yards. The majority of hits on Johnson, and the sacks, were on plays where Johnson was trying to run with the ball and was tackled. Overall in the game, the Tampa Bay offensive line did a good job of pass protection. Left tackle Donald Penn had another solid performance protecting the quarterback's blindside.
The Bucs offensive line had some injuries in the game. Zuttah left the game temporarily, and Trueblood was shaken up in the third quarter. Both players finished the game for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay's offensive line led the way for the offense to finish with 229 yards on offense with 129 rushing, and 100 yards passing. The Buccaneers had 12 first downs (six passing, six rushing), and barely won the time of possession 31:04 to 28:56. GAME GRADE: B-
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com