WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 23-13 LOSS AT ST. LOUISIf Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano gets fired – and that’s a distinct possibility after a disappointing 23-13 loss at St. Louis, the dismal play of the Buccaneers offense will be the reason. Tampa Bay’s offensive line was overmatched against St. Louis’ defensive front as the Rams recorded seven sacks, led by defensive end Robert Quinn, who abused left tackle Donald Penn for three sacks.
“Tough afternoon,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “Offensively we struggled to run the football, which in turn made it harder to throw the football. We [surrendered] seven sacks and Mike [Glennon] was under a lot of pressure throughout the day. It was tough for our offense to be effective that way.
“You feel for the young man. He’s out there and he’s trying to do his job. I know the guys that are trying to protect him feel bad, too. Guys are doing their best, but it just wasn’t good enough today.”
The offensive line played so poorly that left guard Jamon Meredith was benched in favor of Ted Larsen in the second quarter.
“The coaching staff wanted to make a change, and if they feel like there is a reason to make a change, then we make it,” Schiano said. “Sometimes you have a tough day. He had a tough day.”
Glennon was under duress for most of the game and completed 16-of-26 passes for only 158 yards and also had a key fumble on a third down sack by linebackers James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree in the fourth quarter that hurt the Bucs.
“It’s a good front four,” Glennon said. “Between those two defensive ends, possibly the defensive MVP and another top pick that has been playing at an extremely high level for a long period of time now. They’re a good front four. Give them credit.”
Glennon, who was sacked on three third down situations in the second half of Sunday’s loss, has not played well in the month of December. His regression may now be causing Tampa Bay to have to think about spending its first-round pick on a quarterback in 2014 as the Bucs have now lost three of their last four games and must travel to playoff-bound New Orleans in Week 17.
Sunday’s terrible offensive showing, in which running back Bobby Rainey only gained 37 yards while scoring a touchdown and fumbling, could very well cost offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan his job if Schiano survives what will either be a 5-11 or 4-12 season in 2013. Sullivan interviewed for the head-coaching job at Army on Friday.
After a 1-yard touchdown by Rainey gave the Bucs an early, 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Rams answered with two straight touchdowns, including one on a 27-yard double reverse by rookie receiver Stedman Bailey after Rainey fumbled the ball in Tampa Bay territory.
“The sudden change, the reverse … we made a mistake on that,” Schiano said. “We had a breakdown. It was a good play, but it shouldn’t be a touchdown. There should be somebody on that guy and we busted.”
The Rams outperformed the Bucs on third down as St. Louis converted 6-of-14 (43 percent), while Tampa Bay managed just 4-of-14 (29 percent) on Sunday. Rams rookie running back Zac Stacy became the first player to rush for 100 yards against the Bucs this year. Stacy had 104 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries (3.2 avg.).
Quarterback Kellen Clemons was efficient in hitting tight ends and receivers with short, chain-moving throws against Tampa Bay’s defense. Clemens completed 16-of-20 passes for 158 yards and was sacked just once.
If the Bucs are going to have any hope of beating the playoff-bound Saints in New Orleans, Glennon and the offense will have to play far better than they did on Sunday in St. Louis.
“As an offense we just have to play better,” Glennon said. “We have to be better throwing the ball and be better running the ball and not getting in those situations in third-and-long.”
HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. RAMS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Rams 0Tampa Bay got on the scoreboard first with quarterback Mike Glennon making some clutch throws on third down. On third-and-2 at the Tampa Bay 23, Glennon hit Tim Wright with a 6-yard gain and Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar was flagged 15 yards for targeting. Two plays later, Glennon hit Vincent Jackson with a 22-yard pass down to the Rams 33. On third-and-10, Glennon hit Jackson again with a gain of 30 down to the 3-yard line. Three plays later, Bobby Rainey ran for a 1-yard touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Second Quarter – Buccaneers 7, Rams 7Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn was flagged 15 yards for roughing the passer, which advanced the ball to the Tampa Bay 39. Kellen Clemens converted two passes on third down, while running back Zac Stacy rushed for 25 on the drive, including a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
Second Quarter – Rams 14, Buccaneers 7After a fumble by Rainey at the Tampa Bay 27, rookie receiver Stedman Bailey ran a perfectly executed double reverse down the left sidelines for a touchdown to give the Rams a 14-7 lead.
Second Quarter – Rams 14, Buccaneers 10Stacy fumbled the ball after a hit from linebacker Dekoda Watson, and linebacker Lavonte David recorded at the Tampa Bay 47. On second down, Jackson hauled in a 19-yard pass down to the St. Louis 31, and then caught an 11-yard pass down to the 20. After a pass interference penalty set the Bucs up at the Rams’ 9-yard line, Glennon was sacked twice and lost 15 yards. The Bucs had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Rian Lindell to cut into St. Louis’ 14-10 lead at halftime.
Third Quarter – Rams 14, Buccaneers 13The Bucs got their ground game going in the third quarter as Rainey rushed for 21 yards, including an 11-yard dash to get the drive started. On fourth-and-1, Glennon rushed for three yards on a quarterback sneak to keep the drive alive. A 27-yard pass interference penalty on Jenkins set the Bucs up at the Rams’ 14-yard line, but the drive stalled at the 13 and Tampa Bay had to settle for a 32-yard field goal to cut into St. Louis’ 14-13 lead.
Third Quarter – Rams 17, Buccaneers 13St. Louis got a big play on third down as tight end Jared Cook caught an 18-yard pass down to the Tampa Bay 40. But the drive stalled at the 36 after a 4-yard catch by Lance Kendricks and the Rams had to settle for a 54-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein to increase St. Louis’ lead to 17-13.
Fourth Quarter – Rams 20, Buccaneers 13Clemons was 4-of-5 for 27 yards on St. Louis’ scoring drive and also had a 5-yard QB sneak on fourth-and-1 at the Tampa Bay 29. A 10-yard sack by McCoy on first-and-goal at the Tampa Bay 6 helped stymie the Rams’ drive and St. Louis had to settle for a 35-yard field goal from Zuerlein to increase its lead to 20-13.
Fourth Quarter – Rams 23, Buccaneers 13After a fumble by Glennon gave the Rams the ball at the St. Louis 41, Clemons hit wide receiver Cedric Givens with a 21-yard pass down to the Tampa Bay 39. A 9-yard strike to Austin Pettis, followed by a 2-yard by Stacy picked up a first down at the Tampa Bay 28. But the drive stalled, and Zuerlein’s 48-yard field goal pushed St. Louis’ lead to 23-13.
WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey scored the fifth rushing touchdown of the season, which is a new career high. … Bucs linebacker Lavonte David and safety Keith Tandy recorded their first career fumble recoveries on Sunday. David led the team with 11 tackles and two tackles for loss. … Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn and linebacker Dekoda Watson each forced a fumble at St. Louis. Clayborn also had two tackles for loss on the day. … Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had six tackles and got his ninth sack of the season, which is a new career high. … Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson set a career-high for catches in a season with 74 receptions for 1,189 yards after catching five passes for 98 yards against the Rams. Jackson’s previous career high was 72 catches, which came last year. … Bucs rookie Will Gholston got his first career start at defensive end and finished with a career-high six tackles and a tackle for loss.
WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?The following Bucs were inactive against the Rams: FB/RB Lonnie Pryor, SS Mark Barron, G Patrick Omameh, G Carl Nicks, LB Danny Lansanah, DE Da’Qaun Bowers and DT Matthew Masifilo.
The following Rams were inactive against the Bucs: WR Tavon Austin, RB Daryl Richardson, S Quinton Porter, G Harvey Dahl, G Brandon Washington, DT Matt Conrath and OT Mike Person.
WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?• Bucs tight end Tim Wright hurt his left knee in the second quarter but returned to the game.
• Tampa Bay safety Bradley McDougald was injured on the second half kickoff.
• Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson suffered an undisclosed injury in the third quarter and was replaced by Adam Hayward.
WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?• Tampa Bay lost contain on a double reverse for a touchdown by rookie receiver Stedman Bailey as left defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim got out of position on the play, which went 27 yards to the end zone.
• After getting the ball down to the Rams’ 9-yard line just before halftime, quarterback Mike Glennon was sacked on back-to-back plays to set up a third-and-goal situation on the 25-yard line. Tampa Bay’s offensive line performed poorly in allowing a season-high seven sacks.
• The play of Tampa Bay’s interior offensive linemen, guards Jamon Meredith and Davin Joseph and center Jeremy Zuttah was poor as the Bucs struggled running the football at St. Louis.
• Bucs linebacker Ka’lial Glaud could not handle a surprise onside kick attempt in the second half after being in position to recover the ball.
WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay (4-11) travels to New Orleans to play the Saints (10-5) on December 29 to end the season. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET and the game will be televised locally.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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