The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 0-8 after losing to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. The Bucs had a 21-point lead at one point, but watched it diminish in the second half as the offense couldn’t get anything going, and the defense couldn’t hold Seattle. Here are PewterReport.com’s unit game grades.
QUARTERBACKRookie quarterback Mike Glennon had a much different game than he’s had since becoming the starter; he threw the ball a lot less. He ended the game 17-of-23 (74 percent) for 168 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a QB rating of 123.1. His longest completion was 27 yards, and almost all of his passes were safe, short throws. The run-run-pass formula that the Bucs used all game was successful at first, but when the Bucs needed to throw the ball down the field at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime, they were unable to do so.
It wasn’t all Glennon’s fault however, as the offensive line, which played well all game until the final minutes, looked tired. Glennon didn’t have time to throw the ball resulting in throwaways or sacks. When he did have time, the receivers had trouble getting open down field, forcing Glennon to check the ball down for a short gain. One play that will be replayed over and over in many Bucs fans mind was with under a minute left in regulation, Glennon appeared to have chance to pick up a first down on a scramble, but chose to run towards the sideline instead of cutting it straight up the field. When he looks back at the run on film this week he will most likely second-guess the decision.
Glennon looked poised all game long, including on both of his touchdown passes where Seattle forced him out of the pocket. He moved around well for the most part, and knew when to take a sack or throw the ball away. He has a lot of work to do with intermediate and deep throw accuracy, but he continues to improve and show a lot of potential.And the fact that he didn’t turn the ball over and completed 70 percent of his passes against the Seahawk’s top-notch defense in Seattle is especially impressive. GRADE= B
RUNNING BACKSTampa Bay had their most successful day of the season running the football, with 205 yards on the ground. This rushing attack was led by rookie Mike James, who is replacing the injured Pro Bowler Doug Martin. James ended the game with a career-high 158 yards on 28 carries (5.6 yards per carry).
If that isn’t enough, he also had a two-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. James was helped by the offensive line, which opened big gaps on runs up the middle. But James deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his yards after contact and his shiftiness at the line of scrimmage.
Brian Leonard was also solid adding five carries for 20 yards and four receptions for 48 yards. GRADE= A
WIDE RECEIVERSWith Mike Williams out for the season, Glennon basically only had Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood to throw to. Jackson was being shadowed all game by one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Richard Sherman, and only managed two catches for eleven yards. Underwood had two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown, but also dropped a touchdown pass that proved costly as the Seahawks came back to tie the game. Those were the only two wide receivers to record a catch in the game.
The inability to create space between the defensive backs proved costly when the offensive line did a good job with protection, but Glennon had no one to throw the ball to. With the success of the run game, the deep passing game should have opened up but the receivers were unable to get open. GRADE= D-
TIGHT ENDSThe tight ends were more successful than the wide receivers as rookie Tim Wright and Tom Crabtree got two of the three Buccaneer touchdowns on the day. Wright led the team with four receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown, while Crabtree had just one reception for two yards and a touchdown. Crabtree did have a costly, drive-killing holding call in the third quarter, however.GRADE= B-
OFFENSIVE LINEArguably the most disappointing unit this year had a big turnaround game against the Seahawks. Davin Joseph, who has had a poor year so far, had a great game along with Jamon Meredith who made his first start of the season. The two guards along with center Jeremy Zuttah created gaping holes the entire game for Mike James to run through. They played much more physical and dominant than they had all season long.
The line also protected Glennon very well until the fourth quarter when fatigue started to set in. Glennon had a long time to throw for most of the game, but when it mattered most the offensive line could no longer contain Seattle’s dominant pass-rushers. This resulted in multiple punts near the end of the game and allowed Seattle to come back and ultimately win the game in overtime. GRADE= B
DEFENSIVE LINEThe front four seem to be getting worse as the season moves along. They not only didn’t record a sack, but they were very poor against the run as well. Marshawn Lynch was hardly ever touched before reaching the linebackers or safeties.
The line managed to get some pressure on Russell Wilson, one time resulting in an interception. But for the most part Wilson was able to escape any pressure applied by the defense and either throw or run for a first down. The reason the defense played so well in the beginning of the season was because of the pressure and sacks. And the lack of those things is what’s causing them to regress to what they have been the past few years.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy continues to be the only player to consistently play dominantly, with occasional help from defensive end Adrian Clayborn. McCoy had six tackles and two quarterback hits, while Clayborn also had a pair of quarterback hits, but just two tackles.GRADE= D-
LINEBACKERSThe linebackers were the main reason the Bucs were so good on defense early in the season, but didn’t do much against Seattle. They weren’t very impressive against the run or the pass, and didn’t make any splash plays. Stud weak side linebacker Lavonte David finished the game with eleven tackles (five solo), while middle linebacker Mason Foster had four. Adam Hayward, Jonathan Casillas, and Dakota Watson all got looks at strongside linebacker and each got one tackle apiece. GRADE= D
SECONDARYEven with Dashon Goldson out with an injury, the secondary still played pretty well. They had a major weakness in Keith Tandy for much of the game, but he came up with a big interception in the endzone in the fourth quarter.
But the most impressive player in the secondary, and on the defense, was Mark Barron. He had a team leading 11 tackles (10 solo), two pass breakups, and a big interception in the red zone. He was a tackling machine all game long, and seemed to be the only one who could bring Marshawn Lynch to the ground without being dragged along for five more yards.
Darrelle Revis had another great game, although it doesn’t show on the stat sheets. He was shadowing Golden Tate most of the game, and allowed only two catches for ten yards.
Wilson ended the game with 217 pass yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The secondary had trouble down the stretch, but for the most part played well. Without those two interceptions, the game would have been much worse for the Bucs. GRADE= B
SPECIAL TEAMSKicker Rian Lindell continued his hot streak with another good field goal, this one for 33 yards. Punter Michael Koenen had some good punts, but after a huge return by Golden Tate, was told to kick towards the sideline and ended up shanking for only a 30-yard punt. Koenen also recovered a fumble that was forced by the Bucs special teams on a kickoff return.
Along with the poor tackling on Tate’s punt return, the Bucs also had yet another muffed punt. Fortunately for Skye Dawson, he was able to recover. Tampa Bay attempted a surprise onside kick, which would have been successful had Michael Adams not been offsides. GRADE= C
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