How did Tampa Bay's offense grade out in its performance against the Rob Ryan-led Cowboys defense? Did any offensive unit receive a passing
grade? Get the answers in this Pewter Report analysis story.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played against Dallas in the Cowboys' 16-10 victory over the Bucs, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.QUARTERBACKS
Sunday’s game against the Cowboys was proof once again the Buccaneers will go as Josh Freeman goes. Despite an outstanding defensive effort, the Buccaneers were unable to muster up anything offensively, and Freeman was a big part of the problem.
What happened to Freeman extending plays with his legs? Who, if anyone, is telling Freeman not to run? It is puzzling to have one of the best overall athletes on the football team become a stay-in-the-pocket, feet-in-cement-type quarterback. Freeman continues to make rookie-type mistakes, such as staring down receivers and making indecisive throws, and he's in his fourth year.
Sunday Freeman had one of his worst statistical games of his career completing just 10-of-28 passes (35.7 percent) for 110 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tampa Bay was terrible on third downs as the offense converted just 3-of-15 (20 percent) opportunities.
Freeman looks uncomfortable and lost at times. Maybe it is time that Freeman stops thinking so much and worrying about making mistakes. Head coach Greg Schiano and Mike Sullivan need to cut the strings and allow Freeman take control of the offense.
The coaches are willing to live and die with the blitz defensively, it is time to now have the same aggressive mentality on the other side of the ball.GAME GRADE = FRUNNING BACKS
PewterReport.com was a big supporter of the Buccaneers drafting Doug Martin. After three games no one is ready to give up on the former Boise State star, but there are a few concerns.
On Sunday Martin averaged 2.8 yards per carry (19 attempts for 58 yards), and while the running lanes were tighter than “Malfunction Junction” during Friday rush hour traffic, more is expected from someone drafted in the first round.
It is obvious Martin is nowhere ready to be compared to Ray Rice just yet. But even if Martin never becomes Ray Rice Jr. his less than four yards per carry average this season must improve significantly.
Tampa Bay did throw LeGarrette Blount a bone somewhat on Sunday, calling on him to rush four times for 19 yards (4.8 average) but quickly went away from the bruiser in favor of Martin against the stout Cowboys defense.GAME GRADE = DWIDE RECEIVERS
When you only complete 10 passes in a game there is plenty of blame to go around. While Freeman certainly deserves some of it, the Bucs receivers can’t be let off the hook.
When the quarterback goes into a three-step drop it is because a short route has been called and usually against single man coverage. More than once Freeman dropped back to strike quickly, only to find no one open. Two sacks and two fumbles courtesy of linebacker DeMarcus Ware were the result, plus many more where Freeman was forced to backpedal and make inaccurate throws.
The receivers can only blame the referees so much for illegal contact past the five-yard mark. If the rules with regards to hand-checking are relaxed then why aren’t Vincent Jackson, Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams taking advantage of it from an offensive standpoint?
Williams had two receptions for 33 yards (and two drops), Jackson managed just one 29-yard reception late and Benn caught one Freeman pass for eight yards. Terrible production from a good receiving corps.GAME GRADE = FTIGHT ENDS
The Buccaneers offensive staff came out with an excellent idea on the Bucs first drive – surprise Dallas by getting Luke Stocker involved in the game plan. It worked for a touchdown in the first quarter, but from then on it was easily defended by the Cowboys’ defense.
Stocker was targeted two more times but was unable to hook up with Freeman anymore on Sunday. Stocker was also a liability blocking on several plays allowing penetration in pass protection and when run blocking, and he also added a false start penalty.
Many thought Dallas Clark might be a bigger part of the game plan more after his fourth quarter success last week against New York, but Freeman was off target on several pass attempts including three out of four attempts to get Clark involved.GAME GRADE = DOFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line, once thought to be huge strength of the Buccaneers’ offense, has yet to assert themselves so far in 2012. Overall the pass protection wasn’t terrible, only allowing two sacks and one of those was on tight end Danny Noble. However, the stat sheet doesn’t tell the whole story as the Cowboys were able to manhandle the offensive line for much of the game, creating collapsed throwing and running lanes for most of the day.
No one player has been terrible, yet no one player has dominated his position, including left guard Carl Nicks, who has not yet lived up to his Pro Bowl billing.
Many were high on offensive line coach Bob Bostad based on his success at Wisconsin. Sunday proved for Bostad – and several of the Bucs’ coaches – success in the NCAA ranks means little in the NFL. When an offense generates only 166 yards and scores just 10 pounts in an NFL game the offensive line deserves its share of the blame.GAME GRADE = D
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