The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their first win of the season against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night 22-19. It was a game that could have quickly turned into another loss for head coach Greg Schiano and the team but they were able to close it out for the victory.
Before every game each week beat writer Gil Arcia comes out with his Five Keys To Victory. Then after the game takes a look at how the team fared in meeting the objectives. The following is an analysis on how Tampa Bay did against the keys to victory as well as grades.
1. Continue The Vet-Like Play
Original Key: Since Mike Glennon’s first start, he has thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception in the last four contests, while posting a 94.6 quarterback rating. Last week at Seattle, Glennon almost led the Bucs to an upset victory and again showed signs of maturing as a quarterback.
Glennon has showed good awareness of when to throw the football, and at times he has even shown great awareness in the pocket by feeling the pressure and scramble out of trouble and make something out of nothing. Against the Dolphins’ 22nd ranked pass defense, Glennon should be able to exploit lapses in Miami’s pass coverage – which is the lowest ranked pass defense he has faced since his first start in Week 4 when Arizona was then ranked 26th.
Key Analysis: Mike Glennon started the game 3-for-4 for 40 yards on their opening drive. His final completion of the drive was a one-yard touchdown toss to left tackle Donald Penn. After the drive, Glennon went 5-for-14 through the third quarter throwing for just 69 yards and an interception.
But the rookie signal caller would connect with Tiquan Underwood in the fourth quarter for 17 yards and into Miami territory. The Bucs scored the game-winning touchdown three plays later.
Glennon finished 11-for-21 for 139 yards, one touchdown, an interception, and be sacked twice.
2. Get To Tannehill
Original Key: Pressure from the Buccaneers pass rush has declined since coming back from the bye week. Overall, Tampa Bay has failed to get to the quarterback consistently. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy leads NFL defensive tackles in quarterback hits with nine but has only recorded two sacks which came before the bye week.
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill has hit the ground quite a few times this season. The Dolphins’ offensive line has given up 35 sacks this season which is worst in the league. The line is also heading into Monday night with lots of story lines surrounding it due to the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin fallout. This could be the game where not only McCoy but the rest of the Bucs’ defensive line finally gets to the quarterback several times.
Key Analysis: The Tampa Bay defensive front struggled to get pressure on Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill for 58 minutes. They registered a total of eight hits on him but were unable to get to Tannehill throughout the evening.
After the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, the defensive line rose to the occasion. Safety Mark Barron came storming in on first down to disrupt Tannehill which lead to defensive ends William Gholston and Da’Quan Bowers splitting the sack. On the following play, Gerald McCoy followed it up with a sack of his own, giving Miami third and fourth downs of 28 yards to go which resulted in Tampa Bay’s defense making a stand.
3. Jackson Has To Get Going
Original Key: The Bucs’ top receiver Vincent Jackson leads the team in receptions and in receiving yards, and is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. The problem is he has been unable to haul in some receptions on crucial plays for first downs. In other words, he has been inconsistent.
Defenses have been playing him differently as of late. Jackson has seen more double teams and defensive backs alter his routes as well leading to Glennon going elsewhere. Jackson could have a big game as he has the height advantage over Miami’s Brent Grimes, who will likely be covering Jackson throughout the night.
Key Analysis: Wide receiver Vincent Jackson saw plenty of balls thrown his way in the first quarter. Four of his eight targets in the game came in the first quarter but once again had passes hit him right in the hands to fall incomplete. It also appeared as if he was not getting separation on his routes.
Jackson was able to draw a pass interference call in the second quarter which lead to a field goal a few plays later. But there was an instance where the veteran receiver seemed to have let up on his routes making it seem like Glennon overthrew the football in the second quarter. Then later in the third, what appeared to by a miscommunication between Jackson and Glennon on what route Jackson was to run turned into GLennon’s interception.
Jackson finished the night with three catches for 28 yards.
4. Secondary Needs To Be Defensive
Original Key: Tampa Bay has been able keep team’s top receivers locked down for the most part of the season as far as yard production is concerned. Part of that reason is due to the presence of Darrelle Revis but the likes of Doug Baldwin, Ted Ginn, and Harry Douglas have all had their ways with the Bucs’ defensive backfield.
The Buccaneers need to be able to prevent a potential passing attack from Miami and remember that Mike Wallace’s only game against the Bucs (2010) he had 3 catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. While it may be unlikely history repeats itself, the Dolphins’ have other receivers like Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson that can take advantage of the attention given to Wallace – and as stated previously, it’s the other options the Bucs have struggled covering.
Key Analysis: Veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis did most of the work in the secondary once again. Covering Dolphins’ wide receiver Mike Wallace, Revis held Wallace to just four catches for 15 yards on seven targets. Revis even stopped Wallace five yards behind the line of scrimmage after receiving a screen pass from Ryan Tannehill.
But the Bucs once again let the opposing quarterback make throws into zone coverage and allowed the Dolphins third option on their receiver depth chart to catch 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns – something that the Bucs have done in recent weeks. Tampa Bay was allowing receivers outside of Wallace to catch the football but Revis was able to close it out with an interception to seal the game.
5. Don’t Get Away From What Has Worked
Original Key: It happened last week against the Seattle Seahawks. The Buccaneers played exceptional football in the first half but was noticeably different in the second half. The running game and defensive pressure they succeeded with was no longer there to close the game out and leave with a victory. This game against the Dolphins can turn into something quite similar.
If running the football is working, keep doing it. If blitzing linebackers and defensive ends are causing disruption is working, keep doing it. Whatever it may be that is called for the players to run on the field is working, the coaching staff can not get away from it. The players were put in position to win the game last week but fell short due to a change in the second half. The Bucs’ coaches should see what worked in Seattle and carry it over into the week. The question is, will the staff apply it.
Key Analysis: The Buccaneers once again played good football in the first half. They dialed up plays like a touchdown pass to left tackle Donald Penn and a pitch back on a punt retur, They even ran the football without hesitation. However, as the game went on, history was slowly repeating itself.
Tampa Bay started to get away from running the football for a bit after the injury to running back Mike James. The underneath routes dialed up for receivers were disappearing as the first half progressed. They even called for a designed rollout by Glennon while receivers Tiquan Underwood ran seam routes on third-and-1. It’s plays like those that would have put the Bucs at 0-9 and it appeared to have been headed that way.
The team did in fact learn from their lack of adjustments and ran higher percentage routes in the fourth quarter. They also went back to the running game between Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey which resulted in the game-winning drive.