The front four of the Detroit Lions were dominant from start to finish in every way possible, resulting in Tampa Bay’s 34-17 loss on Sunday.
Although it was more visible during passing downs, their command was just as potent in the running game. Looking aside from their six sacks, punishing hits and seemingly endless pressure on nearly all of Josh McCown attempts, they’re control of the offensive line led the Bucs to divert from their commitment to the run quickly.
“In hindsight, especially with how we ended up being able to pass the ball and not protect it, no, we weren’t committed to the run early on,” Lovie Smith said.
“Not that we were getting a lot from our run. I think they dominated us in all phases today, whether we were running or passing the football. We didn’t get anything going.”
Everyone knew coming in that Detroit had a great run defense, but the Buccaneers effort on Sunday drove that point to a new level. Doug Martin had 22 yards on five handoffs, and it only got worse from there. Rookie Charles Sims managed to lose four yards on the same amount of carries. Before half time, the offense proved to be completely one dimensional.
“It impacted us quite a bit,” Smith said. “You want to have balance to be able to keep (drives alive). They’re one of the best defenses in the league coming in. We knew that it would be tough duty (to run). But you could keep them off balance a little bit if we were able to run the football. Couldn’t get that going early on. Then when we got into passing situations, it was tough to block a great front like that.”
Following the game, a disappointed Josh McCown wasn’t about to point fingers. But it’s hard to overlook the amount of hits and hurries that played a part in his dismal afternoon. With no running game, the offense became too predictable, allowing the front seven to immediately rush the passer. From Ndamukong Suh’s three hits and a sack, to DeAndre Levy’s two sack’s and Ezekial Ansah’s constant pressure, there was no containing or confusing the Lion’s defense.
“Once that (no running game) happens it makes you one dimensional and it’s hard,” McCown said. “The defensive lineman pin their ears back and they come. It makes it hard for the offensive line; it makes it hard for everybody.
“I mean it’s hard, but it’s not just us, they’ve done that to everybody. They have a stout front and we knew that coming in. We had some good runs, it was just again…when you’re behind the sticks, especially with penalties, you get away from the run calls because you have to. Now, you make it easy for them to pin their ears back and get after you.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
This just might be the worst offensive line since John McKay executed the 1976 edition. Where’s Steve Wilson nowadays?
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