There it is, in a game that came down to the wire, the first Bucs game under Bruce Arians and his new staff has come and gone in a 30-28 loss to the Pittsburgh.

While the Bucs’ started strong, racing down the field in their first possession and putting up seven points on a touchdown pass to Chris Godwin before giving up one long reception and ultimately forcing the Steelers to punt from their own territory, things slowed down once the backup units took the field.

OL Cole Boozer
A key part of a backup unit that struggled mightily throughout the night, Boozer stepped in as the second-string center and struggled from the start. Goozer wasn’t the only lineman to struggle as Tampa Bay gave up four sacks and backups Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin were hit officially 14 times.

On the third drive of the night, with Griffin under center, Boozer and offensive guard Earl Watford were both flagged with holding penalties on a drive that lasted just three plays and left the Bucs punting from deep within their own territory.

The second-string offensive line continued their troubles as the next drive lasted just two plays before Griffin was hit in the backfield, fumbling the ball, and punted on two of their next three drives while scoring just three points over the five-drive span. Boozer was flagged again for holding later in the third quarter on a one-yard, three-play drive that resulted in another punt.

Backup Interior Defensive Line
With Vita Vea out with a knee injury suffered this past Tuesday, the interior defensive line depth for the Buc is already behind the eight ball and it wasn’t a promising performance for the unit once the starters left on Friday night.

After the starters departed following the defense’s first series, the Steelers would go on to score 13 points on their remaining three drives of the first half, rush for 109 yards on 24 attempts throughout the rest of the game and couldn’t find to collapse the pocket or bring down a number of Steelers’ receivers despite numerous pressures from Noah Spence, Carl Nassab and the rest of the Tampa Bay edge rushers. With the lack of contain and pressure, plays were allowed to develop which opened the field for Pittsburgh to make chunk plays down the field and eventually find holes in coverage to score when down near the goal line.

Preseason will be a testing ground as the absence of Vea will force Beau Allen in the starting spot, giving Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Pat O’Connor and Jeremiah Ledbetter extra snaps, as well as the Bucs’ seventh-round pick this year, Terry Beckner Jr. and undrafted free agent Dare Odeyingbo.

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
It was a rough go for Murphy-Bunting in his first dose of NFL action on Friday night. He got a good chunk of playing time throughout the middle portion of the game it’s clear that he’s still getting up to speed with the play at the NFL level, especially coming from a smaller school like Central Michigan despite facing some higher-level competition in his time there.

Murphy-Bunting was beat in coverage a couple of times throughout the game, was part of a secondary that allowed the Steelers to pick up multiple first downs while being backed up on third down and later on in the game made a few more crucial mistakes of his own.

In the third quarter, on first-and-10 from their own 24-yard line, Pittsburgh QB Devlin Hodges sent a long pass down the right sideline intended for Johnny Holton. The pass fell incomplete but Murphy-Bunting was flagged for defensive pass interference. Arians challenged the play and while the contact didn’t appear to be exceptional, the ruling was upheld and ended up going for a 27-yard gain. Later in the drive with the ball at the eight-yard line, Murphy-Bunting found himself in critical coverage again when Tevin Jones was able to get free in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

 

Previous article2-Point Conversion: Winston, Bucs’ Starters Look Sharp
Next articleMost Impressive: Bucs At Steelers

29 COMMENTS

  1. Boozer just doesn’t look the part. I think the Bucs keep turning over rocks for another OL IMVHO.

    +24
    -1
    Rating: +23. From 25 votes.
    Please wait...
  2. The Defense was supposed to be our strong suit this year. I am not convinced. You know who’s name I didn’t hear? White. Did he even play?

    +12
    -33
    Rating: -21. From 45 votes.
    Please wait...
    • I thought Devin looked very good! Devin Bush:)

      +9
      -25
      Rating: -16. From 34 votes.
      Please wait...
  3. You could tell BA was really studying his third stringers and not just going after a win because he had his Third String QB in the game in the first half.
    It is clear they still need to look for better OTs.

    +31
    0
    Rating: +31. From 31 votes.
    Please wait...
  4. What about all the penalties? There were way too many even for the first preseason game. How many penalties were declined because of a good result for the Steelers. The Bucs offense was clearly better. Each team had only one turnover. The Bucs should won by at least by a touchdown without the silly mistake. Sure only a preseason game, but too many mental errors. Last the Buccaneer offense was among the best in the league, but the turn over ratio doomed them to a 5-11 season. – 18 turn over. Imagine the possible record with a neutral turn over ratio.

    +20
    0
    Rating: +20. From 20 votes.
    Please wait...
  5. Serious concern at offensive tackle depth. If Dotson or Smith go down?

    +20
    0
    Rating: +20. From 20 votes.
    Please wait...
  6. Penalties, penalties penalties – here we go again!!! Also, I know Leftwich wants to “test” some things with preseason, but what was with the 2-point conversions when the Bucs finally have a solid kicking game?

    +12
    -4
    Rating: +8. From 16 votes.
    Please wait...
    • The decision to go for two is BA’s decision, Leftwich just calls the plays. It’s preseason, two point conversions are opportunities for extra goal line situations against another team in preseason.

      Ya’ll act like you’ve never seen a preseason game before.

      +7
      0
      Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
      Please wait...
  7. Passing on some of the D linemen in this draft for Bunt Cake in the second round might not have been the best move. Didn’t help our O line this past draft either. I hope the kid comes around, but Licht has not been very good with drafting corners. He has been good at drafting more of them then D lineman, and it showed last night.

    +11
    -8
    Rating: +3. From 19 votes.
    Please wait...
  8. How can you not be rooting for a guy named Cole Boozer! First game, let’s hope he finds his sea legs.

    I wanted an O lineman in the second round, but we’ve got SMB – let’s give him a season before we start calling the guy a bust guys.

    +12
    0
    Rating: +12. From 12 votes.
    Please wait...
  9. I’m not going to call out Bunting for having a bad game against backups, But he will always be linked to Greedy Williams when comparing performances because that’s who was on the board when Licht selected. SMB needs to do better without question.

    +11
    -2
    Rating: +9. From 13 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Didn’t like the pick when we made it and hated it even more when we passed up Greedy for Dean. But it’s still so damn early. Rookie CBs get brunt and burnt often year one. They probably take the biggest lumps in the NFL. Year two speaks speaks more to if they will pass the mustard long term or not. I think Davis will and Stewart won’t. Stewart is my least favorite Licht pick next to Roberto. Such a reach for a guy who doesn’t fit.

      But yeah, too early to beat anyone down especially a small school rookie.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  10. OMG. PR and other morons want to get on SMB for allowing a TD pass by a QB who held onto the ball for 5 seconds until a WR could get open?
    Give me a break. I can understand it from the morons in the cheap seats but PR?

    +15
    -4
    Rating: +11. From 19 votes.
    Please wait...
    • DrD, my friend, you know how it goes on here. I think most of these posters are so used to loosing and being negative, that after 1 preseason game they’re ready to call some of these kids busts. It used to fire me up, but now I laugh at it. I’m sure 3/4 of these fools never even played football yet are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to drafting. Most of the so called busts, Spence, Cappa, and RoJo played very well. Weren’t most of these people calling them busts last year as well? Week three is when it matters most people. Settle down and let the coach teach.

      +15
      -1
      Rating: +14. From 16 votes.
      Please wait...
      • chefboho, go back to the tape and see how little effect Spence, Gholston, Allen, Suh, Nassib actually had the first half of the first quarter. We went vanilla in blitzes after that time frame to see what we actually had for a pass rush. Via and JPP missing will hurt us badly when the season starts.

        +3
        -3
        Rating: 0. From 6 votes.
        Please wait...
        • Nassib has a sack and Spence had three pressures and both only played for a few series. I call that pretty successful for a first game. As far as Allen and Sue, I can’t really speak for but people getting nervous over 1 game really need to be patient. This entire team offensively and defensively is new. Same goes for all the coaches. If this happens in the third preseason game, I’ll be nervous.

          +4
          0
          Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
          Please wait...
    • Murphy-Bunting was 2 inches away from giving up another TD as the WR just missed his toe tap.
      Let’s not sugar coat this, Sean was absolutely awful. He also had a bad lapse on a QB sneak by Dobbs. In fact he dodn’t have a single good play that I can recall.

      +1
      0
      Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
      Please wait...
  11. First preseason game. It’s funny how fans say it’s just preseason then get all concerned when players don’t look in mid season form. New coach, new system. Starters looked fine. It’s gonna be a work in progress. IDK if vea wears ankle or knee braces but he needs to start wearing them. He’s gotta stay healthy.

    +16
    0
    Rating: +16. From 16 votes.
    Please wait...
  12. Arians said in his post game conference that SMB could have played better. And I agree.

    A lot of positions on the depth chart and roster spots will be determined by penalties. Arians hinted as much in his post game conference.

    +12
    0
    Rating: +12. From 12 votes.
    Please wait...
  13. It’s obvious they will need to spend some premium picks on OT and OG next year.

    They used what 4 or 5 on defense and I don’t blame them it’s been a joke.

    This season won’t ride on play of Winston it will ride on the O line staying healthy because if they don’t….it will get ugly fast IMO. You will not have success at WB position period no matter who QB is if you cannot run the ball and be last place defense too. Starters o line are fine. Not lot pro bowlers but can be average.

    I’m not worried much about defense with the caveat of if they stay healthy as well.

    +5
    -1
    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  14. First preseason game guys, jeeze…..

    +4
    0
    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
    Please wait...
  15. Not calling him a bust. He’s from a small school, and needs developing. What I’m saying is there was better talent available when we spent a second round pick on him. Don’t remember his name, but the next corner to come off the board was the kid from Clemson that played very well for the national champs. He went to Oakland, that’s who Bunt will be compared to. The fact is this draft was loaded with D lineman, and we could’ve gotten better value with our 2nd round pick then Bunting.

    +6
    -4
    Rating: +2. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
    • And just how do you know there was “better talent” when no one has even played a single game yet. Maybe a more recognizable name, but names don’t win games.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  16. I don’t think anyone is calling SMB a “Bust” after a single preseason game, However there seems to be differing expectations for a player drafted that high in the 2nd rd. The criticism for RoJo is warranted, along with J Evans, N Spence & D Smith. My opinion is a High 2nd rd CB should be able to hold his own against backup slot receivers. After listening to BA’s comments after the game last night I think he agrees.

    +5
    0
    Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...
  17. The fumble by Griffin wasn’t caused by the OL. Ellington missed his protection and his man caused the fumble.

    Noah Spence played very well. I’m not sure what some are watching.

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
  18. That was not pass interference and the TD was a pick play running clear across the field.

    +2
    0
    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Nice to see someone actually watched the game.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  19. Cole Boozer may not have played well however he didn’t play Center. The Centers were Ryan Jenson, Evan Smith and Nate Trewyn. If PR is going to call a player out, at least get the facts right. Maybe it was Evan Smith who belonged on the list if the writer mixed up E. Smith and Boozer. Since E. Smith has been released, maybe that is the case.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  20. I was most disappointed in the three 2-point conversion attempts failing. Didn’t really understand the logic of not kicking a PAT. Just have to remember preseason is for practice and not an actual game. Some folks don’t see the distinction.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...