It was just one of those nights for the Buccaneers. While it’s difficult to single out specific players in a game where the entire team came out flat, a few key missed opportunities stood out in particular, landing a few guys and one position group on Pewter Report’s list of Most Disappointing.
S Major Wright
It seemed like each member of the secondary had at least one missed tackle that would either result in a score or first down, but Wright stood out in particular on Thursday, mainly for being in coverage on drive-extending receptions. Granted, both plays – a third-and-5 conversion in the second quarter and a seam route for 25-yards, both to Jarred Cook – we’re Case Keenum’s best passes of the night. But Wright was in coverage on both critical downs, and it didn’t look good after a missed tackle on the Rams’ first TD.
CB Jude Adjei-Barimah
Just when Tampa Bay seemed to catch its breath in the first quarter, settling in and hitting a 53-yard field goal to make it 7-3, Adjei-Barimah was at fault for what felt like a dagger to the Bucs chances. A series after the defense forced a three-and-out with solid pressure, Keenum found Kenny Britt on a 60-yard double move over the undrafted rookie. Adjei-Barimah can not bite on a double move ever when the Bucs are in Cover 3 knowing there is no safety help. And if you do, and then get called for a penalty, you have to make sure you take the receiver completely out of the route. Just like that it was 14-3 and the Bucs offense is chasing touchdowns.
G Logan Mankins and Ali Marpet
Like the rest of the offense, the inside of the offensive line seemed to play better as the game continued, but Aaron Donald and the Rams’ front four wreaked havoc in the first half. Whether it was Donald blowing up Mankins on fourth-and-1 to kill any momentum, or Mark Barron again beating the Bucs’ veteran LG on a first-and-goal run to Doug Martin, Thursday night saw a couple critical miscues by Mankins. As for Marpet, the rookie right guard was called for a hold that brought back a 2-point conversion, one that would’ve made it a 28-14 game with 13 minutes left. Marpet was no match for Donald’s quickness in the first half and received a lesson that hopefully he can learn from. He will rarely matchup against many defensive tackles with Donald’s get-off, but the Hobart standout looked to be completely overmatched at times.
WR Donteea Dye
Dye made the grab of the night – 47-yard post in between two defenders to the STL four-yard line – but a rookie mistake nearly proved to be disastrous. Not realizing he wasn’t down, Dye flipped the ball and a scramble for the fumble followed. Luckily Luke Stocker, one of the few players to have a great game, had the awareness to fall on the ball and set up his eventual TD the next play. Before that mistake, Dye also dropped a would-be TD in the third quarter. While he’s still a rookie, Dye is on the field and expected to at least make up for some of Vincent Jackson’s lost presence.
Special Teams An overall flat start was kicked into gear after Benny Cunningham returned the opening kickoff to the 43-yard line. The Bucs have shown their inability in the past to overcome one early miscue and that was the case on Thursday. Tampa Bays’ defense looked off balanced and the Rams got a quick, easy score to begin the first half beat down. Then, after the Bucs showed signs of hope by closing the lead to 28-13 in the fourth quarter, the unit allowed a 103-yard return for Cunningham. The defense held strong, keeping them to a field goal, but still one that Tampa Bay couldn’t afford so late in the contest. Finally, while it’s unfair to expect a successful onside kick, the Bucs attempt with less than two minutes to play could’ve been a little more difficult to recover.
Dishonorable Mention: DT Gerald McCoy (one assist, one half sack), LB Danny Lansanah ( missed tackles) Gosder Cherilus (two penalties)
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@example.com
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