The Buccaneers earned a hard-fought, but much-needed win on the road against the Panthers. While Tampa Bay was able to win on a late stand with its defense, there were still handful of players that didn’t have their best game.

Below is our list of the most disappointing Buccaneers from Thursday night’s 20-14 win.

CB Carlton Davis
Davis had some bright spots, but also had some moments that won’t please head coach Bruce Arians or defensive coordinator Todd Bowles when they turn on the tape.

In the second half, Davis was called for defensive holding which wiped out an interception by linebacker Kevin Minter, and on the Panthers’ final drive, he managed to get away with pass interference that wasn’t initially called, but was challenged by Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. The play wound up not being pass interference because the foul occurred just as Cam Newton released the ball. But Davis wouldn’t be so fortunate a few plays later.

Davis was called for a personal foul as he grabbed the face mask of the receiver he was covering – and even with the penalty, he still allowed the catch. The penalty set the Panthers up with first down at the Tampa Bay 11-yard line with 1:45 remaining.

The defense bailed Davis out and got the stop on fourth-and-1 at the Tampa Bay 2 when Vernon Hargreaves III tackled Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey for no gain, but had the Panthers scored and won the game, Davis might have been buying his own plane ticket back to Tampa.

TE O.J. Howard
For the second straight game, Howard was a non-factor on offense. Howard’s stat sheet was full of zeroes except for a false start penalty – one of three committed by the Bucs on the night. It’s not clear if Howard’s slow start is on Howard, opposing defenses, the coaching staff for not calling his number or quarterback Jameis Winston for not finding Howard. Regardless, the former Alabama standout is too talented of a football player to have zero catches in any game.

CB Jamel Dean
Dean’s block in the back negated a 48-yard punt return by Bobo Wilson in the second quarter that would have given the Bucs’ tremendous field position near Carolina’s red zone. Tampa Bay had to begin that drive from its own 32-yard instead of the Panthers’ 30-yard line, then ended up punting the ball back to Carolina six plays later.

LT Donovan Smith
Smith had a typical Donovan Smith game. A lot of good, but a handful of mistakes that could have cost the team a win.

On the Bucs’ very first drive, after a first down and what appeared to be a promising drive, Smith was beaten badly by defensive end Mario Addison, who blew up the running play and dropped Peyton Barber for a 5-yard loss. The Bucs couldn’t convert after Smith’s blown blocking assignment and Tampa Bay ended up punting the ball.

Later in the game, Addison would beat Smith and sack quarterback Jameis Winston. Smith was also flagged for a false start.

On the safety in the second half that gave the Panthers a ton of momentum, a blitzing Luke Kuechly was able to slip inside of Smith and tackle Barber in the end zone. While it was uncertain if Smith was supposed to pick up Kuechly, one would have to think he has to cut off the inside if sees a linebacker trying to shoot a gap. At the very least there was some miscommunication between Smith and left guard Ali Marpet.

It was the type of game that has frustrated Bucs fans with Smith for years. At times Smith was dominant in the run game and did a very good job for the most part in pass protection, but a few glaring mistakes at the wrong time took away from the positives.

K Matt Gay
The last drive drama from Carolina really didn’t even need to happen had Gay made a fourth quarter 42-yard field goal that would have extended the Bucs’ lead and made it a two-score game. Gay did make two other field goals (40, 32 yards) on the night, but the miss could have been a very costly one. Tampa Bay spent a fifth-round pick on Gay, and making field goals inside 45 yards has to be a given.

 

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

40 COMMENTS

  1. Gay as most disappointing. He has hit every kick except for 1 kick in two games. Best % since Bryant.

    Perriman should easily have this spot.

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    • Agreed!

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    • I agree with adding Perriman on this list, but not taking Gay off.

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    • Yeah beggars can’t be choosy considering the kicking woes this team has suffered through for the past several years

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  2. Mark,

    Doesn’t OJ seem like he is in to block a hell of a lot more than running pass patters compared to last year? I cant comprehend why we not utilizing the best TE group in the league?!?!?!?!?!

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    Rating: +39. From 41 votes.
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    • I’ve definitely noticed this as well. Arians isn’t known for using his TEs as pass catchers but with a TE group like ours he HAS TO find a way to get them involved.

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      • Koetter’s offense found a way to get production out of Howard. At this point Howard is stagnating. All the talent in the world is useless if it doesn’t translate into on the field production (see Noah Spence). Blocking TEs are a dime a dozen.

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    • Do you remember the days at Florida State and other colleges as well as a few teams like steelers when the had such great receivers? If one of them dropped a pass they might not get another opprotunity do have a pass thrown his way? OJ has dropped several passes and had several penalties called against him. If he can’t stay engaged in the game then why should he be rewarded?

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  3. Gay has a tuff time from the right hashmark. All his misses are from that spot.

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    • Very True. The good part is that the misses are just barely, but at least they are dead on straight. You would hope he could easily correct this be working on sliding it over just a bit. I’m not too mad at it because at least his kicks aren’t flying off left or right and barely making it between the posts. His kicks are straight which would seem to be adjustable if needed.

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  4. That call against Dean was iffy because the defender was in the process of falling down.

    I agree with others that Perriman belongs up there.

    D. Smith should be playing a lot better but those mental errors are drive killers.

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  5. Picky Picky Picky! But you’re right about Gay. That missed chip shot could have cost us the game he’s got to knock those down. Perriman Name should be plastered all over this page, what does he bring to this team other than False Hope. I suspect Justin Watson will be getting more reps starting next week.

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  6. Howard has to stay and help the OL. I thought Dotson was worse than Smith
    I expect a change coming at that spot soon.

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    • Those pre snap penalties by Dotson and D. Smith hurt the offense badly.

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  7. Perriman definitely belongs on this list. Has he done anything all season? That was a perfectly thrown ball by jameis that went right through his hands. This team sure does give me heartburn, but for a change they believed in themselves and made a play. I like many other, wonder what the heck is going on with O.J. he just doesn’t look the same. He had one target and it was an offensive pass interference, albeit a very questionable one. I also think the refs belong on here for that fourth and 1 where the one judge clearly moved the ball forward 8 inches. How no one noticed that is beyond me.

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    Rating: +35. From 39 votes.
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    • Yeah the refs were so bad for this game. The game dragged on because the refs didn’t even know what to call half the time.

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    • Chef I can tell you one reason for OJ’s struggles, it’s this junior play caller we got disguising himself as a OC. How many plays where called for Brate or O.J.? Let’s put Leftwich on this list as well.

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      • I am not so sure about that. Bucs have to help out the OT’s because they need help.

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      • I’m going to agree with the Captain on this. Leftwich might well develop into a great play-caller, but I think he’s got a ways to go. The Bucs have been very predictable. How about some play-action first down calls every once in a while? And last week, when we couldn’t get into the endzone down close? A QB draw, maybe? A rollout to move the pocket couldn’t hurt either.

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        • I couldnt agree more. The run on first down every possession is getting old. Especially when big mike is getting single covered. When they did go play action on first, it worked.

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  8. Howard made the key block that sprung Barber for the TD in the third quarter. They lined him up like a FB. Reminded me of Patrick Hape. Howard was wide open on the 3rd down pass that fell incomplete to Evans in the first quarter in the end zone. Would have been an easy first down but Jameis went for it all. Perriman deserves to be in that spot

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  9. Perriman has got to go. That’s 4 dropped passes in 2 games. Put somebody else and give them a shot….Perriman is not a threat to any defense.

    On D Smith….well, he clowned again….so he’s consistent anyway.

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  10. Dotson, D Smith and Carlton Davis need to cut it out with the penalties.

    The push in the back penalty on Dean was a terrible call, as was the OPI on Howard.

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  11. Not sure why Howard even starts – I called him out last week as a non-factor. Not a good blocker, doesn’t seem to get open. Put pass catching focus back on Brate and use Auclair as blocker. As others rightly point out, Perriman deserves to be on this list – dropped a sure TD – and wonder whether we should be starting Godwin outside and work some of the new guys in at slot. D Smith is a natural right tackle so I expect we’ll make that move next season as we hopefully find a replacement, Dot retires and we move Smith to the other side.

    I think calling out Gay is pretty weak, best kicker we’ve had in a while. And some of the flags were pretty bad, the offensive PI vs. Howard, the call vs. Davis on the INT and the block in back vs. Dean on the punt. Refs are way too involved and quite a few felt like “Vegas Calls” keeping it close.

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  12. Agree with all of the above about Howard. Our tackles are so bad, he’s asked to stay in, and block to much. I have a remedy for that. Put Auclair in to block, and have OJ play some wide receiver in place of Perriman.

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  13. Complaining about OJ Howard is ridiculous. Winston, despite his improved play, did not look at the tight ends much at all all night. I counted three passes two Carmen Brate, who caught two of them, and two to OJ Howard. He cannot catch balls not thrown to him, and one of the two thrown his way was not catch-able in my mind.

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    • Sorry, but now in his third season Howard is looking more like a first round pick that is All Hat and No Cattle……

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  14. One player I really thought would contribute this year is OJ Howard. You would think his physicality and speed would be a defensive nightmare but so far he has shown little productivity. I think it’s safe to say that BA’s promise to feed the hot hand in the run game is written in stone and if Vea and Suh can stay healthy they will be a force to recon with. We held Mc Cafferty now we need to focus on Barkley. Finally as simple as it seems IT JUST FEELS GOOD TO WIN!!!
    Go Buc’s

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  15. How long is this team going to put up with Perriman’s unreliable hands. Could it be time to switch game day rolls for Scotty Miller with Perriman.
    You should have put BA on this list with that boneheaded move of trying to call two TO’s back to back.
    I’m not sure if Dean should have gotten that penalty called on him but I do know the player he pushed should pick up an Oscar nomination for best actor in a supporting role.

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  16. This list is a joke and so is highlighting “poor” play when the team wins. You should do these when the team loses and most impressive when the team wins. We have enough negativity as Bucs fans we don’t need more.

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    • Maybe the wording in the headlines can be improved upon, that’s it. Having both makes for good reading, I think. After a win the list of the down-trodden points out areas where we could have been better. Helps to keep those “rose-colored” glasses to stay translucent. After a loss it shows the game was not ALL doom-and-gloom. Might help to keep some fans from a “woe-is-me” mentality

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  17. Gerald McCoy should be on list. Disappointing for Panthers fans anyways lol.

    Seriously Gay needs to hit this 40 yard five or take ones. He doesn’t belong on list over Perriman though to me. Perriman has stunk. Him and Howard need to get it together. Perriman has some nice stats second half of last season but he’s not done anything here yet. His knock been his hands his whole career but he also doesn’t seem to get open that much for a speedster.

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  18. I think that the whole PR should be on the list. At least Gay made most of his kicks. The PR team did not get get the outcome close.

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  19. Dr d I hear ya Perriman hasn’t been good but if someone was better on this roster don’t you think Arians would put them in his place?

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  20. Lets get Miller out…he definitely has better hands then Perriman!

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  21. But ultimately the O line is are weakest part of the team…two straight weeks way too much pressure on Winston and RB’s!

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  22. Cookie,

    You forgot to add Dotson to this list. He had a couple penalties IIRC, and he was a liability in pass pro

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  23. I was disappointed, but certainly not surprised, by the bias of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck being so reluctant to give the Bucs any credit. The way they bemoaned the spot on Newton’s failed 4th and 1 yet failed to make mention of the successful 4th and 1 where the referee actually moved the ball forward, was just so typical.

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  24. Actually, Ii thought Gay was Special Teams’ only bright spot … and not that bright. STs were definitely a distant third (IMO) behind D and O.

    Re Jones, I think he got banged up a little.

    Go Bucs!

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  25. I agree with this article.

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