On perfect day in Southern California, in the historic L.A. Coliseum, the Buccaneers made history, scoring the most points in franchise history in their 55-40 win over the previously unbeaten L.A. Rams. While the end result was exactly what the Buccaneers (2-2) needed, the Rams offense moved the ball at will at times, including throwing for 517 yards.
In defense of the Bucs defense, the longest play from scrimmage was just a 37-yard throw by Jared Gof. While the secondary surrendered a number of yards, it did a reasonable job of keeping most everything in front of the defensive backs.
Below is PewterReport.com’s list of Most Disappointing Bucs from Sunday’s match-up with the L.A. Rams, and no surprise – all come from the secondary.
CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
The rookie out of Central Michigan had a poor performance on special teams in Los Angeles. In the first quarter, Murphy-Bunting was in position to pin the Rams deep on a punt, but couldn’t keep the ball out of the end zone. He then ran into Rams’ punt returner JoJo Natson in the second quarter, resulting in a 15-yard penalty that set Los Angeles up at mid-field and led to their second touchdown. A couple of mistakes cost the Bucs valuable field position.
CB Vernon Hargreaves III
This one could really go to all of the cornerbacks, and since Hargreaves is the number one corner, he gets a share of the blame. The Bucs were continuously getting beat over the middle on intermediate passes. Goff was able to dink and dunk while getting the Rams back into the game. Goff took turns working between the hashmarks, then took advance of soft coverages on the edges. Hargreaves, like most of the secondary, struggled at times as the Rams had two receivers – Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp – go over 100 yards.
CB M.J. Stewart
Stewart isn’t quick enough to consistently keep up with opposing wide receivers, and he struggled to cover Kupp. The most obvious example of this came in the fourth quarter when Stewart was beat by Kupp on a third down and missed the tackle, allowing Kupp to reach the end zone. Stewart spent most of the day chasing after receivers who were already ahead of him, as he was picked apart. Stewart had actually led the Bucs in tackles with nine, but almost all of them came after chasing down receivers who beat him in coverage.
CB Carlton Davis
Whether it was Brandin Cooks, Woods, or Kupp, Davis and the other corners just didn’t match up well at times with the Rams’ potent wide receiving corps. Goff threw for 517 yards in the loss and took advantage of the young Tampa Bay secondary. Fortunately for the defense, the pass rush applied enough pressure to force some mistakes from Goff (three interceptions and a fumble), while the Bucs offense scored a franchise record 55 points.